I haven’t participated in skinnywench’s word a week photo challenge but it was irresistible! I love the clouds!
Owning my own personal power is something I take very seriously. Not only is this important in my work as a therapist, where equalizing the inherent power differential is a part of my theoretical lens, but it is important in other areas of my life as well and affects my marriage, my parenting, and my creative capacities. Believing in myself, owning my strengths, my limitations, my growth edges, helps me face down fear, which so often paralyzes me, especially artistically. I fear that I have nothing relevant to say and even less ability to execute it. It’s easier with therapy, the stance of humility is beneficial to reducing other peoples anxieties. With art, when I am planning or working on a piece I find that confidence and trust in myself are paramount. These are important in therapy as well, but it is not really about me, it is about others. Art brings me face to face with my self in a way that leaves me vulnerable. When I am able to overcome my fear and allow myself freedom to make mistakes, the result is often gratifying. It’s this personal power I hold onto when I begin to doubt.
This latest in the series of Meditating Possibilities seemed a fitting tribute to starting the new year. Thanks to my step son whose Captain America helmet was loaned for the sitting:)
Meditating Realities # 1
Graphite on Paper
9″ x 12″
Holly Suzanne, December 2012
Meditating Possibilities # 3
Holly Suzanne, 2012
As some of my readers have noted, I’ve been waiting for some kind of inspiration as of late, feeling bogged down and bound up with a long Christmas list of to-do”s. Typically, when this happens I find myself day dreaming, gazing, reading, or honestly DOING anything that isn’t directly creative in a zombie like procrastinating state, but thankfully, this is lifting, thanks in part to my husband who just happened to place one of my hats atop a Buddha statue that sits atop our built in buffet in the dining room. Often over the past few days, I’ve found myself gazing at it, captivated by the transformative reality the small hat claims, and so it was that yesterday I decided to play dress up so to speak with various hats from our wardrobe. In my dress series, I engaged the idea of identity via style and fashion particularly related to gender, but this dressing strikes me in another way. The Buddha statue adorned with various hats is an odd juxtaposition of physical and spiritual dimensions. It reminds me so of a phrase I read long ago as part of an essay on Liberation Theology that encouraged a spirituality where one’s “feet are planted in mid-air” (author unknown). In an odd way these works remind me of that. We are living after all, bound to our bodies, our vulnerabilities, our lives, and yet to transcend these things, to meditate and find peace requires a meditative other wordly stance often referred to as meditation. This is something I think of often, seeking to find balance in my life. In this case it appears, at least for the time being in this new series.
To see a book of the dress series with paintings by me and poetry by Nathan Filbert please visit: Paper Dolls: A Dress Series in Paint and Poetry
Sometimes I feel bound up inside as if there were no escape from my own self defined ideas. Things like beauty and creativity find themselves cloaked or stifled and I struggle to bring forth what I’m trying to say, do or represent. I move about and wrestle trying to free that thing that will change it all, that will finally release me from what’s holding me. I feel inept, unable to execute my ideas or my desires. I guess we never really know what is hidden or what we hide from ourselves, the parts of our selves that sabotage. I can feel their effects, but struggle today to get my bearings and push through to the other side.
I’m not at home this week. I’ve been sharing some time with my sister following some continuing education in California. These pics are from our first sunrise here in Los Cabos. It is the most peaceful of moments. Yesterday I didn’t take my camera but it was even more spectacular. Life is such a balance of doing and being. Sometimes I just need to be. We decided early in our stay not to GO anywhere but to truly rest. I’m really glad we are on the same page.
Enjoy your day- Holly
Yesterday I posted a process work after cleaning my studio. Today I’m posting one small area of my studio and a close up of one sculptural piece I completed about a year ago. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and look, to see things with fresh eyes. It’s gorgeous outside today, clear and about 70 degrees. The sun is shining, I’m home between clients at my office. A breather. We all need it.
It’s not easy juggling hats. I enjoy all parts of my life but sometimes things just get messy! Not only is there a need to select which things take priority, but sometimes a deep clean up is called for. Generally speaking I have to do a major overhaul of my studio each time I put up a show, and Monday was set aside for this task. There were a number of things I’d hoped to accomplish besides actually cleaning, which trust em needed to be done, but I have been wanting to find a new storage system for my work and move my working area to a spot with better lighting. It took almost six hours but the result was satisfying.
The image you see above was completed as a finale to my day’s labor. It is a mixed media piece on plywood that rests on a large easel against one of my walls. I titled it “Juggling Hats” because it captures a momentary glimpse of all the subtle complexity involved in any creative effort. This isn’t a fine piece of art by any means, but it is an expression of my process, a mark so to speak of my existence in this world, and how I move in it. It felt good. When I was done, I rested:)
When I first moved west from Ontario, it was the autumn leaves I missed the most. My mother mailed me some, which I suspended from threads from the ceiling of my windy prairies dorm room. They reminded me of home, and of the times we gathered leaves and taped them to the windows when I was younger. I remember one year having to collect leaves from a host of Carolinian forest residents, including the red oak.
These are two of the large oil paintings I’ve been working on in my studio. I’m at a stand still currently as my supplies have dwindled and I am awaiting a shipment to complete them. The Triptyk is called Waterplay, even though I only show two of the works here. I find oil to be a labor of love in that it demands patience and planning, or at least more planning than I typically desire. These works have taken a form I’d not suspected however and I’m letting them lead me as I go. I imagine the swimmer to be delighting under a waterfall, as seen in the other painting. She seems to be pondering something there.
Have a good eve-
I was asked today for an interview as part of a newspaper article for a local high school here in Wichita on the Science of Love. Of course they asked me as a therapist and not as an artist, but as I think on the topic and contemplate what I might have to contribute to the article I can’t help but ponder the similarities between art making and love making. For those of you sleepy readers I may have just gotten your attention;) In my work as an artist there is a certain intimacy with the materials which develops and is born out of an inherent attraction, likewise love. Creating something aesthetically pleasing and balanced requires attunement and a commitment to the process, as does love. Mistakes are made, repairs attempted, and out of this something of a union of materials or hearts are joined together. Love or art cannot be reduced to a formula or even be described in terms of science, although we’d like to think that following this technique or learning to listen or understand is the key to success, yet there remains the unexplicable mystery of how these thing are translated and in the end this “thing” if we can call it that is always more than the sum of it’s parts. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as the old adage goes. It certainly appears to be true in art as well as in love.
- Encaustic Workshop with Leah Macdonald (karenrexrode.typepad.com)
- Acrylic Gel Techniques for Encaustic Effects (artistsjournal.wordpress.com)
Collage in Mixed Media on Wood, Holly Suzanne 2012
Hello Everyone! I hope this September finds you in your creative groove. I’ve been absent from Life In Relation To Art (my blog) but not absent in my studio, and I’m sending this post out for all of you who follow my blog…Hello;) Balancing life and art necessitates such careful balance. It’s good to be able to write you all.
Things in my little slice of the world are moving along and things are emerging in my work. I’ve been working on some mixed media encaustic collage pieces for a show coming up in November here in Wichita, as well as a large triptych called “Waterplay” in oil on canvas. I’ll be unveiling some of the work slowly prior to the show, and have dedicated two days a week to work in my studio, and snippets of other days when I’m able to accomplish the task.
These two pieces were inspired by several cool days here in Kansas, where we had partly sunny skies and occasional rain showers. As is my preference I like to use discarded paintings in my encaustic collage work as they provide rich and interesting collage papers to work with. I’ve been noticing the circular design popping up in my work lately. In these two pieces I used wood glue and shellac in a wet burn technique to create contrast to the softer colors of the papers and wax.
Until next time,
It’s been almost a month and I’ve been practicing the art of procrastination in regards to my blog and all of you who are kind enough to follow my blog may have wondered at my absence or then again maybe in the superflow of information and all the multitudes of creatives out there you didn’t even notice. It’s okay if you didn’t. My world is bursting at the seams and I have accepted long ago, contrary to some people’s opinions of me, that I can’t do everything and keep up with everything. Nevertheless, I have missed the shared community here and hope all of you are well and enjoying the last days of summer. Here in Wichita, our kids are back in school officially as of today and Nathan had his first day in the SlIM program at Emporia State. As for me, as the title of this post suggests, I’m getting back at it, which presently means ordering supplies for the studio, tending to domestic chores, working part time in my therapy practice, trying to potty train two apparently stubborn puppies, and loving on my family. I”ve no creative works to share at the moment all though I have many ideas flowing in my head and I grow anxious to give breath to them. I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, I wanted to share a video from the Limitless Expressions Exhibit posted today and if you click on a “ The Light Ekphrastic”, where Nathan has several poems published. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day:) –Holly Suzanne
Here’s the video:
I’m really excited to be able to attend the opening reception for Limitless Expressions and to meet all the other artist’s and of course to see their work in person this coming Thursday evening. I have three pieces in this group exhibition and understand from the curator that the show promises to be stimulating. If you are in the area, those of you in blogger land or beyond, come on out! I leave tomorrow and am looking forward to seeing the fair city of Toronto!
This weeks photo challenge “dreaming” brought the following image to mind. The work itself, which I did as part of a poster series, was meant to capture an ethereal feel of dancing on clouds, and has been thus evocative for me. Today I find myself taken away upon further reflection, enveloped in folds of mist, skin disappearing into landscape. I become illusion and dance. Resting there. I am a cloud moving effortlessly with the wind in defiance of bodily pain, tears of limitation mingling with those of joy.
- Weekly photo challenge: DREAMING (picturesinlivingcolor.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreaming or Rêver (frenchtwistedwoman.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreaming (babyjill7.wordpress.com)
- The Daily Post Challenge – Dreaming (thegingerbreadcafe.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreaming (anitamacphotos.wordpress.com)
- “Refined Through Fire”- handbuilt sculpture bisque fired to cone 5 and then saw dust fired with red iron oxide, salt, and bone ash. 2012- Holly Suzanne. All images by Holly Suzanne.
When I took the piece out of the kiln and saw that the side had been blown off, I found something that to me was unexpectedly beautiful. The lines of the remaining figure were sharp and clean, reminding me of cracks in ice. I decided not to glaze the piece and instead smoke fired it with newspaper, sawdust, and leaves from the yard. For those of you that want to learn more about the process of saw dust or smoke firing, you can find a little below: Instead of a pit I use an aluminum trash can and add more items to the mix for a bit more surprise:)