Creativity Needs Encouragement

I am very lucky to have a supportive ring of people around me because their positive energy & encouragement give me the strength to pursue my dreams despite the challenge of living with my head in the clouds 🙂  Dreams can’t come true if we don’t have the courage to dream in the first place.  Negativity shuts out the light, preventing inspiration & imagination from getting the nourishment they need to thrive.  The positive people that surround me are radiant sunshine, encouraging me to try new things & stretch creatively.  They support my desire to express my vision in a unique way.  The saying goes, “It’s the journey, not the destination.”  How much more wonderful it is to travel this journey with loving, supportive people who nurture me!!  It hasn’t always been this way.  I had to make tough choices about what kind of people I wanted to spend my time with & do some pruning so the strongest, healthiest relationships could grow.  Are you able to surround yourself with positive people who nourish you or do you need to do a bit of pruning, too?

A week or so ago, I mentioned a friend who is battling cancer.  I’ve completed her painting, Ring of Friends, with this sentiment in mind.  While this is her lonely battle in some ways, she need not ever feel alone.  She’s got wonderful women from our workshops sending her positive energy, love, & light.  We aren’t in the room literally holding her hand but we are there in spirit, lifting her up.  Ring of Friends is my interpretation of the light-hearted, free spirited time in our lives where we played & laughed, twirling in the sun.  The women in this painting are us– the nurturers, the supporters, & the dreamers– holding hands & encouraging one another.

Ring of Friends- nourish, support, & love us.

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A Symbol of Halloween… & more

Happy Halloween, everyone!  Last night, I watched a History Channel special about the origins of Halloween traditions.  Fascinating!  The part about witches was particularly interesting because it goes along with women’s study workshops that I’ve led for a few years.  These classes explore women’s contributions to the arts, religion, politics, & literature.  They’re not Religion 101 or History 101 courses… they are opportunities for women to pursue their spiritual journey while learning about women’s roles in history.  How does that relate to Halloween & witches?

In pre-Judeo-Christian traditions, women held positions of power & authority.  In fact, the earliest religions were goddess-based & influenced matriarchal societies for generations.  Women were healers, mystics, & leaders.  Back then, the terms “crone” & “hag” meant wise women.  Somewhere along the way, these terms were twisted into something negative by authorities in a changing world.  An independent, land-owning woman who could heal with herbs & perform midwifery was seen as a threat to the new “barber-surgeons” & religious leaders who were male.  The tools of their trade– cauldrons, herbs, & a broom were villiafied.  According to the documentary, even the headcovering of a peasant woman (pointed hat) was turned into a symbol of witchcraft.  All this would be ridiculous if it hadn’t led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of women during the Burning Times in Europe & early America.

Many women feel it’s time to reclaim their divinity.  There is honor & value at every stage of a woman’s life– maiden, mother, & crone.  How this impacts each woman can differ widely.  It has definitely influenced my art & how I see my place in the world.  I feel a greater connection & sense of responsibility for the earth & all living things.  That’s why so much of my art has animals and landscapes as subjects.  How would your life be different if you saw yourself as divine?

 

For the Sheer Joy of It

A friend asked me to watch a video on flixxy.com  titled “Humpback Whale Gives Show After Being Saved”.  It’s been a long time since I cried for joy but this video made tears flow down my face.   A magnificent whale is trapped in a fishing net, close to dying, until people in a passing boat use all their strength to set it free.  Watching him leap in the air, flip, & flop back into the sea was indescribably joyful.  I clapped, cheered, & laughed between the tears, especially after hearing what the little girl on the boat says at the end of the clip.  I’m not going to tell you; you have to watch it yourself 🙂

Inspired by another uplifting whale story, I created this collage titled “Free To Be”.  Two words that come to mind when I look at this happy Orca are —  “PLAY” and “FREE”.  When is the last time you played–  just for the fun of it?  Sometimes,  I get so preoccupied with lists, errands, & chores that I have to remind myself that play is equally important.  My imagination & creativity (& sanity) rely on a healthy dose of playtime.  That’s why I garden, hike with my boyfriend, chase my dogs around the yard, eat cookie dough ice-cream out of the box, & create upbeat art.  What sounds like fun to you?  Think about it.  The first idea that makes you laugh out loud is the idea I want you to try… the sillier the better.  Do something just for the sheer joy of doing it.  See how it stimulates your creativity.  Include the people you love & share the fun.

Free To Be… what a concept!

 Check out the art I have for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

Odette: A Character Collage

Odette in Collage

This is my first time creating something based on a description of a character.  Thanks to ermiliablog.wordpress.com for the opportunity to try something new.  Enjoyed the chance to create a collage of Odette 🙂  I chose to make her blindfold a bit see-through since she is described as being good at drawing despite being blind.  So in a way, she CAN see with her mind’s eye.

Check out the art I have for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

Art Saves

My mother gave me a wonderful book for my birthday– my birthday isn’t until October 29th but I opened the gift early because I had a feeling I knew what it was 🙂  It’s called Art Saves- Stories, Inspiration, & Prompts Sharing the Power of Art by Jenny Doh.  Mom’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect.   A friend of mine recently told me she had a kidney removed due to renal cancer & they found a spot on her lung that can’t be treated until she recovers from the surgery.  I’m stunned & feeling very helpless.  What can we do when someone we care about has to travel a scary journey such as this, alone even if surrounded by loved ones?

Marie French, an artist in the book, gave me this inspiring idea- “If you know someone who is battling an illness or dealing with a difficult period in their life, take the time to make a piece of art for them…. fuse positivity into whatever you make.”  I love that idea!!  If nothing else, it lets Linda know that I’m thinking about her & sending her love.   A message of hope, healing, & encouragement.  I’m not sure what the piece will look like yet but I’m visualizing a group of barefoot girls in summer dresses playing Ring Around the Rosey.  I’ll share the sketch & stages of completion soon but for now, I need to begin… for Linda.

Tree of Life Collage

When my art is at it’s best, my heart is totally invested in the piece, making it a self-portrait no matter what the subject is.  Tree of Life with Chakras represents my spiritual journey, so it’s a self-portrait of sorts.  I respect earth-based faiths & find it fascinating that religions that would never willingly admit their similarities actually have many symbols in common.  Could the Tree of Knowledge have been grafted from the Tree of Life?  The tree is the ideal symbol for my spiritual journey– roots connected to the earth and limbs stretched upward to the sky.  Since I see the Divine in all things, it’s the perfect metaphor for my beliefs.

The funny thing about this piece is that it was intended to be a collage of my flowerbed.  As I painted the first layer of color, the image of the tree appeared in my mind & all attempts at painting flowers were thwarted.  I sketched many variations of the tree until what you see on the canvas “came to life”.  The collage wasn’t  finished until I added the multicolored spirals, each representing a chakra from the root chakra up to the crown chakra.   I love this piece & if you look closely, you can see Bella, my parakeet, loves it, too.  Does your art have a spiritual component?  How do you express what you value & love?

Check out the art I have for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

"I'm a tree not a flowerbed," said the canvas.

Tree of Life with Chakras.... and Bella

Art Inspires a Child


As an artist, I look for inspiration, never considering that I might inspire someone else.  Last autumn, I shared my collage, Treasure in the Gulf, with a group of elementary students.  I talked about the BP Oil Disaster & the animals who were killed or injured by it, explaining my collage celebrates the sea turtles who were rescued & released back into the wild.  The kids loved it!  One boy asked if I could make him a cobra collage.  While I quickly agreed,  I’m ashamed to say, I wasn’t so quick to finish it.  He asked & asked about that piece for several weeks.  Finally, I gave it to him & he just stared at it & mumbled, “Thanks.”  I honestly thought he was disappointed because this paisley & metallic cobra was not what he was expecting.   I was so wrong.

This autumn, we cross paths again.  “Miss Korsnick, look at this.  Remember you showed us your turtle picture?  Now I’m an artist, too.”  He pulled out a sketchpad full of wonderful pictures that he drew.  He said he carries his sketchpad everywhere.  “I should start doing that, too.  It’s a great idea… & you’re a great artist, Jacob.”  I said, trying not to cry.  He added, “Remember the cobra you did for me?  I love that picture.  It’s still hanging in my bedroom”.

A compliment from a child is priceless & so humbling.  To think, something I did over a year ago inspired him to create his own art.  We never know whose life we are touching… a word or a simple act of kindness can be remembered forever.  A wise woman once said, “Live your life as if everything you do is important… because it is.”

Treasure In the Gulf Inspires a Child

Check out the art I have for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

A Muse for My Art

Muses are the people, places, & things that are important to me– from baby turtles hatching on a beach to the mourning dove cooing in her nest.  Fi-Fi-Fiesta is a piece inspired by one such muse– my sassy niece.  Staring at a blank canvas, I thought of her, a “child of light” (those are her words) & asked, “What colors represent Fi’s free spirit?”  I swirled & twirled summer-sky blue, tangerine orange, & sunny yellow over the canvas in large bubbles– effervescent like she is.  Notice I don’t call colors by the names on the tubes.  For me, it’s not about Prussian Blue or Cadmium Red… it’s about an inky night sky or eating a candied apple at a fall festival.  Color is about emotion & capturing the spirit of my subject.

I thought of the girl who beckons the sky for rain, sings at the top of her lungs when we’re kayaking, & picks herbs from my garden to put in a pouch so she can smell them long after her visit with me is over.  This piece is about energy, her zest for life.  I put a pop of color at the top of the canvas & cut up bits of paper to sprinkle like confetti all over the piece.  Something still isn’t quite right.  I take an Exacto knife & carve two large patches in the canvas.  I’ve never done this before but it seems right that this piece is multidimensional.  The two holes look like flames of a candle.  That’s it!!  Her phrase, “child of the light”, rings in my ears.  I adhere gold brocade to the back of the canvas.  Now, her light shines.

Check out the art I have for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

Fi-Fi-Fiesta: inspired by my niece

Doing Less to Experience More

I honestly thought I was present in my life.  That is, until I tried to paint Bella Bird, my parakeet, from memory.  Bella came to me months ago purely by coincidence… a lost turquoise blue bird set in the emerald green grass far from any house.  I have no idea how she got there but I adopted her & have loved her ever since.  She’s bright blue with white & black feathers down her back and a white breast with little royal blue & black dots like a necklace around her neck.  Beautiful!

What does this have to do with being present?  Well, I sketched her one evening & decided to take the sketch to work, where I would add color to it during lunch.  I sat with watercolor pencils, a fine tip black marker, & a few brushes, confidently adding the turquoise blue to her feathers as well as other details.  When I took the finished sketch home & held it up near Bella, I had her coloring completely reversed, white where blue should be & vice versa!  How did I not see her when every day she sets on my finger about 3 inches from my face?!

How many times is life like that?  We get so busy with our lists, errands, & so-called commitments that we don’t truly experience our own lives.  I’m obviously doing too many things if I can’t take time to see the world around me.  I’d like to pare down life to the essentials– loved ones, nature, art, & my spirituality.  I want to see.  I want to be present in my own life.

Trees are Yawning

The Wheel of the Year continues to spin, bringing in Autumn, my favorite time of year.  Now that the weather is cooler & the days are shorter, I enjoy walking the dogs under trees that seem tired of being lush & green after such a long hot summer.  As they yawn & stretch their limbs before their winter nap, I scour the ground for the gold, scarlet, & russet leaves that flutter on the path before us.  That distinct crunching sound of dry leaves under foot is one of life’s simple pleasures.  I can’t resist picking them up & taking them back to my studio.  Every year, I use maple, beech, ash, & oak leaves for inspiration, never tiring of their colors, shapes, & textures.   They are so different from one another yet similar, reminding me of how much people are the same in some ways & unique in others.

In my studio, I consider which materials to play with–  fabrics, paints, inks, & something new to me– Dicro Fusible Fibers.  If you haven’t played with this material, try it!  I used the color “bark” which looks like thin threads of copper– gorgeous!!  Perhaps you can see it in the photos I included below.   Never be afraid to try new things 🙂

On one hand, I feel like a child, free to create whatever my imagination can dream into being.  On the other hand, I am humbled by the spirituality of creation — the Divine in me connecting to the Divine in nature.  Some say we are co-creators in our own lives.  What do you think?  Please take time to notice nature & appreciate the changing seasons.  Inspiration is yours for the taking!

Autumn Leaf Inspiration

A close-up of maple leaf with fusible fibers.