Category Archives: Influences

I don’t hold anger

…but many women do. Anger at being treated unfairly. Anger at being asked to do the unthinkable. Anger for hurts that have gone unresolved. And more.

I don’t hold anger, but I do wish for systemic change.

I wish for our voices to be heard. I dream about—well, you know—a utopian world were all people are treated with equal respect, kindness, and compassion. Where we all feel hope, love, and a chance for joy.

A world without fear.

I know I am not alone. I know that while I work towards change with a quiet creative heart and personal mindfulness others are using anger as motivation and voice. There is a place for this anger. The shit is real. I allow for others to have that voice, the pain, the anger too. I urge you to read the article link above should you need to understand why women are mad and frustrated.

For each story I read I can think of a story of my own.

I have stories I have never shared and stories I have shared with only a precious few. Somehow, the gift of my creative voice has tempered my anger. My voice is quietly visual. Working my way through anger to joy—and from there I hold hope for change. At the very least, I hope for each of us to have a chance to share our stories.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Double Bind Bubble Up, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 36 x 36 inches. $3600

While in graduate school I learned of the idea of “bearing witness.” Meaning, that by sharing our experiences and knowing that someone else knows of an injustice, a pain, a failing of our social systems, or any other traumatic experience—there is then a chance for healing and lessening of anger and hurt.

At the time, I was learning and listening as a student and the theoretical angles of what bearing witness means. Today, I am stepping towards the concept of being a person that does actually bear witness to other people’s stories as I connect the words of others to the images of my work.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” —Maya Angelou

My hope is to create a book of art with collected essays (stories) as told to me, or written for me.

Please, if you are interested in sharing your story, no matter how angry you feel, I am here. I will gladly welcome what you have to say with an open heart and my listening soul. Each of the paintings in my “Shhh, Say Nothing” Series requires a personal story. We can use full names, or first names only. Either way, we are bearing witness to your agony. Thus creating room for healing—which is truly a gift. Systemic change is a dream, the people along the way that share and affect other human lives, this is the utopian wish.

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.