Copper Feather

Copper Feather:  36 by 40 inch mixed media piece on canvas

Copper Feather: 36 by 40 inch mixed media piece on canvas

You’ve always had wings

Just learn to trust

Your power to fly.

Susan Korsnick, 2016

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Bridges and Boundaries

Transformation is only possible when we choose to build bridges instead of roadblocks.

Transformation is only possible when we choose to build bridges instead of roadblocks.

I thought I fully embraced transformation–eagerly desiring positive change and building bridges to what I envision as the next phase of my life.  But something has been getting in my way.  Me.  I’m building my own roadblocks as fast as I’m building bridges.

This is a common pattern for me and many others.  We get close to fulfilling a dream and then pull away out of fear, whether it be deepening a new relationship, deciding to move, or changing careers.

I’m grateful for finally recognizing this for it means I am in a position to break the cycle of self-defeating behavior.

What do I mean by “bridges”?  

Bridges are any action or decision you make in alignment with your soul’s wish.  When I decided to leave Virginia, I focused on finishing my masters’ degree, got certified in other states, sent out resumes, made phone calls, and traveled hundreds of miles for interviews.

As I got closer to my goal, I let fear overpower me and I started building roadblocks instead.

What do I mean by “roadblocks”?

Roadblocks are the barriers to success and the awakening of our authentic Selves.  They are any action or behavior that gets in the way of reaching your goal or fulfilling your dream.  When I accepted a position and prepared to move, I began to sabotage myself in three significant ways.  FIrst, I claimed to be “too busy” to follow up with realtors who were trying to sell my house & help me find a new one.  Second, I let perfectionism paralyze me, making the excuse that everything had to be perfectly in place before I’d move forward.  And lastly, I shut down.  I was so scared about the scale of this life change that I couldn’t make any decision regarding the move for a few days.

There are already plenty of roadblocks between us and the fulfillment of our dreams.  Do we honestly need to sabotage our Selves, denying our right to happiness and an authentic life?  Naguib Mahfouz wrote, Fear does not prevent death, it prevents LIFE.”

So what am I doing differently?

Anything.  Everything.  It only takes one itty bitty baby step to break that negative thought pattern.  I am acknowledging my fear and taking the next step anyway.  I am choosing to listen to my intuition more than my inner critic.

To learn more about my painting called Transformation (seen above) or to view my other work,

visit me at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan .

Dream Boldly

Sometimes, a little voice full of self-doubt can whisper things like, “You can’t make money doing that” or “There are already a zillion artists (writers, chefs, whatever…) in the world, you don’t need to be one.”  That’s the annoying voice that prevents us from following our bliss.  I like the voice that says “There’s no competition for your life’s true purpose” much better.  That’s the encouraging intuitive voice that knows we are at our best when we are doing what we love.

What would the world be like if Matisse hesitated because there were already a lot of French artists?  What if Meryl Streep went into accounting because she thought there were too many actors vying for work?  What if Oprah stayed in Chicago living a life that was too small for her?  Only you can fulfill your own destiny by taking that first step & seeing what will happen.  It doesn’t have to be a major career change, although that might come naturally 🙂  Maybe it’s about exploring a new hobby, volunteering somewhere different, or taking yourself on a day trip somewhere unfamiliar.  Try what your heart is calling you to try!  My heart continues to tell me to create, lead workshops on spiritual discovery, garden organically, blog, write, & spend time in nature.  Who knows where these passions will lead!

Have you ever driven by some churches that have those clever & amusing quotes on signs along the road?  One sign I read said to “Invest your time; don’t waste it.”  What great advice for us creative types who always find excuses for not pursuing what we love.  Dream boldly then take a step.  You’ll be glad you did!

How Do I Create a Collage? Part 2

Play!  Play!! Play!!! I can’t emphasize this enough.  While there must be a marriage between your heart’s passion and your brain’s ability to reason, art must be about playing.  Play with an idea… make it your own.  How you see the world around you is unique to you.  If you are true to yourself, your art is automatically original.  Special, like you.

Once I have my materials and my canvas, I make the first mark.  Brain and heart are in balance as I consider colors, composition, and patterns.    I generally choose the biggest, fattest paintbrush I have to make the first bold stroke.  I can always go in with other brushes but that first one has to make a statement.  If you think about stained glass art, you’ll get the idea of how I approach my collages.  I paint a background then build on it with large blocks of color.  These blocks will end up being the outlines for my fabric and paper pieces (see some of my art in my earlier blogs).  This is similar to the lead around each piece of colorful glass.  I use tracing paper and good old-fashioned carbon paper to trace shapes and cut out fabric/paper.  (If you want more details about this step, let me know.)

My finished work, while complicated, ends up looking a bit like an advanced coloring book with bold outlines and splashes of color, texture, and pattern.  Decoupage paste or Liquitex mediums are used to adhere paper and fabric to my canvas.  Play with the mediums because you get very different results with ultra matte, matte, satin, or gloss.  For heavier items such as sea glass or pebbles, I use mosaic adhesive.  Be careful, you’ll want the kind of glue that dry clear.  I’ve made that mistake before!!  I finish my pieces with Liquitex Satin varnish, usually 5 or 6 coats over a period of days.  Make sure it dries thoroughly before applying the next layer.  I’ve never tried to varnish over 3-D objects like stone or wire so consider your finished piece & decide the best time to protect it.  I varnish before I put on 3-D objects.

Now that you know what I do… ignore my “rules” and do what feels right to you.  Let go & have fun 🙂

 

How Do I Create a Collage? Part 1

I’m glad I was asked this question.  It makes me stop and think about what I do & why.  I guess I really break collage down into two equally important components:  my heart and my head.  My heart allows me to create with passion and make pieces that resonate with others who view and buy my work.  My brain recalls years of training in proportion, composition, and color theory.  It must begin with the heart, which answers the questions — What do I love?  What am I passionate about?  What do I need to express in my art?  (The answers to those questions will come up in later blogs.)  You’ll want to answer those questions for yourself.  For example, I saw a powerful image of a wolf howling at the moon.  It really spoke to me so I sketched it several times, letting myself play with the composition.  After I create a sketch that satisfies me,  I consider how I want to express it… on canvas? bristol board?  watercolor paper?  Lately, most of my collage work is on canvas because it allows me to use a variety of materials, responds well to cutting and poking with wires and exacto knives, and handles the weight of some unusual materials such as slate and pebbles.  Still operating from the heart (which means “leave the brain out of it”), I dig through my boxes and drawers full of materials to see what captures my eye.  “Okay Wolf, talk to me.  What do you want to look like?”  I stay playful at this point, not analyzing my choices yet, simply picking what I like at the moment.   What captures my imagination and speaks to my heart?   Do certain patterns or textures stand apart from the rest?  I pick from fabric, beads, small stones, handmade papers, photographs, ticket stubs, menus, sheet music… whatever!  A pile of seemingly unrelated items begins to grow.  Once I feel like I’ve exhausted my available materials, I take a deep breath and put everything else away so I can focus on the materials I’ve chosen.

I spread out all the items, looking for things that go well together, narrowing down my selection a bit to include things that go well together and communicate the feeling I want to communicate.  Now, my wolf may not be “wolf-colored”, this isn’t about realism.  It’s about having fun and trying new things.  In fact, this wolf wants to be purple with a coppery orange moon hanging in an olive green sky.   I sometimes wonder if I’m creating the art or simply acting as a conduit for art that wants to flow through me, out onto the canvas.

Okay, I have a sketch, a pile of materials, and the foundation for this piece (a small canvas).  Now what?  Stay tuned….

 

What inspires you?

We’ve all gone through our creatively blocked moments.  I know I’ve had my share of them!  If I’m going to be honest with myself, I get most blocked when I worry about what everyone else might be thinking about what I’m doing.  Will they like it?  Will they buy it?  Self-doubt is a real inspiration killer!

So what do I do about it?  Play.  I go into my art studio and look around, grabbing anything and everything that calls to me.  Then, I look over the collection of goodies.  Sometimes I need to edit the pile, noticing what goes together and eliminating what doesn’t.   I set the edited pile of paint tubes, fabric swatches, images from magazines, whatever… aside and grab the foundation for the work.  This foundation could be a sheet of paper, a canvas, or a pillow form.  It’s whatever I am using as the basis for the work.

Now, here’s the gutsy part.  I have to make the first move.  I have to sew, splatter, brush, cut,or color…. somehow marking the surface of the piece.  Isn’t that first mark the hardest to make?!  It can be difficult but liberating.  Because once you make the first mark, you have given your piece a voice.  For the rest of the journey, it will talk to you.  It will tell you what to do next and even tell you when it’s done.  You just have to listen.  Give it a try!