Spiral Mandala

Spiral Mandala

Spiral Mandala- watercolor and graphite on paper by Susan Korsnick 2017

SPIRAL MANDALA

Cosmic Creative Force

Co-creator of Life

Empowered by Love–

Empowered by Light–

Empowered by the Connection

to all that is.

Spiral Mandala Closeup

detail of Spiral Mandala by Susan Korsnick

“What Did You Fall In Love With?”

Every once in a while, I nourish my Self by taking what  Julia Cameron calls “Art Dates” in her book, The Artist’s Way.  Typically, these are special dates with one’s self to seek inspiration and nurture the artist within.

I explored this in my post Art Date with Myself.  Funny, I broke the rules in that post, too!

I take plenty of Art Dates by myself but this time, I chose to spend it with my boyfriend.  It was a lovely February day so we decided to explore the newly renovated National Gallery of Art East Wing  in Washington DC.

At the end of our artsy adventure, he asks me a provocative question that I love for its directness and the ease with which I can answer it.  “What did you fall in love with today?”  While I deeply adore viewing all of the pieces in general, there are three works that I am, indeed, in love with.

Henri Matisse – Decorative Composition with Masks (1953)

Large Decorative Cutout with Masks

Henri Matisse, Large Composition with Masks (1953)

I’ve been in love with this piece for decades and every time I see it, these feelings grow stronger.  Every single time without exception, my heart swells and tears fill my eyes the moment I come around the corner and view this enormous cutout in all its colorful, simplistic glory.  It is, by far, my favorite work of all time.  Those of you who have fallen in love with art know what I mean and how impossible it is to explain why a piece captures your heart, soul, and imagination.

Pierre Bonnard – Nude in an Interior (1935)

pierrebonnardnudeinaninterior

I’m also in love with Pierre Bonnard’s Nude in an Interior (1935).  His use of bold blocks of color and pattern, patches of sunlight, his color palette, and contrast of the straight lines of the interior against the feminine curves of the nude captivate me.

Lately, my color palette has been rather dark and often subdued.  The joyful, sunny colors of this painting inspire me to play with similar colors.

Francesca Woodman – Caryatid, New York (1980)

francescawoodman-caryatid-new-york

Francesca Woodman – Caryatid, New York (1980)

This mysterious, otherworldly image by Francesca Woodman captivates me and leaves me with many unanswered questions.  Who is this?  Where is she?  What is she thinking?  The tragic and divinely talented Woodhouse died at age 22, leaving behind a great many self-portraits and other beautiful and unsettling images.  I love how this piques my curiousity.  I want to know more about her art and the creative yet tortured woman who created it.

What art are you in love with?

Please share.

StarFlight

I’m exploring the integration of my visual art and original poetry.

StarFlight- acrylic on canvas

StarFlight- acrylic on canvas

Wings that carried me far and wide

Return me to the cosmic center of Self.

Greatest journey over shortest distance.

Inward.

Susan Korsnick 2016

 

Do It Anyway

Here’s my little secret for conquering the Inner Critic… Do It Anyway!

When fear threatens to stop you in your tracks, DO IT ANYWAY.

When fear threatens to stop you in your tracks, DO IT ANYWAY.

Each of us contains two small voices– the loud panicky Inner Critic who feeds our fears and insecurities through negative self talk as well as a much quieter, gentler, loving Intuitive voice who is our muse, our biggest supporter, our source of creativity who only speaks through positive self talk.  The Inner Critic is the critical father who never encouraged you, the dismissive teacher who didn’t nurture your talent, the coach who said you couldn’t play sports, and the significant other whose negativity proved he/she wasn’t that significant after all.  The Intuitive voice is your authentic self, your true nature revealed when you pull the debris of the past off of you and let your inner light shine.  Your Intuition is you.

I know this.  I’ve known this for many years as you probably do, too.  Yet, occasionally, that Inner Critic speaks up at times that surprise me.

A little while ago, I ordered a roll of Strathmore Mixed Media paper… 8 yards of it!  It’s beautiful… durable, pure white, and full of possibilities.  I couldn’t wait to unroll it across a long table and play with my watercolors.  What happened next came out of nowhere.  I heard the Inner Critic say, “Are you crazy?  You better not use this paper; it was expensive and you’ll only mess it up.”

Are you kidding me?!  I’ve been an artist my whole life and had a very successful solo exhibit last summer, thank you very much.  Where’s this coming from?  In the past, that negativity might have stifled my creativity.  I might have rolled up that lovely paper and pulled out a sketchpad, working on a smaller space and coming from a smaller place within myself.

I didn’t do that.  I chose to say, “Enough!”  I have jumped out of a plane at over 10,000 feet.  I have moved to an unfamiliar place full of strangers.  I have had the guts to walk away from relationships and jobs that do not support my highest self.  I’m going to let negativity stop me from playing with art supplies?! I don’t think so!

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her ground-breaking book Women Who Run with the Wolves, states, ” Negative complexes that arise along the way are banished or transformed- your dreams will guide you the last part of the way- by putting your foot down, once and for all, and by saying, ‘I love my creative life more than I love cooperating with my own oppression.'”

So when fear, doubt, and anxiety try to talk you out of being your adventurous, wild, creative, loving, lovable self, take a deep breath and go from being a Survivor to a Thriver by “Doing It Anyway.”

Art Journaling

Art journaling, for me, is sometimes the end and sometimes the beginning.

Heart Art- journaling for fun

Heart Art- journaling for fun

Quite often, I art journal (if that can be a verb) for art journaling’s sake.  I play with a variety of materials, subject matter, and techniques without concern for the outcome.  The key word here is PLAY.  It’s an activity that reminds me of being a child– joyfully exploring without self-criticism, getting my hands covered with paint and glitter, and feeling limitless because I’ve put no limits on myself.  It’s about the process not a product.  It’s liberating to know that this is a piece for my eyes only, unless I choose to share it.  I’m free when I art journal.

Camper- playing with all sorts of materials

Camper- playing with all sorts of materials

Being an artist who also appreciates the sale of my work and the connection my pieces can make with other people, I also use my art journal as a learning tool.  All of the playing and experimenting help me see new color combinations or envision new compositions for larger works.

The Divine in Me

The Divine in Me

On a deeper level, my art journal is a way to connect with my authentic self in a way I cannot with a written journal that so heavily relies on intellect and grammar.  My art journal is soulful.  It is the place where I can explore personal imagery, dream symbolism, and my spirituality.  The mysteries of my inner life are revealed in my journal.  My emotions are vaildated and freely expressed without judgement.

Focus on the Light- what came out when I found out my brother-in-law committed suicide

Focus on the Light- what came out when I found out my brother-in-law committed suicide

An art journal can also be a seat of power.  A place to set intentions for what I want to manifest in my life.  The art I create in my journal can deliberately reflect my desires or unconsciously expose what is hidden inside of me, much like a vision board.

Dream the Moon into Existence

Dream the Moon into Existence

In my art journal,

I am creator, healer, priestess, teacher, student, celebrant, and eternal child.

Dream Weaver

Dream Weaver

Finding Joy

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a goal-setting, list-making perfectionist, who has been able to accomplish whatever I set my mind on accomplishing.  There is a bit of success that comes with this but the cost is in the measure of joy I have along the way.   It’s a tough road to travel when one is constantly striving to be more, be better, be enough.  There is no time to admire the scenery.  There is no stopping to refill my fuel tank.  And there is no stretch of highway that doesn’t have a road block of expectations (usually my own) hampering my progress.

When it comes to joy… you can’t get there from here.Beacon of Light

So, I’m throwing away the map that got me to this point and trusting my inner compass instead.  It’s been trying to lead the way but I’ve been ignoring it on this race to the top.  The top of what?  Some future achievement?  When?  Always later, I  now realize.  There is no destination on this kind of a journey.  It’s a constant push for a future reward that comes at a price, if it comes at all.

Relax and Release

Someone said that depression is a focus on the past and anxiety is a focus on the future.  The only way to be happy is to “Focus on the Present”.   Let me throw in a few more affirmations for good measure- Go with the Flow; Let Go; Take What’s Working and Leave the Rest; Seize the Day.  You get the point and finally, I do, too.

One of the first things I did to nurture myself this year was register for LifeBook 2015, the amazing online art experience… the art extravaganza, actually… created by Tamara Laporte.  She organized a yearlong exploration of art through a variety or techniques and mediums as taught by over 25 artists, including Joanne Sharpe, Flora Bowley, Jane Davenport, Alisa Burke, and herself.  It’s contemplative, it’s creative, and most of all it’s FUN!!

Art Feeds My Soul

It’s time to enjoy life and release what no longer serves.   I don’t know how many of you out there are Type-A perfectionists like me but to say “That’s enough” and most important, “I’m enough” is huge!!!  I have given myself permission to play and have fun along the way.

These are some of the pieces I’ve created through LifeBook so far this year.  This experience is for the joy of creating and that’s all.  And that’s enough.

2015-02-08 08.12.24

 

Girl on a Wire

 

2015-02-14 07.58.22

 

Affirmation Feather


DreamCatcher  

Blessing and Being BLessed Jar

 

 

 

Winged Spirit- Soar to New Heights

Winged Spirit emerged from the canvas to remind us that we should release our burdens and soar to new heights.

Winged Spirit emerged from the canvas to remind us that we should release our burdens and soar to new heights.

Winged Spirit speaks to me, gently saying “Release what no longer serves so you can soar to new heights.”  Her wings are strong yet nurturing. “Fear not,” she continues, “when you have the courage to take a leap, Spirit will carry you safely on the wind. You will not fall.”  What wonderful advice as we head into 2015, a new year & an opportunity for a new beginning!

By letting go of my preconceived idea of what this canvas could be, Winged Spirit continued to reveal herself.

By letting go of my preconceived idea of what this canvas could be, Winged Spirit continued to reveal herself.

Winged Spirit emerged from layers of acrylic paint playfully applied with a variety of tools- brushes, a spray bottle, sponges, a fork, stencils, stamps, and my fingertips.  I was able to connect with this piece far more deeply than I had with some of my earlier work because I allowed myself to enjoy the process and let whatever was going to happen happen.  Surrender… a new concept for me.

After freely applying several layers of paint without any thought to the outcome, I saw Winged Spirit peeking through the drips, splashes, and strokes.

After freely applying several layers of paint without any thought to the outcome, I saw Winged Spirit peeking through the drips, splashes, and strokes.

 

Early in the fall, I strolled into my local fabric store and happened upon a display of art-related books.  As soon as I read the title “Brave Intuitive Painting”, I knew I had to have Flora Bowley’s book for that’s exactly what I would love to call my painting process.  But I can’t.  Not yet.  I stayed up late into the night soaking up her advice, techniques, and colorful examples, enthusiastically telling my boyfriend, “If I could write a book, this is exactly what I’d want to say!!”  She encourages artists to release preconceived ideas of a finished product and immerse ourselves in the process of discovery… and self-discovery.  The book led me to her website which led me to her e-course called Bloom True.  I highly recommend it for anyone to wants to break free of expectations and allowing the experience of creating art to be a more intuitive process.

The point of taking Flora Bowley’s workshop is not to copy her style.  Rather, the point is to honor the authentic creator in my Self, silence the critical mind for a while, and just BE.

Visit my shop on Etsy to view the art I currently have for sale.  www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

The Twins- A Collage on Canvas

Now that the parents expecting their second set of twins have been given my collage, aptly titled The Twins, I can finally share the images of the piece that I was commissioned to create to honor the babies they’ll soon be having.  I’m very happy with the way the piece turned out, especially the expression’s on the giraffes’ faces.  Here’s the finished piece and a few photos of my process.  Peaking out between layers of paint are some of the words to a blessing I wrote for the babies as well as words such as “Joy, Peace, Love, Serenity, Safety, and Laughter.”  All the things one would wish for little ones just entering the world.

Twins Final

The Twins- my collage on canvas. The finished piece has fabric to highlight the grass and add interest to the spots on the baby giraffes.

Twins 1

I lightly sketch the giraffes with acrylic paint on the canvas to make sure I have the scale right.

 

 

Stencils, stamps, and a turquoise outline add interest.

Stencils, stamps, and a turquoise outline add interest.  This is the layer where I get to play freely and see what wants to happen.

 

Twins 3

I make more deliberate decisions about details such as the grass and leaves on the branches.

Create While I Wait

I’m taking a new approach to situations that usually trigger a measure of impatience in me, such as waiting for the mechanic to finish a car repair or sitting in the doctor’s office because he is running behind schedule.  I’ve tried reading the outdated magazines and I’ve tried to watch whatever happens to be on the television in the corner of the room, neither of which appeal to me.  The phrase, “Do what you love”, inspired me to create a traveling art kit that fits easily into my purse.

Traveling Art Kit:  can hold everything from watercolors to a glue stick & bits of fabric.

Traveling Art Kit: holds my small watercolour set, pens, brushes, & a mini sketchpad.

An old cosmetic bag gets a new life as the keeper of my pens, brushes, and mini-sketchpad.  It’s a treat to be able to take out my art supplies & play until my name is called.  Now, I’m more likely to say that the wait time was too short!

A fun little doodle in shades of Payne's Gray.

A fun little doodle in shades of Payne’s Gray.

I don’t have large blocks of time to explore my creativity on most days but a few minutes here and there can quickly add up.  It’s so much easier to maintain a positive attitude in less-than-ideal situations when I’m doing something joyful.

Zinnia blossom in watercolour and pen.

Zinnia blossom in watercolour and pen.

“Create while you wait!”; the perfect mantra for someone who waits impatiently.

Portrait of an Artist

This piece is dedicated to artists, songwriters, poets, & all others who create from a deep place within their soul.  

For, I believe, creation is a sacred act performed in collaboration with the Divine force that inspires & co-creates with us.  

I hope you see yourself in this portrait.

 

I enter the passageway, regal yet humble, confident yet scared- bare feet purposefully connecting to the cool rock beneath them.  Moss cushions one footstep while jagged rocks poke savagely at the next.  No right or wrong… just being.

There is drumming but no drummer.  The heartbeat of the earth itself.  The heartbeat of this cavernous temple.

Long skirt, bare arms- warm there, cool here.  I continue to be pulled in deeper & deeper.  The drumbeat-heartbeat echoes in my ears, pounding in my brain until thoughts are blessedly mute.  There’s just the pounding rhythm.

Small torches give life to shadows that dance on the walls.  Spirits are here.  I am the priestess, the High Priestess, of this temple, standing in the power of connecting and belonging.  A larger light beckons from deeper within.  I walk up to the shallow copper bowl on its pedestal, coals glowing inside.  Such heat blows the hair back from my face, drying my lips & eyes.  I shut them both & raise my hands to either side of the bowl, moving them first closer to the heat then into the coolness before settling comfortably in the warm middle space.

I peer down into the embers, where more spirits dance.  Such power- an energy that dances in me, too.  What is the message?  “This cannot be rushed.  Demands & impatience have no place here.  Look & listen.”

I genuflect, hands before my face, palms pressed together in prayer position.  I touch them to my core- a place of right action, my heart- right emotion, my throat- right communication, between my eyes- right thought, and the crown of my head- right connection.  This sets the intention for sacred work to take place.

Drumbeat-heartbeat no longer a sound, now a feeling.

One knee senses the small pebbles beneath, grounding me to this place and time.  When ready, I rise and bow to the fire- giver of life, destroyer, and transformer.  I proceed to the dark recess where torch and ember cannot reach.

Wetness… bare feet slip on rocks and hands slide along slick walls.  I smell the dampness that blankets my skin and fills my nostrils.  I drink with every breath.

I notice the small pots on the stony ledge and pick one up.  It’s half full of russet paint, the color of dried blood.  I push my finger into the warm thickness then streak the bridge of my nose and under each eye.  I hold space for a still moment before I take that pot to the place where dark meets light and magic takes place.  I dip a crude brush into the paint then hover above the place on the wall where I want to put the image.  Wait.  Keep waiting as long as I’m thinking “I want.  I want.”  When “I want” becomes “thy will”, place the brush on the rock and let it move.  It will be what it will be.

Back- long and strong, around the haunches- muscular and determined, shoulders- curved and coiled for action, neck- supporting the regal head, and face- alive and knowing.  What else?  I wait for it to come.  If nothing comes, I stop for stopping is all I can do.  This is a collaborative piece that I can never own or dare to take credit for.  My body, like my brush, is a channel.

I stand in the silence… feeling the blood course through my veins and pound in my ears.  All the pounding- my heartbeat, the drumbeat, and the animal spirits stampeding on the wall.  I know this is all for now and I am at peace.  I return the bowl to its place on the dark shelf and I return to the light beyond the embers and the torchlight to the fiery radiance of the sun.

Sensory overload as macaws scream, monkeys screech, insects rub legs and wings, birds chirp, and the waterfall roars.  I cover my ears with my hands.  Too much to take in.  Too many objects… too many sounds… too many scents vying for attention, rushing me all at once.  I long to return to the cave, that place far removed yet more deeply connected to all that is.

This, too, is my world.  Men feeding elephants.  Women feeding babies.  I take from the cave and bring to the village as a gift.  I take from the village and bring to the cave as a gift.  All of life committed to being an offering.  An expression of gratitude for the light and the darkness, the noise and the silence… gratitude for all that is.