Category Archives: Painting

Toni Morrison, an inspiration even in death.

First, let me say and send my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and devoted readers of Toni Morrison.

Now I’d like to say what inspired me to write about Toni Morrison today.

I found a quote about her from her family on Lit Hub Daily that touched and rocked me to the core.

Here is the quote:

“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends. She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life.”

My whole life—short life at 54—I have wrestled with art vs. family priorities and passions. This quote serves as an example to me to no longer struggle, but to instead embrace the two parts of my passions and deep love as being equally valid and important.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Empty Waiting, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 16 x 16 inches. $1600. Available directly from the artist.

I’ll take a step forward and publicly feel what it would be like if an obituary had been written about me. However, before I do, I’d like to let you know that I have a goal of living to be 100! My grandmother was in her 90’s when she passed away, my goal is 100% humanly possible! So, I am in no way saying: Off I go!

Now for the rewrite, as if I had died:

It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our cherished Suzanne Gibbs, passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends. She was an extremely devoted, sensitive, and tender person who reveled in spending time with her family and dearest friends. The inimitable artist who treasured the creative force within all of us was most at home while painting. She filled her soul when playing in nature—on hikes, especially among trees and on water or in water. Although her death represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long and well lived life.

Again, Toni Morrison, you will be missed and you will always be loved for the creative work you brought into this world. May you rest in peace.

Dear readers, I invite you to consider today what is most important to you—and go for it! There is so much sadness in the world and in our country, I send you love. When we are together, we will hug. Namasté

For inquiry about purchasing art on this post click here.

Art Show on the Boardwalk

A look at work I made for the Wings—Wind—Waves Port of Bandon Boardwalk Art Show. Show ends on September 18, 2019.

I decided to paint a kite boarder on the waves pretending to have wings (the kite in the wind)!

Full image! The holes are there to hang the work on the boardwalk fence.

 

Detail of wind.

 

Detail of water (waves) and sand.

 

Yes! I did paint a tiny person in the water.

Yes! It really IS this windy in Bandon Oregon! I am sitting on the boardwalk to take the picture. Come see the work!

Personal Artist Residency Program

Beginning on July 1, 2019 and continuing through either end of September or end of October I will be doing an “at home” self-directed artist residency.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Purple Lipped Confusion, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 24 x 24 inches.

The painting above represents the 5th painting in a new series. In order to approach galleries and art representation I need a series of at least 20 pieces.

A full and fully realized body of work is what it takes to “go pro.”

My goal is 30 paintings by October 31st.

During June I nearly finished 3 more in the series that have not been publicly shown, yet on social media or the internet. Here is the math:

30 paintings – 8 complete = 22
22 paintings / 3 months = 7+ per month
22 paintings / 4 months = 5.5 paintings per month

Each painting takes me from 40 to 80 hours to complete.

Possibly 3 to 4 months will not be enough time. Possibly I can step up production. As in any business or undertaking there is always a point at which one must fully commit to the endeavor and see what happens. See what is possible.

I am excited…
…and also a bit panicky.

I have the supplies ready to go for 27 paintings. Most are larger than 14 x 11 inches (the smallest size so far in this series).

A hint hint reminder: I have stickers available for sale—2 for $6 includes shipping. These will help offset a small portion of the supplies costs of this project. If these successfully sellout I will print a new batch from a new painting for August.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Detail of Purple Lipped Confusion with a sticker, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 24 x 24 inches. $2400

Stickers!

For the first time ever! My art on stickers!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Detail of Purple Lipped Confusion with a sticker, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 24 x 24 inches. Original Painting $2400. 2 stickers for $6!

2 Stickers for $6!

Includes shipping and handling. Limited to the first 45 customers (because I only printed 100 stickers).

The Other Art Fair!

Recently I received fantastic news in my in box about a recent sketchbook project I completed! I am excited to share the news here with you today.

My sketchbook went to The Other Art Fair!

Yea! Scream! Do the Happy Dance!!! read below to learn more.

Inside cover of Come Along With Me, ©2019, A sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project in Brooklyn, NY

The content of the email:

Just a quick note to let you know that your book was one of only a few hundred books that went to a special exhibition at The Other Art Fair in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Your book was in our Bookmobile at the Brooklyn Expo Center for thousands of artists and visitors to enjoy! Thanks for helping us inspire a creative community!

Please note, this tour stop used our Analog Search system. This is your notification that your book was part of this special program.

Sketch ya later,
The Sketchbook Project Crew

I feel so incredibly honored to have had work in such a respected art fair!

The Other Art Fair is a large format venue for emerging artists to sell their work. I never dreamed my work would go there without me! But it did!

A page from Come Along With Me, ©2019, A sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project in Brooklyn, NY

Then, the more I though about this wonderful news I realized: Serendipity! My eldest son graduated from high school and I had work in the largest show I have ever been a part of—all in the same week!

I know I already said this and I’m thrilled, my sketchbook went to The Other Art Fair!

Back inside cover from Come Along With Me, ©2019, A sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project in Brooklyn, NY

Warm Mossy Green

Lichen is a warm mossy green in our area! 😉 One of the ways lichens directly benefit humans is through their ability to absorb everything in their atmosphere, especially pollutants. This alone is reason enough for me to use the beautiful color of warm mossy green.

Initially this color was available in a premixed form from my paint supplier, Lefranc & Bourgeois, Flashe Vinyl Paint—they called the color lime green. Then the unthinkable happened! They discontinued the color!

Not one to give up on a favorite color. I had decided I must mix the color and make small batches of paint on my own.

Sample of Lichen and the paint color “from the jar.”

A bit of further research on Lichen and I find that another term for it is: witch’s hair. Now I am even more intrigued and excited to use this color in my work! Witch’s Hair has long been used by Northwest Natives as a source of fiber, for example as diapers and bandages. It was used on dance masks as false hair, and ponchos too! And of course I’d like to conjure up witches and pollutant eating lichen in my work!

So I get to mixing, and mixing. Four hours of work in all! And I get oh, so close! But not exact enough for me! The color I got was cooler and I wanted the warm undertones! See below. 🙁

Ever so close…

I tried adding red for “warmth” but this led to a muddy green and not what I wanted. Drats! See below.

Muddy warm green.

…and some more trivia for you… Did you know that lichen is a complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, a fungus and an alga. The dominant partner is the fungus! Whoot!

Such a fun color! Yea, for lichen!

Mixed batch of warm mossy green.

Starting over with a warm yellow and a warmer blue I try again. And this time I am able to reach the beautiful color I am so enamored with!

I did it!!!

And finally, below is one of many paintings I will be creating using this fabulous color! I know that Living Coral 16-1546 is the color of the year for 2019! But, Warm Mossy Green has won my heart.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Tea Cup Face, flashe paint and posca pen on cradled wooden panel, 14 x 11 inches, $450

Nothing To Say

Since January of this year I have been working on a new body of work. The working title for this series is: Nothing To Say.

The work is challenging me in new ways. Instead of painting spontaneously and with great emotion, I am slowing down. Creating tons of drawings in my sketchbook leads to many more ideas than I could ever execute. Spending at least a half hour early every morning morning—before coffee, before the sun wakes up—writing in a notebook I sift out and capture what I wish to say visually.

I began the year thinking I had nothing to say. A day at a time my thinking has changed.

My morning view

Below is a video of one of many full sketchbook of faces and character studies.

Each larger painting begins with a fully realized smaller study. Using collage, I cut up security envelopes and assemble them into abstract faces. This satisfies my fascination of how we use pattern to obliterate information.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2019, Nothing To Say Series, Tea Cup Brow, flashe paint, ink, gouache, collage on paper, 5 x 7, $200

After sizing up the study to fit the new format on a cradled wood panel of 14 x 11 inches, I begin to lay down the paint on the new larger size.

Work in progress.

Seeing the work larger has me thinking of so many new ideas. I now have more visual problems to solve, based on what I want the painting to communicate.

I am finding that I do have something to say!

Somehow the idea of a zipped mouth came to me. Maybe during a brisk cold morning walk? Anyways, once the idea came I knew that the execution needed to be flawless. The paint I use and the message I want to communicate has no room for “do overs” or layering of paint to make it right. I want the work to BE just so and correct on my first try. This required drawing studies of zippers, over and over again.

Zipper study.

When the pieces are fully complete, I include a great deal of detail on every piece. With that comes the need for just the right sized brush!

Sampling of brushes. The smallest ones are 0 size, the largest are a 6 flat.

I add details over the flat surfaces of paint. I have skipped discussing my color choices in this blog post for brevity sake.

Zipper detail.
Eye and nose detail.

The final work made me feel really excited about this new direction. I have since completed 4 more pieces that I will unveil soon. And this morning I began a sixth in the series.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Tea Cup Face, flashe paint and posca pen on cradled wooden panel, 14 x 11 inches, $450

In Nothing To Say, I have combined faces or characters, household objects, and flat areas of color juxtaposed with painted patterns. The deliberate creation of detailed patterns represent repetitive labor that goes under-appreciated and often unpaid.

Security envelope detritus.

My inspiration came from the insides of security envelopes—a product made as protection for the contents within. However, in actuality they obliterate the message, and usually the contents are related to financial affairs.

The zipped mouth alludes to the unheard voices of the unnoticed many. And, once again, I am finding I do have something to say.