Category Archives: Field Trip

Seeing is Not Looking, Until You Look Again

As I understand it, Irwin is an artist who mainly worked with light and it’s affects on the viewer. He actually wanted to paint a painting without making a mark or a line. He wanted to teach people how to “see.” He was constantly figuring out how to make what he made look like nothing and still something.

Imagine spending a lifetime attempting to figure out how to teach people to look deeply, notice, engage, and see… what would you make to do that? How would you help people to pay attention? What would you want people to pay attention to?

Artists make work to communicate.

A portrait artist wants people to see people (usually). A landscape artist is portraying the world, land…in some form. Irwin wanted to make people curious about what they were seeing.

I was able to see some of Irwin’s work, while studying for my MFA. What I saw defies description, because as soon as I move or blink or breathe what I would see would be different from the moment before. This is sort of like the breath of yoga during poses, no breath is ever the same. No moment in life can ever happen again. The moment exists, until it doesn’t.

Irwin began his career as a painter. He is described as a conceptual artist and yet I do not think he thinks of himself as a conceptual artist at all. What he wants is for people to figure out the figuring out of what it is they are looking at. The art world is full of art-speak and philosophical mambo jumbo—Irwin’s work moves beyond these explanations.

Conditional art, with a capital “C”, is what you might think conditional might mean—does art look and say the same thing in different situations, at different times, with different people’s eyes? Personally I wonder, isn’t all art conditional? For example, a piece of gum that I chewed and my dog peed on and the car ran over and that I then pick up and I place it in a gallery on a wall in a frame—can this be art? Sure. Is this true only if I say it is art? I don’t know. But can saying that a chewed-peed-smashed-piece of gum is art really make it art? What is art? Who says it’s art? I say it is, when I make this thing.

Conditional means there are NO answers only more questions.

Many times Irwin kept working during his career and made nothing of value. Nothing that he felt he could share with an audience. He literally worked so hard to figure out how to change people’s perception that he sometimes “painted” himself into “nothing.” He called it a corner, or devastatingly “the end of his career.” The end never came to pass, he is 92 years old now, because he kept being curious, kept asking questions, kept figuring out ways to show us what seeing can be. At times he was not able to produce work that helped people to see, but he kept at it, and at it.

Ya gotta admire this! The endless curiosity. This desire to help people to see while simultaneously questioning what they are seeing.

Art generally has a frame—you can walk around it, figure it out, there may be a literal frame, or you can study the artists intent. In Irwin’s world, art is all about seeing what you see… and then seeing what you see in a next moment… Each moment changing the last because when you see you learn something, even if you don’t know that you are. I cannot really say more, he is taking his lifetime to say what he needs to say and he is asking us to see, to notice, to pay attention.

We need this more than ever.

This philosophy of noticing, of seeing, of paying close attention—we need this right now as a country and as humanity works our way through COVID-19, global warming, racial injustice issues, human issues, political land mines, and more.

Thanks for reading. Please take the time to pause and see. There might be some extra meanings in what is is I am trying to say here. Think for yourself, make art. Be curious. Make good decisions. Namasté.

Sketch With Me!

Every month I meet with other artists and creative types to draw and sketch together in sketchbooks. Sometimes I do this in a neighboring town, my home town, and even while traveling!

Join me at 2:30 on Monday, May 13 in Langlois Oregon at the Langlois Public Library!

Bring paper, a drawing tool and a desire to sketch for fun in community!

Bonus: I had out coupons for discounts at Sketchbok Skool at these live events!

Sketchbook March 2019

My March 2019 sketchbook is a different size than February’s book. Due to travel, I worked in a smaller sketchbook that I could carry in my bag.

Join me below for a sketchbook page turner!

Represented in these pages are drawings made in several locations. Dinner guests in Eugene, Oregon. Railroad museum in Portland, Oregon. Lunch in Arcata, California. And I even stopped in the Redwood National Forest in Del Norte California to draw elk in the wild.

Interested in more sketchbook pages? Please visit my blog (and use the search feature to find sketchbooks). You may prefer to visit my YouTube Channel. When and if you do, please hit like or subscribe to follow the work as I make it, thanks.

Walking While Musing, Episode 11

Thoughts on art and life while I am out and about.

Enjoy Episode 11 of Walking While Musing by Suzanne. This episode may be my last ever Walking While Musing video blog. I have decided that 2019 is a year for me to get On Track with clearer business ventures. I also plan to learn to do less of trying to “do it all.”

I am very grateful to everyone who viewed these musings, posted comments, and commented privately. Thank you for letting me know that what I was doing mattered.

Luna and Zoie stand, umm sit… at attention waiting to see what I will do next in 2019!

I send you love, peace, and joy as you too focus on what matters most to you in 2019. May you create the creative life you wish to live. Should you desire some support in your creative work, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to help.

Hugs. Enjoy and feel free to comment.

Visiting the Brooklyn Art Library

Late November 2018 I visited my own work in The Brooklyn Art Library.

In this video, I read a few pages from my illustrated journal: Dorky Doodle Darlings ^prepare to Visit NYC.

I encourage anyone visiting NYC to visit The Brooklyn Art Library. This is a place to sit down, get quiet and fall into the hearts and creative beings that shared their small slice of humanity in a shared sketchbook.

I visited the library with a childhood friend.

We sat at the tables, reading book after book. We found ourselves in awe of the stories on the pages of the sketchbooks. The act of holding the art, reading and viewing page after page, felt like an act of intimacy with strangers. I thought to myself, where else could I sit and be this close to the stories of others? People sharing the most lovely stories or giving us a glimpse of their daily activity. As I turned the pages of different books, the work of young and old alike touched my heart.

I found work of artists that went beyond the given sketchbook. Many made new books with stronger watercolor paper or used cloth and stitching. Every book giving away details of the life of the human that created the work.

The Brooklyn Art Library is the perfect place to fall in love with the creative work of others.

I give The Brooklyn Art Library my full endorsement!

PS. The printed version of my sketchbook sold out. To view the digital version click here. Stay tuned in 2019 for more illustrated journals. I love making them—and sharing my work!

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

Walking While Musing, Episode 7

Thoughts on art and life while I am out and about in Denver Colorado.

Enjoy Episode 7 of Walking While Musing by Suzanne. This musing has no focus! I tried, I honestly did! Three times! You’ll have to watch to see what I mean.

I honestly found it nearly impossible to focus on musing while walking in a city. I realize my tiny small town life really is a part of who I am now. Langlois Oregon is only 177 people big! There are more cows and sheep in our little part of the world than people.

However, what I can say is that I know that in building a creative life it is important to get out of our comfort zone from time to time. I did this by creating this video!

Create adventure in your own life by doing something alone that seems just a little bit out of reach. Record what you have accomplished and reflect on what can be learned from the experience.

I know that if I were to record a musing again while in a city I would maybe feel just a tiny bit less uncomfortable than I did on this first time adventure.

My hope for others is that even while living in a city that you may find a bit of respite and beauty in your own surroundings (or watch my videos for nature breaks).

Includes a full deep breath at the end. Please enjoy and feel free to comment.

I will have a chance to try to musing in a big city again soon! I will be in Los Angeles in November and I will record another city video while I am at SketchKon. PS. I am a presenter at SketchKon this year, the first ever SketchKon Convention!

Then in December I will be in NYC and will dare to create a third walking while musing video. I plan to visit my sketchbook that lives in Brooklyn in The Sketchbook Project Library.

Please join me on these adventures! You do not want to miss out!

I would love it if you could go on over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel!

100 Subscribers would mean I can make a custom channel brand name! Only 97 to go! 🙂

Art Break!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Terrible, Flashe paint and other media on wood cradled panel, 14 x 11 inches, $375

Walking While Musing, Episode 6

In this Walking While Musing episode I follow through on a promise from Episode 1 when I told my audience I would walk around the cabin we are currently building.

Interestingly, what I noticed first when I went to walk around the construction site looking at it through the eyes of my audience is: garbage! Piles of garbage.

To build requires the use of materials. Just as to create requires the use of materials. I don’t think we set out to make garbage, but the garbage is the result of the process.

In short, we need a certain amount of garbage to build a creative life we desire!

I hereby give you permission to make a little bit of garbage in order to make and build your best creative life!

As always I include a full deep breath at the end. Please enjoy and feel free to comment.

 

I would love it if you could go on over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel!

Pretty please!

100 Subscribers would mean I can make a custom channel brand name! Only 97 to go! 🙂

Art break!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, OPEN, Flashe paint and other media on wood cradled panel, 16 x 16 inches, $480

Walking While Musing, Episode 5

In this episode of walking while musing the wind almost got the better of me.

I am sharing the content anyway because the message is poignant.

Please turn down the sound on your device. I published this video at 18% of the volume of sound that I captured, but it is still very loud! Try to imagine wind at 100% volume and speed—that is what I was experiencing while balanced on top of a fallen log at the top of a sand dune and rotating 360° while talking and filming.

Like me, I invite you to use the wind to let go of past pain and hurt, and/or allow the difficulty of change to blow through you.

Please enjoy the following painting with curiosity and contemplation calmly after the storm of the video.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Double Meaning, Flashe paint and other media on wood cradled panel, 14 x 11 inches, $375

May you go into nature to heal. Breathe. Namaste.