Sunday, August 25, 2013

(Artistic) Nature - DC

Although I do enjoy being in close proximity to the Forest and beach and am mostly grateful that I live in splendid isolation here on this Alaskan Island, I feel like I tend to inundate you, Gentle Reader, with scenes of Nature.  Therefore, in response to Tiny Woolf’s Drawing Challenge this week I want to talk about a region of the soul’s landscape – artistic nature. 

'The Nature of Love' 8x6 pigma pen and prismacolor pencil

Artistic nature is a quality all people possess in varying degrees.  It’s the place from which comes our impulse to stop in jaw-dropped awe at a sunset, a rainbow, a rock formation.  Some people, artists, are lucky (and/or tortured) enough to spend much of their time translating such feelings and experiences into tangible form.  
study for large painting, 8x6 pigma pen and inktense pencils

My artistic nature follows a pattern as regular as the seasons.  The first couple of sessions on any new painting or body of work are inevitably torture as I lay down chaos on canvas and endure a barrage of relentlessly negative self-talk to the effect that I have forgotten how to paint, am never going to make anything ‘good’ again, am wasting my time… but then just as surely as the tide rises, something happens in the action of working and I get a glimmer of form, an idea of where this thing I am slashing away at with my animal-hairs-on-a-stick is heading.  Magic!  Soon I am dancing in the creative moonlight, all angst replaced by excitement and pure joy of the making.
28 yards of silk organza ready to be cut down to size for my library commission

The past two weeks have been exactly like that at the studio as I began work on a couple of new projects including a big (for me) acrylic collage on an approximately 60”x44” canvas for my museum show in November.  Here is a little glimpse of where I left things yesterday at the end of week two.  Still a long way to go, but I am dancing now!
work in progress, acrylic and paper collage on canvas, about 44" x 60"
 Thank you to the extraordinary Nadine for this week's always-stimulating drawing challenge.  Please take a wander over to her part of the Forest for a look at wild Nature through the eyes of some exceptional artists.  Happy week!
silk organza panels piling up on my ironing board


  1. i feel so lucky to read here words i can indeed relate to, and i must thank you for your frankness about the agony which comes with creating. i always think i'm escaping it, but frankly, not so. i just die in a different area of my life. same difference... that is an insight for which i am most grateful to you.
    now. your work in progress! i also very much LOVE your study for the bigger piece. oh, and my curiosity grows, as does yours, no doubt. keep at it! you're on your way!
    thank you so much for playing. a wild card. ;)))

  2. Oh my gosh, you have written in words the thoughts and worries many artist's carry so deep within the soul they cannot be expressed. Well done dear, Sus. xo Carole

  3. such wonderful and charming
    also interesting pieces!
    wishing you a grand time with your silk.... wishing you to remember how much fun is the making
    but i also doubt myself from time to time ;-)

  4. I know exactly what you are talking about - at times so hard, but I have to do it, there is no choice unless I never want to find happiness again. Looking forward to seeing more of that big canvas you are working on - Love it already, and I am glad you are in the dancing stage! And YES lets working at hiking together next summer!!!

  5. such true words
    the struggle, fight, but what can we do?
    we have to make, don't we?
    and thank you for showing your work in progress
    the flow of making often makes me even more happy
    than the final result

    wish you a happy creative week!
    Patrice A.

  6. I'm always feeling a little bit better when I read that other artist struggle as wel and that they talk negative things to themselves, such true words! And the great feeling if you see that you can still paint;-) I love your work in this post: the beautiful colors, the joy and the trees bending over. And I'm happy to read about your ehibition, congratulations!

  7. Dear Sus, you described perfectly struggly and fight of the endeavor of making art and we can all relate to this as you can see. Well your results proof that is worth it, and it shows the dancing of creativity.
    Your works make me feel that the next dc at my place/blog will talk to you as well, please feel invited, looking forward to your input!

  8. Dear Sus, you tell extremely well- both in pictures and words- about the process of making art, I do agree indeed! Leena

  9. Sus,
    I am so glad I get to see your work-in-progress in person. It always helps me brush away my own negative self-talk and doubt. Now if only the brain would occasionally quiet down and let me sleep!

    The library project is going to be a treat to watch unfold, but I have to say I'm also enjoying the mural. Can't wait to see all the things you come up with! xxx C.

  10. Thank you for sharing your angst! I recognise the feeling. Your work is developing like a seedling in the forest. It will grow and grow, and then comes the next difficult moment for the artist. Where to stop? When is the work finished? I wish you good luck and happy painting!

  11. Dear Susan,
    Such wonderful and inspiring pieces, love your art work!
    Your words are exactly the true, so happy to find you and be part of this drawing challenge family!

    Wish you a nice week!

  12. A treat for the always!

  13. So true your experience of the "act of creating" it is part of our nature to observe and be inspired by nature around us because we are it and I think artists try to connect the two through creating.

    Your work is inspiring :)

  14. dear Sus, oh yes so recognizable what you write here :)

    you do it again make my eyes walk all over your work our should i say dance all over your work, it rather feels like my eyes are dancing, your bright colors are like music and i follow your stems and leaves and curls i jump to rooftops, climb ladders, meet sun and moons and i love it, xx

  15. Thanks your post is very educational,
    I like. I agree, I think we are all born knowing to draw, then society is responsible for eliminating this condition in some, and mysteriously, not in others.
    Sometimes, when a child paints a green sun, someone says, "No, child, the sun is yellow" that child has been canceled artistically speaking.
    good week for you! (and many green suns) :)

  16. As always, I, creature of habit, and loving your work always, find myself searching almost frantically for ladders and crosses and then when I find them, and I usually do, thank goodness, I take a deep appreciative breath, and study what is on the screen. I love the seaweed shapes in the first piece. It looks like one of those floating bulbs that are seaweed. And even the colour is right. Marvelous!
    I look forward to seeing your larger piece develop. And I really did enjoy your description of the artistic angst (that is what I call it anyway...when I too feel it...which is often...and basically I wonder why I even bother to pick up a pencil, paintbrush, etc. ever again.) When I look then, at some of the stuff I have already done, and enjoy it, then it encourages me to try to do something nice, and maybe even great, again. Hugs, N. xo

  17. I love your drawings, and I love seeing your painting in progress. I think I would like to try a big painting again sometime.


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