Category Archives: Influences

Why Walking While Musing

…and why has the series been ended already?

Image of ferns on trail to lake.

My Walking While Musing videos have temporarily or forever ended, because they served their purpose. Now it is time for me to move on. I made them while I was in a state of transition. My studio space at the time was a 2 x 4 foot table that was also where I ate, wrote, and did anything else that required a table. I lived in a space of 11 x 12 feet with a bathroom.

The musings were a form of artistic expression, but also a form of redirecting my visual voice.

I’ve had viewers, fans, and readers asking me: What’s up with these musings?

I’d rather entice you to watch, but, well… instead, now is the time to explain.

I made my Walking While Musing video episodes for three reasons.

  1. My weekly hikes feed my body, mind, and spirit giving me the energy and stamina to create art. I do not exactly get “inspired” by my nature walks, but the time spent outdoors makes me feel better both physically and emotionally.
  2. While I am in nature, I pay close attention to detail. In nature I see all her flaws and imperfections as absolutely right and perfect. A broken tree is flawless. A cloudy sky will not last forever. Soggy ground is muddled. This translates into my work. I am not a precise painter. Spontaneity, mishaps, and even mistakes make me happy.
  3. The musings in nature also serve a bigger purpose, my studio time often follows the walks. Going forward, instead of taking you outside on my walks, am excited to figure out a way to invite you into my studio world and process.

Stay turned, for a look inside the world of my imagination inside my new tiny studio.

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

Accepting commissions for personalized watercolor grid paintings. Let’s get the conversation started here.

Walking While Musing, Episode 8

I wanted to quiet down, live slower in this episode.

My videos focus on thoughts on art and life while I am out and about. Enjoy Episode 8 of Musings While Walking by Suzanne. This musing focuses on being quiet and sitting to rest. I filmed it in October of 2018. Releasing the video in December seems even more appropriate with short days and the busy holiday season.

I never did slow down after I filmed this, and as a result I am writing this blog post bundled in blankets with a large box of Kleenex next to me. Nursing a cold in the cold of Montana.

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.

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!

Walking While Musing, Episode 4

This walking (sitting) while musing video focuses on the search for a path.

The constant search for a path in life, art, relationships, and more is explored while I sit on a log in this video. For many years now my exploration for a best path as an artist has been relentless. Thankfully, nature gives me pause and room to breathe.

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

Through these walking musings I will eventually learn to explain what the words unrestrained containment mean to me as the underlying concept in my work. You’ll see and hear in this video that discussing the meaning of unrestrained containment is currently very difficult for me. In time, I suspect more words will be available to explain my ideas, for now I will allow my art to do the communication of ideas.

Instead of walking, I am sitting in this video. Nature is my muse. Enjoy the video.

 

Continue to give yourself the space for contemplation and curiosity. Breathe. Namaste.

Strong Point-of-View

A strong point-of-view makes for better art, or so it seems, or does it?

What if, like me, your strong point of view is that all points of view have validity and worth. I have had many conversations that lead to a natural point of me taking a deep breath and wanting to honor both sides of an argument. Never wishing to take a side.

If I have any strong points-of-view they are:

  • Being heard, matters.
  • Use conscious curiosity to dig deeper into issues.
  • Actively listen until there is at the very least a baseline of understanding.

I found myself writing a whole book on this topic a few years ago. Click on image below to purchase or learn more.

Picture of Conscious Curiosity open on a table. A book I wrote in 2014 that shares how I reach my point-of-views. Available signed copies for $20.

Cory Huff of Abundant Artist has put out a missive for artists. He has asked that artists go ahead and make art about, or discuss openly one’s strong point-of-view.

This missive of being asked to declare my strong point-of-view is what lead me to write this blog post.

A “no middle ground allowed” goes in direct opposition to how I think, how I feel, and how I behave.

Very often, if not always, I find myself attempting to see things from every angle. Stepping into the shoes, mind, heart of each person I meet as best as I can. I value both ends of the ubiquitous u-shaped bell-curve of statistics. Research is my friend. Asking lots of questions is a means of declaring my point-of-view.

As for my point-of-view on a few key argument inducers, I offer my thoughts below.

Politics: I would remove corporate dollars, even if this means smaller platforms and action through people not companies—this is obviously not possible within our current framework.

Illustraion Detail, ©2018 Suzanne Gibbs for Silly Girl Factory, Hope, water color and ink on paper, 12 x 9 inches, $75 (inquire through email).

Religion/Spirituality: I was raised catholic, the doctrine will always be a part of who I am. Now I practice outdoor mindfulness, yoga, and meditation (alone and in community). I believe in God, but I also honor and use the words higher being, universal energy, spirit, goddess, and other equivalents.

Illustration Detail by Suzanne Gibbs for Silly Girl factory, Breathe, watercolor and ink on paper, 12 x 9 inches, $75 (inquire through email).

Education: I strongly believe that education alone can heal people and the planet.

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

Money: Money is not the source of all evil. The current distribution of money is out of balance, but there will always be richer and less rich until the day we destroy the construct of money.

Silly Girl Factory, Suzanne Gibbs, Artist ©2018. One in a series of dog portraits in everyday activities. SOLD

Guns: I wish it was infinitely harder to own them, especially in United States.

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

The premise of this post was to honor the missive of declaring my personal strong point-of-view. I know I have missed the mark. I will take solace from a yoga instructor I’d like to meet one day: we can have a strong point-of-view without minimizing others. Do I need to place a lower value on my work because I believe in the value of others and their opinions? I don’t think so. Why should I, my work is my own unique point-of-view, even if I am not an arguer or a bully.

Walking While Musing, Episode 1

Video recording of a walk in a forest, my Walking While Musing, a new project.

This video is the first of a new series of work. I have had to get used to the name I am calling the project and I have made some mistakes. The film is raw. The work is new. I have much to learn.

I have had this idea for a while now to share my thoughts on art and life while I am out hiking.  No doubt I will get better at creating video and curating content as I continue to share a bit of my world.

Thank you for following me on this journey.

Enjoy Episode 1 of Walking While Musing by Suzanne.

Three Pronged Approach

Sharing a new series that includes ladders, from a three pronged approach.

I recently completed a series of work that simply needed to snap on out onto  paper using ink and gouache paint. In my past work, a common theme has been the use of repeated motif’s. Most commonly, of dots, squares, and lines. This little series is no exception. What I added, is the element of ladders.

For the past few years, the idea of ladders has been resurfacing again and again in my daily writing and sketchbook doodles. This series represents the first full use of my previous motif’s with the addition of the ladder as a symbol.

In my research, ladders are chalk full of symbology. Here is a small snapshot of my findings:

  • used for going up
  • used for going down
  • a connection of earth to the heavens
  • a connection to the underworld
  • used as a metaphor as in, climbing the corporate ladder
  • ladder as a way to the glass ceiling
  • Jacob’s ladder
  • DNA resembles a ladder
  • used for escape
  • ladders as a symbol of blue collar work
  • ladders to reach the unreachable

The list of uses for ladders is seemingly endless! I will be continuing my research and my fascination of ladders later this year, possibly for the next few years. I will continue to share more ideas about ladder through what I draw and paint. This blog represents and insiders look and a first time peek at the process I use to take ideas from that initial spark to the realization of a series of works following a theme or idea.

Ladders as a theme and idea can be endless.

What is not endless is the three pronged approach I use to connect viewers to my art: Instagram, Facebook and my blog are the steps to reaching my audience.

Below are sample images from Instagram of my recent series utilizing a ladder as a symbol in the creation of the work. These images are of “in progress work.” Scroll to the end to see the finished series as it hangs on my studio-factory wall.

Instagram

After quite a few days of working silly dorky doodle darlings last night I felt compelled to work on a more serious series. These 12 pieces are not yet finished-I want to add one more layer of color-but they will be available for sale as a set very very soon. If I have an interested buyer before I load it into My Etsy shop we can privately discuss special pricing. Please feel free to contact me in the comments or from my profile. Typically my small work sells for $65 each. I am excited to have these move to the right person’s home or business. In the next few hours or possibly tomorrow I will post a video of work in progress and some close up images. These are created on Italian watercolor paper with ink and gouache. #smallart #artforsale #sillygirlfactiry #gouache #inkonpaoer #worksonpaper #art #illustration #drawing #abstractseries #abstractart #ladder #laddertheme #dots #circles #line #lineart #happytoshare #fabrianopaper

A post shared by Suzanne Gibbs (@sillygirlfactory) on

More painting.

A post shared by Suzanne Gibbs (@sillygirlfactory) on

The past month I have completed the commission project I spoke about in the image below and I have moved into a new series that I will be working on for at least the next 3-4 months. More information will be available about my next series next week!

Facebook.

Here is how I would hang the work. Either framed individually or as a whole. Please ignore the little magnets. Thank you…

Posted by Silly Girl Factory on Tuesday, April 3, 2018

 

However, before I put this little gem of a series away into storage or on Etsy, I’d like to offer it here to my blog readers first. $600 buys all twelve pieces of work, including domestic shipping or buy one at a time for $65 each. Simply email me and say YES I want the work! I will send you an invoice and the work will be on it’s way to you!

Do ladders have special significance to you? If so, grab these while you can! Or tell me why I should make more ladder work, I’m very interested in feedback.

 

sweet territory of silence

Allow me to repeat.

sweet territory of silence

I wrote the words—sweet territory of silence—in my “system” for tracking and keeping ideas for books, blog posts, and essays. I even wrote to myself: This would be one hell of a story if I can find the words to write it.

Then I did. I found a way to write.

In 2017, I took a year off. A year that I called My Year of Separation. My intention was “to get away from it all” and to “remove myself from the rut that was my life.” Of course, we all know that did NOT happen! I never got away from it all and I did not remove myself from my life. How naive I was that I thought that I could!

As humans, we live in community with one another and need other people to stay alive. I wasn’t thinking of this at the time. I had recently suffered from a traumatic family experience, and I had just read Walden a few months prior.

I was dreaming that the idea of a sweet territory of silence and being alone was possible.

I ought to have remembered that even Henry David Thoreau admitted to needing people while he went out of convention and built a cabin by a pond, lived alone, listened to silence in nature, and wrote a book on his personal musings.

I was inspired by Walden.

Years earlier I had read A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson. She too, left her “normal” life and went to live alone, in search of her own version of silence, I assume, and a way to reinvent her life. She wrote a book about her experiences.

I was inspired by A Year By The Sea.

I was ready to look for that sweet territory of silence. Alone. By a sea or a pond, either one, sure. A forest would work as well. I wanted this mostly so that I could hear my own voice. Also so that I could rest and heal. And like I said, to find a new path in life.

The cabin I retreated to was on a lake, the lake is steps from the ocean. In fact the ocean often crashes over the sand dunes and spills into the lake. I was, in effect, reenacting both Thoreau and Anderson. Instead of a pond and the sea I was on a lake near the ocean. Although, I did not really think of this at the time, how I had copied those that inspired me.

I was searching for the sweet territory of silence. A time for my brain to get quieter and feel more at peace.

(more…)