Roots IV and V

My Roots series of acrylic paintings is complete & I can only sigh contentedly.  From the moment I saw these beautiful trees on a hiking trail to the rough sketches & finished paintings, I’ve been connected to these trees & happily entwined in their roots.

Roots V

Roots V

Roots IV

Roots IV: it really had a heart-shaped knothole.

Creation for me is co-creation, a union of artist & subject in a chosen medium.   When we can get out of our own way & let the process flow naturally, beautiful things can happen.  I feel that way about my Roots series.

Root Project

Roots series

Take a look at my Art Gallery page to see all my recent work. 

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Nature-Inspired Wall Hangings Part 1

I have a tendency to pick up natural objects as I walk through parks, on nature trails, or along the beach.  That’s why my art studio has baskets overflowing with twigs & bowls brimming with feathers, stones, & seashells.  By bringing Nature into my home, I feel a constant connection to what I hold sacred.  By bringing Her into my art, I can honor that connection & celebrate the beauty found in woods, water, & wildlife.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed creating them.  May your senses be heightened to the beauty all around you.

Spiral Wall Hanging- the spiral is an ancient symbol of creation

Purple Fern Wall Hanging- energy is created by the contrasting purple & gold metallic ink.

Twig Wall Hanging- gnarled branches bring personality & movement

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10% discount coupon available now through Dec. 31, 2012.  Type in “PureSusan2”

More Haiku-Inspired Work

These are three more images from the little golden sketchbook I wrote about in my last post.  Taking a subject & simplifying it with a few lines & adding a haiku-inspired poem keeps me focused on what I see as the subject’s pure essence.  The first drawing is a tree planted in the middle of a path.  While people ignore it as they walk around it, I imagine the tree eagerly waiting for someone to say, “Hi.”  The second drawing is one of my favorite nearby spots with an amazing view.  The third is my blind dog, Paco, who can safely explore the fenced-in area of the doggie park, while I watch him lovingly from my blanket stretched under a shady tree.

With arms outstretched,

Lonely tree

beckons this tree hugger.

As far as I see,

green on green.

No boundaries, no fences.

Finding his way back,

Paco’s nose & ears

replace dark eyes.

I’m a Tree

I’m a tree when it comes to my art, rooted in the solid earth of knowledge & experience

while reaching my limbs to the sky for inspiration & a fresh outlook.

Although I have professional experience in such diverse areas such as screen printing, collage, glass engraving, & graphic design, I’m always willing to learn more about my craft.  I love what I do but I want to keep growing creatively.

Where can we go to grow?  Local colleges, art associations, & community centers offering adult ed classes are good places to start the search.  On-line workshops make it possible for us to study with artists from around the world.  Right now, I’m sitting on the East coast while studying with Alisa Burke, a West coast artist.  “The Art of Abstraction”, one of her on-line workshops, is giving me the opportunity to revisit some old skills in a brand new way.  Check out this class & all of her others by clicking here-  Alisa Burke workshops

This class is exactly what I need, a reminder to “PLAY” with color, line, & form.  Alisa doesn’t ask me to forget my BFA degree or years of experience; she asks me to let go of the rules & let my intuition take over.

What do you need for personal or artistic growth?  Whatever it is, I hope you find it, too.

Morning Dew

I have the intention of starting each day in nature, offering a prayer of gratitude or blessing, no matter the weather.  I’ve set this intention before but sometimes the bed is so cozy or the day so cold that going outside to pray takes a lot of effort.  I’m so glad I did this morning.

It was cool & foggy in the predawn hour.  Secluded & silent.  The world belonged to me, my cup of coffee, & my dogs.  I gave thanks for my many blessings then lifted my eyes to the maple tree praying next to me (or perhaps it was listening to my prayer).  I gasped with amazement & awe.  The patio light illuminated tiny, perfectly-formed droplets of dew on every blossom & twig.  It also revealed countless delicate spider webs, draping the tree like glittering garland on a Christmas tree.  Dewdrops are more precious than diamonds, in my eyes.

There is nothing man-made that can surpass the beauty inherent in nature.  I’m no poet & my words will never do justice to the magic of being PRESENT this morning.

After breakfast, I walked around my back garden, marveling at the spiderweb “hammocks”, made visible by shimmering dew droplets, nestled in the shrubs, like cupped hands cradling something fragile.  I imagine these exquisite webs to be fairy beds.  (Yes, I fully intend to keep my imagination & childlike wonder my entire life.)

This morning is definitely one of the most memorable experiences that I’ve ever had.  Others including a perfect rainbow arching over my house a month or so ago (how tempting to search for the pot of gold) & a moment in the mountains when the world was black & white like an Ansel Adams’ photograph because bare trees black with wetness contrasted so dramatically with the fluffy white snowflakes that landed on them.

What richness there is around us when we take time to see!

Seeds of Change

I recently heard “You can’t plant a 100-year-old oak tree because seeds of change take time”.  That saying connects to my last post where I referred to Janus, the Roman god of beginnings & endings, who had two faces- one looking to the past & one looking to the future.  The perfect guy to inspire “January”… the month of reflecting while facing a new year.  Hmmm, perhaps my name should be Janice as I, too, spend time learning from my past & trying to improve my future… (sometimes to the detriment of enjoying the present).

Don’t get me wrong; I’m wholeheartedly grateful for the many blessings in my life… there are so many!  But I want to continue to grow… which takes us back to the “seeds of change” metaphor.  Seeds need nurtured with patience & tender loving care.  In other words, good things just take time.  I think back on skills I’ve mastered like drawing & organic gardening.  I was patient with myself & kept trying (even as I made many mistakes).  I also think back on the seeds I didn’t cultivate like being fluent in a second language & learning to dance.  We have to be patient & persevere as we decide what to plant & how best to tend it.  It will pay off as we watch our seeds grow into saplings then mighty oaks.

With 2012 fast approaching, ask yourself what seeds do you want to plant?  What do you want to cultivate in your life?  I hope to nurture my important relationships, adopt a rescue dog who needs love as much as I need to give it, & spend more time doing the things I enjoy.  I look forward to sharing more artwork with you as well as news about a womans’ spirituality workshop I’m leading for the first time this spring.   We are, at once, the gardener tending the seed & the seed itself.  May your roots hold you close to the earth while you reach for the sky.

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?

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

Tree of Life with Chakras.... and Bella