Sunday, July 18, 2010

A NEW BEGINNING...all over again!


No, I'm not appearing as a guest on the series "Hoarders," although it certainly looks that way. Obviously, I make no effort to hide the fact that I'm not the best house keeper in the world, although I am trying to improve. In fact, back in the day, my mother assured me the reasons trial husband left were directly related to—not only my near constant struggle with the scale—but also my lack of cleaning skills. If that's what keeps a marriage going then I'm totally hooked up this time.

Anyway I'm starting over, again! More on that below. Let's briefly cover these photos. The pink..."actually magenta...what was I thinking" is my studio. That I don't use. As you can see, it's not tidy. Artwork, boxes, and supplies lying about, I need to step over them all to get to the computer or the phone. The green room is the store room that used to be a guestroom. As you can see it's impossible to walk into. Discarded there, for the present anyway, are dreams of jewelry making, sculpting, and incredibly tasty guitar playing along with haphazardly strewn canvasses and supplies from wall to wall. I do keep my current work safe in another room however so there is some growth there. Over the last year, things just got out of hand, completely. I've taken everything on the floor out of the room, several times, with the intention of going through it all and making nice, but inevitably time would run short during the day and I would have to shove all the stuff back and close the door because company was coming.

I watch a lot of HGTV while I work. I glance up at the "before," work while listening as the crew faces the inevitable road block that threatens every project, and then look up again to see the tidy, shiny "after" at the end of the show. Anyway, I'm now envisioning  my very own before and after and I figured this time, if I make it public, I just might get it done. Yeah, I know that hasn't helped before but that's what a new beginning is all about isn't it?

On a deeper level of thought, about admonishing myself...yeah, I know, I almost never do that...for making yet another new beginning, an epiphany..."why not another new beginning?" Shall I continue patterns that don’t satisfy just to avoid the "shame" of yet another new beginning? It's like a female friend I had years ago with a lot of facial fuzz. She wanted to get rid of it but didn't want it to look as though she had shaved. I asked, quite innocently, if she preferred it looked as though she hadn't. If you stop to think about it, a life without frequent new beginnings and changes can look very hairy.

These new thoughts come courteousy of some changes I’ve made recently and a sincere wish to feel good. Not better. Better indicates an incremental struggle is pending. No! Good is what I want to feel. I cannot control what's going on around me, I need to grasp that. I actually believe that if I sit quietly and let go of all my thoughts for an hour I should be rewarded by the Universe by avoiding a painful, bloody toe stub as I leave the room immediately after. Whether or not the stub was my unconscious intention is a discussion for another time, but BAM! all that hard-earned peace, shot to hell by taking one step!

But that isn't it. It’s about accepting what is and moving on. There was a film out a few years back with Alec Baldwin playing an actor making a movie in a small village in New England. He was a bit of a hound and after a boozy, sex filled romp with a townie, he crashes the car they were riding in. Luckliy they’re both fine and as he emerges from the car and rights himself, he looks up, brushes off and says.... “Well, That happened!” And then he’s off to the next thing.

Clearly that’s an extreme example, but, what if I stubbed my toe, felt the pain and moved on instead of taking it as a sign from the Universe that I’m not meant to be at peace!

Himself and I had great “speaks” this A.M. over vittles. I’ll skip the gooey, self-serving “he's my best friend” rhetoric and just say that I’m really, really, really hooked up here. Anyway, we were discussing art. What a surprise! Since I’m painting upstairs, still...can’t seem to leave the AC and the flat screen..the day’s work is staring us in the face as we relax before sleeping. The paintings, happily and sometimes unhappily, are the subject of much discussion. Most of it is himself telling me what I should or shouldn't be doing to the work we’re looking at, but this morning, for reasons I can't define, my defense reflex was apparently asleep at the wheel because instead of shooting back some snotty response, I listened to what he was saying. He wound up an insightful and interesting observation about my work with this phrase...You need to define your palate and define your point of view.

U-freakin-reaka! There is was! Startlingly simple! Direct and glaringly, embarrassingly obvious! I've never really heard what he was saying before. It's amazing what we can hear when we actually listen and are ready for a shift in perception. 

So I'm going to define my palate....not forever and not for every painting and I can change it whenever I want...and define my point of view...which I can also change whenever I choose. As of now I'm planning a series of eight canvasses, not sure if the sizes will be uniform or varied, of groups of people painted loosely from a palate consisting of raw umber, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow and white. Simple and direct. Again, we'll see but this feels very exciting to to me.

Enjoy the rest of the day.


  1. there's a louffa out there with your name all over it.

  2. Wishing you the best of luck with these new changes you're going for! The trick is not to feel like a loser and just go back to old habits if you fall off the wagon once in a while - pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again - as the song goes:-) Also defining your palate and point of view is a great place to start! Will look forward to the new work.

  3. Mess shmess...I want to see the rest of that gorgeous looking painting of the gal with the white hat. Oh, and I don't feel quite so bad about my piled up studio...ha!

  4. Thanks for his particular blog post and good luck to you. I'll check back in.

  5. Suzanne, thank you for this post. I feel I'm in some bizarre-o world where each time I check in on your blog you have written something that is exactly what is happening in my head. I just Googled limited palettes yesterday in an attempt to push myself in my colour mixing and also reduce the number of paint tubes I am staring at vacantly! I am new to oils and I have lots to learn- actually I have more than lots to learn! I'll be checking back to see where this new focus takes you.

  6. You can do eet! Just like in walking you can only take one step at a time, so does going thru all your stuff only take one box at a time. And, you can set the pace that's comfortable for you.

    Now, as for a limited palette, I'm all for it. I only use 4 to 5 colors (including white) on every painting. I like the palette you've chosen and can't wait to see the resulting canvases.

    Happy Creating!


  7. Alrighty fingers are itching to get in there and help you with that reorganization! Imagine the treasures, some forgotten, that you will find!! LOLOL Then again, I had to laugh with your thoughts. They simply echo my own. Your mom sounds like my mom, and God forbid, a bit like things I've said to my daughters (though I don't comment on weigh issues...much). Who am I to talk about weight???? You sound like you have many interests, much like I do. That said, you are excellent at at least one of them that I am aware of. I still haven't landed with expertise on anything. Sigh...Loved the post though and looking forward to seeing your series!

  8. Loved this post!! i feel your pain, for real! But I know you can do it Suzanne, if anyone can YOU can :) I think your studio looks artfully used.

    And I secretly think the universe is out to get me when I stub my toe too :)

  9. oh suzanne - thank you so much for this! clutter & cleaning have always been my downfall(s!) as well! i aim for comfortable but neat, usable but organized. and only recently (in 50+ years!) have gotten there. the reason for the change: my older son moved out, and with that i suddenly reclaimed me & my life. it took 6 months (every room & closet & shelf looked like your green room!), but it's really been wonderful - a redefining of who i am at this present moment. which i think is where you're exploring now - so exciting!

    re limited palette - i try to limit it to 5 plus white, and choose the 5 depending on the needs of the pic. i love the idea of doing a predetermined number of colors first, tho - but haven't been brave enough to try it! (a zorn-type palette appeals to me, w/ the addition of a blue...) i can't wait to see what you do with your new palette! oh - and - your cherries are lovely!!

  10. I connect with what you are saying. I can't count on how many times of I started a new beginning! Thankfully, those beginnings continue. I like to define it as a growing stage. :-) So I lift a virtual glass and "here's to you and your new start!"

    As to your color palette I also think that is a good idea. In my very limited experience I find that I learn more about each color and what it can do for a painting. So in all your new experiences - good luck!!!

  11. Hi Suzanne,
    Whoa! I hadn't checked in with you for a while. I've been preoccupied with my own new beginning. LOL. Hey, as long as you have a place to paint that's obviously working for you and a direction to go in, I think you've got a handle on what's important.
    I've got to tackle my basement soon -- I'll be thinking of you. LOL.
    P.S. L-o-v-e that drawing of Dean!

  12. that pallette sounds interesting Suzanne. Got to check out how that comes out. No cheating now.
    The room? Rooms? I can't say too much about that as my eyes are closed as I look over my studio. I have a cousin in Dubois who has a wife who says "You know someone could do something good for you". I have no idea what she is talking about. I'm going to open my eyes now and go on to the next blog

  13. Can't believe I'm just getting to your blog - a few weeks of travel/Open Studios/crazy personal stuff - great excuses, right?

    But Suzanne. I know we've shared our 'separated at birth' stories before - but *gulp* THIS very week my family had the 'talk' with me about my clutter... in every, single room, of my old canvases, new canvases, half done canvases, acrylic paints and brushes, oil paints and brushes, mediums, still life subjects, my good paintings, my crap paintings, my friends' paintings - the piles of frames, the stacks of boxes, tables, lights, how we can't even WALK through the house - OMG - we are living parallel lives! Truly, I think my marriage almost broke up years ago due to my lack of organizational skills - I just. don't. see. the. clutter.... till I'm looking for something, that I know I didn't throw out - and I can never find anything!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. And I'm SO excited to see what you do with your current direction of figures - you are so great. I don't care that you can't move in your studio (p.s. I ALSO have a 1,200 sq. ft studio....)

  14. A new beginning...hold me I'm frightened. Thank you so much for all of these supportive and insightful comments!! I've been struggling since I posted this. It's amazing how quickly the excitement of a new beginning turns to stark terror! I've been keeping my promise to some degree but am finding myself to be quite uncooperative and downright difficult. Surprise! Anyway, when my resolve goes limp I have only to open up to these incredibly kind words and to get the kick in the ass I need to continue. As I explained in my thank yous for the last 4 posts, I'll be giving group hug/thank yous until I at least post one new beginning painting and post photos to show off my new organized life and studio...ARRRRGH! Back to work and thank you a million times over.

  15. Oh gosh...I feel your pain! It took me moving into a new house to finally purge myself of a life time of junk and start over. It is so liberating to let go! However, old habits die hard and I fight the Creeping Possessions constantly. I know it sounds cliche, but your outer world reflects your inner world. That reminds me of a quote I read in a Kurt Vonnegut prologue. He was commenting on the constant clutter his brother had around him. His brother pointed to his head and said "You should see it in here!" LOL! So true!

  16. Love this post. Can so identify.
    I'm still holding out hope of finding that comaraderie and shared life, and the feel good part! Life's all about new beginnings.
    ok, off to sort out my studio now....

  17. This post is too too great in too too many ways. Awesomely philosophical, and yet tangible too. I'm kind of dazedly speechless.
    Is the "palate/palette" metaphor deliberate?
    My studio looks like something from a hoarders reality TV show too. :) And lots of plowed-over and nearly-forgotten creative dreams buried in mine, too.
    Now where do you have those Poubles stashed amongst all that stuff?

  18. You have spilled your words out onto the floor for us all to hear and that is so brave of you.
    I want a new beginning too and goals..... I want to try,,,, like you

  19. Man, and I thought I saved a lot of stuff!

    Kidding Suzanne....kind of!

    You'll get your workspace where you want it to be in time and with patience. I can't wait to see the "after shots"!

    Glad to hear you found some clarity along the way too!


  20. My mom was/is a "clean" freak too :). Someone once said though that if a person's house is "neat" then there isn't much "living" that occurs in it. And that is so true, so it just means you know how to "live" in your space not just exist in it.

  21. Suzanne, maybe you should consider a career in short story writing, or be a columnist, or some such thing, (on THE SIDE, of course) (NOT enough to distract from your painting) But, your post was so great, as many of them are, and so candid, and heartfelt. You've really got somethin', sister ! Incredible, that's all I can say...

  22. Suzanne, I keep checking in with your blog to see how you are ding and today I found this old post, which I thought relates to what you are dealing with now...another new beginning. Keep fighting Suzanne, don't give up.


Your visits to my blog and the comments you leave here are an integral part of my creative process. They are helpful, supportive and well, let's face it, they feel really good! If I don't thank you personally, please allow me to thank you in advance for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts, they mean so much!