Thursday, February 9, 2012

BLUE LEAVES 1 in progress

12x12" oil on linen  in progress

I'm still here! It feels like it's been awhile. I've been working on commissions and not being obsessed with finishing "Laura".

I'm so grateful for the wonderful comments I've gotten on that painting, I can't thank everyone enough. It's hard not to feel like  a real artist reading comments like that, but I'm sure I'll manage somehow. Kidding.

Working on a painting that opens up the possibility of a change in direction brings up so much stuff. Realizing how much of my self-concept is tied up into being an artist isn't at all a comfortable feeling. Suddenly painting hands are beyond the scope of my ability, hair begins to get muddy, matted and heavy and it becomes close to impossible to create the right perspective on those damn containers. All imagined, all silly but if I don't acknowledge the poop it builds up and before you know it I'm in the middle of a poop storm— so I took a break and played amongst the leaves.

It's all so ridiculous. Why can't I be a hard working successful artist? What do I think is going to happen if I paint with some consistency and enjoy compliments, attention and sales? Sure there's the "other shoe" problem. You know what I mean. Things are going well and you begin to get uncomfortable waiting for the sound of that other shoe hitting the floor but that's not it.

I'm reading an incredible book right now entitled "Power vs Force, The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior," by David R. Hawkins. The basic premise is that realized human power has it all over force. And by power the author isn't talking about bullying, oppression or might. He's talking about kindness, tolerance and joy. The kind of power that made it possible for Gandi to defeat the British Empire.

One calibrates on the map of human consciousness (20 being the base and 1000 the highest) according to what one feels.  For example, exceedingly violent, hate-filled folks calibrate at 20, Mother Theresa calibrated at 700 plus. And the gist is that you attract what you project. I know what you're thinking but I assure you, no cosmic muffinery here, we're talkin' scientific fact! It's a fascinating read for both the die hard, show me the facts realists (Tim) and your basic cosmic muffin (moi).

The whole book resonated but this passage in particular is perfect for my ramblings above:

"All limited self-definitions create fear because they create vulnerability. Our perceptions are essentially distorted by our own self-definition, which in turn is qualified by identifying with our limitations. Error occurs when we cling to the belief that I am "that." Truth is unveiled when we see that one has "that" or does "that, instead of is that."

Total growth spurt!! So...conceptualize, paint and reap the benefits of it with joy. It's not who I am. It's what I do!

I do go on don't I? Anyway, the leaves are relaxing for me like the folds and I think going back to "Laura" with a clear head and new eyes will be beneficial. We have a section of our backyard that is comprised of woods with lots of ground cover. This past summer I took the camera out and snapped some really attractive sections. I have a triptych in mind but I'm going take my time and enjoy this one.

We'll see. Thanks so much for stopping by!


  1. Hi Suzanne. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for your positive "Wow"! :) :) It does make one want to push on. I enjoyed reading the above and can totally relate. When i think of "Me, the artist" things go downhill fast. i put to much pressure on myself then. And your quaote, "the gist is that you attract what you project' is true. My 18 year old daughter said i always get yellow lights when driving because i project it. She's so cute. But i love your "Laura" the "Blue Leaves" and when i saw "Edna" I went "Wow". Awesome work. Just fabulous.

  2. Great post, Suzanne! I'll have to read it again tonight. Reminds me of Marianne Williamson: "Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves,who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous? Actually,who are you not to be?"
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Well Suz...I have one question. Are we related?

    And I have to say...this is beautiful, especially to a leaf lover like moi. Greens, blues, violets are my favorite blends of color and you put them together gorgeously!

  4. Good Morning Suzanne!.... A marvelous..."Rhapsody in Blue"! You make Gershwin blush with this little gem!

    I enjoyed your commentary... almost as much as the painting itself. Both direct one to realize... and accept I hope... that artists are activists... not content to be led... or to follow the plow. Saying one is an artist is easy... and a lot of "artists" these days violate the word.

    "Being"... an artist is a path... a choice Suzanne. The favourite Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken"... speaks of "the road less travelled by... and about it making all the difference." Having enjoyed that poem all of my life... and having read it many... many times...I have come to "see"... and understand that perhaps... "The Road"... chose "Me"! I wonder if that's not true for us all!

    I am reading a wonderfully uplifting and powerful book myself these days... for the same reasons that you mention. It is a book entitled..."Happiness Is a Choice" by Barry Neil Kaufman. The title itself speaks powerfully... and on the same wave length as your comments. One excerpt at the beginning underscores not only the title... but "the meat" of your post as well:

    "The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see."

    According to generally social meaning and usage... "blue" should denote sadness and melancholy. But in viewing your wonderful painting Suz this morning... and in always finding awe and power in looking skyward... "Blue can become something very different! It makes me happy... A choice!

    Good Painting!... we always wait for your easel revelations!
    Warmest regards,

  5. I love the serenity of the blues, violets and cool greens in this one - you're bringing them out slowly and beautifully. I liked your talk about the book. I, too, am reading a wonderful book called Buddha's Brain - enough science and fact for anyone about how we can reprogram our brains (which still hang on to those aspects that helped us survive the stone ages but actually do us harm today). Although it takes work, we can create new synapses working together for good feelings and peace instead of bad feelings and anxiety. A good read :)

  6. You're leaves are so restful and inviting. Love the color palette.

    Are you always this tough on yourself?

  7. Suzanne. Heaven! Beautiful, and yes - "restful" as someone commented. A gem. As for the other stuff you wrote: it appears to be a common affliction. But I wanna whack you on the side of the head! (with I wish you could see your work through my eyes. Oh, you're a *real* artist. Accomplished. Wonderful. And I don't know how "Laura" skipped by me but going to leave a comment now.

  8. Suz, this work is so serene and calming!! It has a wonderful feel to the whole piece and terrific texture and light!! It's the kind of painting you just want to stare at and get lost in the details.

    I'm buying the book, right up my alley!! I get on these Oprah kicks and just can't get enough of those kinds of books. They truly do open up our eyes and make us think and see things a little differently! I now make a law of attraction list for important decisions/points in my life. I have to say that it is amazing how well it works!! The passage you shared is so true and such a great reminder to ponder upon. I heard a really great insight the other day--any criticism/ negativity that comes our way has absolutely no value--just someone's opinion--sometimes our own opinion of ourselves. It's what we do with this information that gives it any merit. We are the only person that gives it power or credibility.--I thought that was so profound, why is we dwell on the negative stuff sometimes? We should just get out of our heads, get over ourselves and just "do"!!

  9. really lay it out there :) I think we all torture ourselves, otherwise we'd be insufferable egotists! And I've known quite a few of those in the art world.

    I LOVE the painting! Are you painting the 'blues'?


  10. Fabulous blues and lavenders in this leaves. You tackle the difficult subjects head on and succeed.

    We all second guess ourselves. Geez, we should all be in a group support session :) I really wish I knew why creative people do this. Maybe we're a little surprised too when our creativity takes on a tangible form and actually matches what's in our heads!

    A glass of wine and the scent of some oil paints will move the feeling on its way soon enough!

  11. Wow, this painting is absolutely gorgeous! I LOVE the colors and it's so soothing to look at :)

  12. The color and light on these leaves are really beautiful, Suzanne!! This is a wonderful post..I can't believe these leaves are relaxing to you!! You are amazing!!! I LOVE THIS ONE!!!

  13. I'm loving this and can't wait to see it finished. I can already imagine what a great triptych is on it's way.
    Enjoyed you very thought provoking post to.

  14. I was just about to type the words 'thought provoking' when I noticed that John had beaten me to it! So, clearly I don't need to say that at all. But I am totally getting where you are coming from. It sounds like Tim is very much like Paul - Black and white, whereas you are more like me - Colourful!
    Anyway, all that aside, I already love your leaves. It is always a good thing to take a break from one thing and do something else from time to time. The difference between us? Well, I usually sketch a mouse or something, whereas you just throw together another masterpiece! :0)

  15. Your post hits close to home... just recently having gone through self-deprecating patch myself. Thank you for your honesty and the wonderful articulation of your thoughts.

    Lovely leaves... I'm glad they are calming you and centering you... it's all part of the ebb and flow I guess.


  16. The beautiful leaves look like they would have taken forever to paint. They are so detailed, yet soft and restful.
    Your words say so much,,,, so much thought.
    I only know this- whatever you paint is a masterpiece.
    Sometimes looking in another direction for awhile, and then listening for rhythm that was in your heart when you began- can be an answer. You always find your way, and we are so glad.

  17. Suz, your leaf painting is reminiscent of a beautiful, peaceful, artistic, puzzle being worked out on canvas before our eyes. What a treat! It is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing it.


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!