Category Archives: Building Community

Too Much Travel

At some point in 2018 I signed up for Google Tracker. I don’t remember doing this, but I’m sure it was me. Then I get an e-mail telling me where I have been in the past month. My deep weariness (and also satisfaction and joy), that I couldn’t fully understand, became obvious with my alert from Google Tracker! Yes, my life has been full with a little too much travel!

Expanding my reach and deepening meaningful connections was a 2018 goal.

To reach the goal, I have traveled too much…let’s look at just one month.

In November I lived in and visited: Langlois, OR, Arcata, CA, Los Angeles Down Town Area (Broad Museum, LA Zoo, and LAX), Pasadena, CA, Lincoln City, OR, San Fransisco (airport only), New Jersey (airport, Trenton, Princeton, and my sister and parents house), New York (Museum of Natural History, Uptown, Downtown, and Brooklyn). I also travel to Coos Bay, OR, Bandon, OR, and Port Orford OR on a regular basis for meetings and errands—this is the price I pay to live in a remote area. Services are all more than 15 miles away.

And… drum roll…

I also moved! For nearly two years I lived in a temporary housing situation (moved 5 times) while my husband and I built a small house on a small lot on a lake in Oregon. So if you have wondered if I have made any new art or started writing my next book… you might think no never! Not possible!

My Year of Separation is Suzanne’s second book, published in 2018.

Even with moving and too much travel, I have been doing the work.

As much and as little as possible, while still getting much needed rest.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, No Words, Flashe paint and other media on wood cradled panel, 10 x 10 inches, $300

As an entrepreneur and a creative worker I can never stop working. If I do, the income dries up instantly. I will say though, I would like to either not move, or travel less or both next year. Or not, because…there are already 5 trips on the books!

Travel = Fun + Adventure + Growth.

Travel also equals = Art and Book Sales plus Art Services for my business are all online!

Therefore, if you are interested in my work, then please by all means visit my art or books online and make a purchase. I can ship work immediately following the New Year! Not this week, not in time for Christmas…later!

Why later?

Travel! Of course! I will be in Montana with my immediate family (husband plus 2 adult boy children) through the holidays!

Enjoy the season and your family! And go ahead and keep me busy after the holidays with shipping art and books.

Also coming in 2019. Art services by Suzanne. If your creative journey is stuck in a rut, you can hire me for one-on-one video conferencing art practice services. More details to come! I honestly, cannot wait to help and be of service to artists around the globe!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Lost Voice, Flashe paint and other media on wood cradled panel, 10 x 10 inches, $300

SketchKon 2018 Sketchbook

A video of my travel journal and illustrated notes from SketchKon 2018—An unconventional convention with artists and teachers from Sketchbook Skool.

© Suzanne Gibbs Art, SketchKon 2018 Sketchbook Page, Yellow T-shirt Boy + Travel Notes

Towards the beginning there are 2 pages that were created before the trip in preparation for the presentation I gave during the conference.

Video created and produced by Suzanne of Suzanne Gibbs Art ©2018. Follow Suzanne on YouTube here.

©2018 Suzanne Gibbs Art, SketchKon 2018 Illustrated Notes Sketchbook Page, Panel discussion on travel sketchbooks.

Crafting a Life, Part 2

Edited. Originally published on May 21, 2012.

These things are true about me, crafting my life.

I made art as a baby, crafted as a child, and studied art as a young adult. As a yound adult I made my living in graphic design work. Throughout my life I studied art again, and then again and again—always a student. My favorite form of communication is visually and in writing. Crafting and creating a life is beautiful and artful living matters.

My childhood can be measured in creative phases: I have painted, drawn, cross-stitched, quilted, sewed, puppet crafted, made art with yarn and fabric, card crafted, knitted, clay + ceramic building, learned batik, made macramé, put together plastic model airplanes, used fire to fuse encaustic, installed art installations, and authored books. Constantly creating with my hands and heart. My mind got involved later when I studied to receive my MFA.

An Original Suzanne Utaski (my maiden name), created in ceramics class 8th grade. Inspired by Goodnight Moon.

In recent weeks I have been consumed with the idea of helping artists to more fully express their visual voice. To calibrate a newly crafted way of life, I believe we need the voices of all kinds of people to mingle, listen, and share.

I feel as though I am uniquely qualified to do this work. As I mentioned, I started expressing my creative voice as a child. In addition to arts and crafts, I regularly created costumes and dressed up. I did performances with friends, for friends, with family and for family. My life as a child was full, provocative, and exciting. Growing up in Mexico and Brazil, I absorbed cultural differences at a very young age. Learning to love all kinds of people. Growing up without TV or the Internet allowed my imagination and utopian vision of our world to flourish.

Crafting or making things was a typical part of my play and my day in my house.

I did not know that I was very lucky to grow up this way. What I’d like to do now is help others to craft a life worth sharing. If you are reading this, implore you to follow your curiosity, and make your ideas sharable (not only on the internet).

The internet is a gift and a hindrance.

We’ve begun to loose the joy of personal expression as we swish our fingers across screens. Vicariously living through other people’s content, we loose sight of our own. I know I am guilty of social media surfing! Children as young as 9 months can be seen “playing” on their parents or their own iPhone’s or iPad’s. I fear loosing touch with their own voice, before it even has a chance to develop.

The inherent joy in crafting a life well lived is beautiful.

Making items by hand: whether we call it crafting, craftivism, studio crafting, making, creating, art, drawing, painting or whatever—the innate desire to communicate and create connection—is of huge value to humanity. Our voices matter. Communication through objects we make to share is worthy and worthwhile.

Fully realizing your voice and then learning how to best express that story is priceless.

I remember going into New York City with my mother as a teenager in 1979. We visited a museum show about American Quilts. Many of the the quilts on display in the exhibition were made by the Amish. Included also was an exploration of the tradition of quilting in America. The quilts were beautiful, the show had a historical framework that enhanced the story of the quilts and all of them were hung like paintings on the walls of the museum. At this show I could feel the passion. Art creation requires the use of the makers’ hand, heart, and voice.

I think this exhibit was possibly the beginning of my love affair with art. More specifically art made by women. The quilts represented art that was both beautiful and practical.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, 100 Postcard Series, #9, Mixed Media, varied sizes.

I enjoyed the quilt show so much that I spent the next year designing and making my first quilt. Entirely by hand with help from my mother.

 I crafted the quilt, for use in my own life.

Later, I took the quilt to college with me. Four years after that, I took the quilt across the country from Pittsburgh to California for my first job and apartment.

My quilt was stolen from me.

One night while enjoying a date in San Francisco my boyfriends’ car got broken into and the quilt was gone when we returned. I hoped the person that took my quilt needed the item for warmth. Instead of anger, I held the image of the thief needing the warmth of a crafted object.

To me, objects made by hand hold more value than those purchased in big box stores.

The objects made by hand can be anything: quilts, paintings, drawings, or books. What matters most is the person who made the work and that they are realizing and sharing their voice.

“Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.” (Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy)

To me, art is craft and craft is art. My head, heart, and hands have make all the work I have ever created. I have a lifetime of experience in expressive creation.

I now have the desire to understand, share, and cultivate not only my voice but that of other artists as well.

There are those who persist in the separation of Art and Craft, and they should because it helps both sides to stretch and grow as they argue the hierarchy in arbitrarily created constructs. However, I am happy to be the middle person and persist in working and believing in both camps while helping artists to realize the importance of their own voice in whatever medium they choose.

 

Crafting a life, Part 1 can be found in this previous blog.

Art Mastermind Workshop

In early October 2018, I traveled to Golden Colorado to go to an Art Mastermind Workshop.

The reason for the trip was to gain clarity on the future of my work as an artist. The focus of the art mastermind workshop was primarily on business practices artists can use to sell more art. A lucky few walked away with 6 month master-plans for their business. This did not happen for me. Something bigger happened.

Pluses from the art mastermind sessions.

  1. A room full of motivated artists learning from one another and sharing business success practices.
  2. Alyson B. Stanfield and Cynthia Morris—2 dynamic coaches that really want the best for their clients.
  3. Learning how much I had to share with others + how passionate I am about the success of other artists’ careers.
  4. The evening events were fun! See picture below from a boutique shopping party.

© Suzanne Gibbs trying on a pink viking knit hat.

Minuses from the overall experience.

  1. Two days of art mastermind workshop material felt really short for the amount of travel time I took to be there (2 flights plus 2, 4-hour car rides). I might have liked another 1/2 day morning session.
  2. I felt uncomfortable emotions while listening to other artists. Particularly when hearing how other artists sabotage themselves.
  3. My workshop takeaway came to me a few days after the event.

As I was preparing for the art workshop my intent was to listen, observe, and gather as much information from as many people as possible. Thinking I’d be the silent one, with little to add to the discussion, I was wrong.

The art mastermind workshop was a magic room. I learned how passionate I am about helping others to succeed in their art practices and business.

©2018 Suzanne Gibbs, notebooks of daily writing from January – October 2018.

I would have thought that my passion would be obvious to myself after 30+ years of teaching art to people of all ages. Instead, I had to learn this through how stuck I felt attempting to focus on things I thought I was supposed to do. Things like approaching galleries and other venues to show my work, or planning open studios or art and craft festival participation in 2019. Ugh, no! Sure, I want to show and share my work. I am generous! I do not make my work for my eyes alone. But I have never ever been excited about hustling to get my work in public. Not ever! I have had shows, oh yes! The best ones were when I was approached to show my work, not when I did the approaching.

I am getting off track here.

I enthusiastically endorse the Art Mastermind Workshop retreats with Alyson. You may walk away with a new 6 month focus, or like me, you may walk away with a new business plan all together. Either way, do the work and you will see results when you put yourself in a room to study art business practices with 20+ motivated and ambitious artists.

Thank you Alyson B. Stanfield!

Sketchbook On Tour

The sketchbookDorky Doodle Darlings ^prepare to Visit NYC, that I made for The Sketchbook Project is on tour, again! This time in Atlanta, GA.

Dorky Doodle Darlings ^prepare to Visit NYC is an illustrated Journal by Suzanne Gibbs. This little book of illustrations with a silly story about doodle darlings that are going to NYC but don’t yet realize they will be living in in NYC! Now they go to visit Atlanta, GA—this part wasn’t even IN the story!!!!

To find out more look here.

Sketchbook of Dorky Doodle Darlings

To see the book in digital format click here.

If you live in or near Atlanta big news! My sketchbook Dorky Doodle Darlings is on tour and stopping in Atlanta this weekend. September 21-23, 2018. Bonus! Read below!

Take a picture for me—of you with my Sketchbook—and I will send you 3 free copies of the printed version of my sketchbook! Thank you!

Link to the event here.

Going Beyond Painting

Going beyond painting is about collaboration, not just me alone making art.

Although, this is how I work, alone-making art.

I am envisioning a way to collaborate. I plan to offer my art—drawn and made especially for YOU—on postcards! This is how it will work:

  1. You send me a picture or pictures, and your postal address, plus a small fee of $10 (USA).
  2. I draw and paint for you.
  3. I mail you your art.
  4. Your original art postcard is yours to keep.

That’s it! A 4 step process that gets a lot of my work into the hands of—HOPEFULLY—a lot of people like you.

Here is a link to the page to get your art.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Backbend. Art available on a throw pillow via Zazzle.com. The inspiration for this image started out as a picture in a yoga magazine.

Going beyond painting means my work belongs in the hands of others—your hands, through the mail system.

Let’s call these mini-commissions. Send me your image—I make you art.

The LOW price of $10 is for the first 100 cards I ship.

You can, if you wish, do a few extra things:

  1. Post an image of yourself with your new art on Social Media and tag me at Suzanne Gibbs or Suzanne Gibbs Art.
  2. Tell a friend where you got your new art.
  3. Hire me to make more art for you, because art in multiples look amazing!!!

Going beyond painting means that I create an experience that goes beyond painting—a collaboration between us and hopefully a happy YOU.

Once again, Here is a link to the page to get your art. Thank you.

Fun Friday Eye Candy

Would you like to flood your social media feeds with eye catching art? With Fun Friday Eye Candy you can do just that!

 

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, 222 Faces Series, Watermelon Face, watercolor on Italian paper, 5 x 5 inches, $50

As a service to artists whom I admire and as a service to my loyal readers today I brig you, drum roll please…

A list of wonderful Instagram links you can browse and follow to see amazing art online in your Instagram feed. Enjoy!

(…and no, making this list was NOT as hard as picking up that tiny watermelon!)

To access these links, click on each link to visit galleries of art. These links are in no particular order, and are NOT all the same kind of art, so what you’ll get is a treasure hunt! Happy viewing and Happy Friday!

@brookeharker

@lynngoldstein_art

@doraficherart

@pamelalordiart

@karen_phillips_art

@margaretdukeman

@melfergieart

@bybeasley

@joanmarieart

@cydrust

@marciruleart

@romadonovan

@janineibbotson

 

And not to be left out… here are my Instagram Fun Friday Eye Candy feeds:

@sillygirlfactory — a little silly

@suzannegibbsart — a little more serious

 

 

Dart Tossing

I believe in giving things a try. Dart tossing means that I have been operating under a personal motto: ”Give stuff a try, toss a dart, you never know what will work without trying.” When I have a new idea, or something interesting  repeatedly calls for my attention, I will usually pick up the idea and give it a go. I liken my style of creating to tossing darts, I have needed to toss many to hit the ever elusive sweet spot.

Dart tossing is no longer working for me.

To perfect my craft and my voice though art, I’ll need to stop picking up every fun and interesting idea and begin to work towards one direction, at least for a little while. From May—October of this year I plan to do one body of work with one singular focus! No more darts! Hard work ahead!

You heard it here first!

To test the waters of Silly Girl Factory vs Fine Art by Suzanne Gibbs, I have opened a new and second Instagram account that will focus on my Fine Art. The plan is to make work that matters, work with my heart and soul poured into it. Two Instagram accounts means I am having an art identity crisis in public on social media.

What kind of work can you expect from my fine art focus?

Below are images of work from 2014 from a Solo Show (the work is currently hanging in my living room, and can still be purchased) I had shortly after my MFA in 2014. I called the show Blemish, finding beauty and peace in upset and discomfort, this link takes you to a blog post about the work.

The work from my Blemish show included abstract works made in layers. The idea for this body of work was to have my viewers question what I covered up vs what I left visible. I made the work using acrylic, oil paint and encaustic. In my current studio I cannot use encaustic , and I no longer own a full set of oil paint, but I can continue to make work.

My new body of work will be drawing and painting abstractions from the abstractions I see in the world. Simply complex, sometimes repetitive. I cannot fully visualize the work yet, as I begin to put pen to paper or paint to wood I will allow my intuition to be my guide. I am excited to share this journey with you, and I hope that I have (actually I KNOW that I have) a team of supporters that will keep me on my path for the next 6 months.

Please nudge me away from my days of dart tossing!

Call me, email me, scream at me through social media… any way you can get my attention, please do! I welcome the support and the nudge to focus! In the past, I have always been a go it alone type of person. I now realize that I need a team, support, and a community to build this thing called an art career. Dear reader, I count you as a part of this team and community! Love my followers!


In the meantime, I am finishing up a project for Art-O-Mat! An example of a possible location can be found on this blog post (click on link). This Art-O-Mat project is one example of dart tossing! I sent in my work for review and I was accepted. I am drawing and painting 100 small works of art that will be sold through re-purposed cigarette vending machines! Below are images of work in progress, to see more work in progress join my Silly Girl Factory Instagram here.

That’s all I have for you today. The adventure called life continues. I continue to create and share the journey, even as I am floundering (a little) and re-evaluating (a lot). To support the work I do, buy a book, some art, or share this post with a friend. Thank you!

Passionate

Do you ever think about your passions? I do.

I mean, do you really hone in and decide what is most important to you? It seems, since we have just this one life, that this question of passion is worth pondering. The more I ponder it, the more that I realize that:

All my work is about passion. The search for meaning. Yep, it’s true! Always.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Line and Dot. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches, $75

For me, I find passion even as I draw line after line after line after line, because my mind is quieting, living in the moment, yet still thinking…

I am passionate about these things:

  • Communication—visually and through stories.
  • Painting, drawing, collage, and writing.
  • Expanding community through sharing my art and art experiences.
  • Good health. Mind. Body. Spirit. (Yoga helps this mix.)
  • Reading. Reading. And more, reading.

I am also passionate about being generous.

To extend my generosity to you, this year for my birthday, which is tomorrow on February 22, I am doing a birthday in reverse sale. I am giving my readers a gift of 20% off on my original art in my ETSY shop. A 2 day flash birthday sale of 20% OFF. The funny thing is… I wanted to give you 22% off—to match my birthday date—but ETSY did not allow for that silly number, so I settled on 20% off. Sure, it’s enough, right? I hope so! It is my gift to you!

Currently my shop has 24 items for sale. All original art. No prints.

I know, I know… it is a WILD IDEA to give you the birthday gift! But that’s me! Silly and passionate too! Passionate about getting my work to you! I ship fast, same day usually!

Clicking on any image will send you to the Silly Girl ETSY shop, so easy!

Then there is more art… In a Perfect Life, this image would not have bullet holes in the diamond sign post. But we all know, life is made up of good and bad. The good and the bad when woven together is what creates perfection, the Perfect Life. To find joy, we only need to focus on the moment. For example, that a huge fresh lemon can exist on the same painting as a bullet hole. How cool is that! With this image you can imagine the possibility of walking the path of passion. There are blue shoes on the painting to help you imagine a Perfect Life.

OK, you asked… no you didn’t but here you go, one more example of the art that is available on the flash 2 day only Birthday Sale. Remember there are 24 pieces in this series! Actually there was 25, one sold recently.

Please, allow me to tell you a little about this painting. Wouldn’t you love a pair of purple boots! I would! That’s why I painted them. Yep! Boots remind me of winter storms. Let’s send this winter into oblivion! Right?!?! Why not!

Today as I write this blog post there is wind, rain, and hail ripping their way through the sky and seeping into the cracks below the doors and rattling the windows. Making for a very exciting studio experience because there is so much energy in the air!

Energy is the bright half of life!


Speaking of energy!

Are you curious about the release of my next book? Ha ha, how is that for a switcheroo of going from art to books? Ha ha. You do know I write books as well as make art, right?

My second book, My Year of Separation is hitting the press this month! The first shipment is already on it’s way to my factory here!

I can’t wait to start shipping orders!

My Year of Separation will sell for $15 plus shipping. However, pre-orders from now until February 28, 2018 are $12 each, plus shipping. What a deal! An extension of the Birthday deal, 20% off! Preferred Method: Simply go to my Factory Store and hit Buy Me, this will take you to a PayPal payment page. If you like personalized service, you may email me before February 28, 2018 and I will send you an invoice. These will be signed editions.

Clicking on the image brings you to the Factory Store as well, easy peasy.


Oh my gosh! This has been a fun post to write and send! If you do not need art right now, or a book, that’s ok! As a birthday gift to me, could you simply share this post with a friend or a few friends who like art and read books! Just use that handy FORWARD button that e-mail allows you to do…

Or, buy art for a friend that needs a little cheer and Touch someone’s life.

 


That’s about enough for now!

Oh, wait! There is a new project on my studio table! The factory is bringing you even more goodness!

I made a sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project for the Brooklyn Art Library. Yep! It has been a busy factory, Silly Girl Factory has been running full tilt! Here is a sample of one page of the sketchbook.

Sketchbook of Dorky Doodle Darlings, single page image.

This little sketchbook is 36 pages and full of silly dorky doodle characters getting ready for their trip out of Silly Girl Factory. A silly nonsense book, made with the love of working spontaneously. The images are raw and real and fun because they are made in an actual sketchbook, not on fancy art paper.

In march copies of this sketchbook will be available for sale here at Silly Girl Factory.

Never a dull moment!

Please e-mail me if you’d like to be placed on the pre-order list for this little gem. I am not even sure of the price yet, or how many I will print. The project is fresh and raw and just now wanting to come to life outside my studio walls.


Today I shared my passion, a Birthday Blast Sale, Separation in book format, and a NEW project! Oh , so much! So much!

With so much news coming from Silly Girl Factory, are you overwhelmed? Do you have a specific question for me? Please use the contact page for your inquiries. I check my in-box daily!

I Goofed, Sorry :(

Hello! Suzanne here—artist, author and instructor at Silly Girl Factory

Image of the door of Silly Girl Factory in Langlois, Oregon

For the past few weeks I have been attempting to figure out how to “revive” and “grow” my email list in order to tell more people about the new stuff I am making and selling. In the process, I accidentally added personal contacts to my current blog subscriber list—you may not have asked to be here!

What I really wanted to do was make a separate list to invite new readers to join my blog list. But I am a bit of a newbie doing the technical work in Mail Chimp… and…

I goofed, and I am really sorry.

Now you are on my blog subscriber list. This is how I initially got your email address: Once upon a time we have met in person, worked together, or I have admired your work via social media links (yes, I am a website snoop). We may or may not remember each other or where we first met! But here I am, in your inbox!

Because of my goof, I decided to just go ahead and tell my whole new list what I am up to!

I love to stay in touch.

I invite you to view the new work going on at Silly Girl Factory via my website. My factory makes art, writes and publishes books, and teaches both yoga and creative art workshops. Silly Girl Factory may be a new brand—however making art, writing books, and teaching are not new to me, and you may know me as Suzanne Gibbs or Suzanne Gibbs Studio.

Suzanne Gibbs and new puppy Zoie.

When I paint or draw my art is idealistic, plural, and impractical. I make the work in a spontaneous and direct manner. I call upon a viewer’s understanding of daily production and repetitive work. The strength lies in my art’s elegance and confidence. I paint reassembled patterns as seen on quotidian objects, spaces, places, and people. Culling ideas and inspiration from my own painting and drawing as well as popular media and a plethora of other inspiration. I flatten the hierarchy of all that I see. Making meaning out of meaninglessness.

Yep, basically I draw and paint while staying silly and having fun doing the serious business of making art.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Alive! LOOK, paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75 x 4.75 inches, $65

When I write, I dive into my own life and I record, represent, distort, fragment, distill, celebrate, challenge and evaluate all that I know—blurring the boundaries between what I think I understand and what I wish to understand. Then sharing what I write via books and blogs.

In a few short weeks I will have my second book, My Year of Separation: A collection of essays examining the impossible task of separation from self, complete and ready for an audience—the first published shipment is already on it’s way to my factory. I am hoping that you might be one of the people interested in this project.

My Year of Separation, book cover, written and illustrated by Suzanne Gibbs is my newest creation.

Now, back to my mistake. I Goofed

  • If you do nothing. You’ll stay on my e-mail list and receive regular notifications.
  • Additionally, you may decide to go over to Instagram or Facebook and follow me I post images of the projects I am working on, almost daily.
  • Lastly, there IS an unsubscribe button, and you are free to use this option at any time, no hard feelings, after all you may not have elected to be here, but you are now due to my mistake!

Except, you might miss out…

I want you to hear about when my second book is being shipped!

Also, I am currently working on my next project—another book— this one is being done almost entirely by hand, I will go digital when I scan the sketchbook, but the creation of this new work is paper, pen, ink, watercolor, crayons,colored pencils, and glue in a sketchbook. I am creating drawings, writing, and doodles—oodles of doodles. I am creating this project for The Sketchbook Project in NYC. The working title of this little gem is:

Dorky Doodle Darlings ^prepare to Visit NYC

I am over the top thrilled to have found a way to have my art on display and available for viewing in NYC! This is a dream come true! Many many years ago (1982) I wanted to attend art school in NYC, but I didn’t. Now my art can go to NYC to live in The Sketchbook Project library, and I can go visit the work andy time I want. Seriously, very hugely exciting!

Let’s do the Happy Dance!

Well, I will happy dance once I finish this next project! And… of course… since Silly Girl Factory IS a factory and in high production mode, there will be other projects announced later this year. You want to know about these, right? Sure you do!

I may or may not have your permission to email you in this way, and because of this I appreciate that it is a privilege to write to you today. Thanks for reading!

I adore my FANS! Hugs and Kisses and Happy Dances!

Happy Valentine’s Day too!

Toodle-loo! Until another time!

Suzanne at Silly Girl Factory