Category Archives: Philosphy of Suzanne

Memories

Step into my world, for just a moment, into memories.

Certain thoughts can still bring up pain. Moments later my thoughts bring overwhelming joy. The image below was drawn in the hospital ICU 2 days after my son’s accident.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2016, Sketchbook image, Boulder Community Health Hospital

When I think back I am amazed that I thought to bring a sketchbook and pen, but not a change of pants!

I remember that while in the ICU, I sat with him for hours coaching him to breathe using the knowledge I had learned during yoga teacher training. We did not know if he could hear us, but I could see that he was breathing with me. Using the squeeze of my hand in his to indicate inhales and exhales we breathed together. He was with me, and yet he has zero memory of these hours. At one point the nurse came in and was amazed that he was still breathing on his own without oxygen less than 24 hours from having his breathing tube removed. She walked away, happy for him and for me.

I also recall simply sitting. The hospital room had a window seat. So I sat. I breathed. I relied on every moment of meditation practice that I could summon. Being frantic, upset, crying uncontrollably was not going to help him heal. Being  there was all that mattered, for him and for myself.

These are the happy-sad memories.

The sounds of an ambulance made my heart rush for many months post-accident, even though I was no were near his ambulance and there was no way I could have a real memory of the sound of his ambulance. What I had was empathy for the other families about to go though what inevitably happens along with the sound of an ambulance.

Sometimes I still jump when the phone rings. The phone brought me the information about his accident.

Now there are new moments replacing these older memories and thoughts.

When I walk, breathe deeply, and spend time outside I can easily find myself overflowing with gratitude for the beauty in my life.

When I looked at the calendar today and realized that he is almost 21 years old! How exciting! He will get to celebrate this birthday! He lived.

In my book, My Year of Separation, I did not share the image above. I did not share these tougher memories. I spent the year writing and looking for hope and healing.

If these thoughts and details stir something in you, consider buying my book. Or share this email, story, blog post with someone that you think could be helped by what I’ve shared.

Soon, I will have moved past these memories. In their place will be new adventures and most likely further pain. The yucky moments are a part of a life lived fully. How we deal with our emotions is what creates either more pain or opens us up for further joy than we ever thought possible.

I choose joy. When I hit send/publish on this post I will go outside. Breathe deeply and know that I can share moments of meaning. Ideas that helped me, and that might help another fellow human.

I would love to sell you a book, but more than that I’d love to share the idea that even in pain we can look for and notice moments of joy. I believe it IS OK to be silly even at inappropriate times, but also to be reverent. A constant balance of good and bad. Happy and sad.

Memories are in the past, the now matters.

 

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…)

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!

New Book Coming in 2018

As many of my readers are already aware, our family lived through a traumatic experience in 2016 that extended into 2017. To deal with this trauma I resorted to my tried and true emotional helpers: making and moving. I wrote, drew, scribbled, and made messes in my journals and sketchbooks almost daily and with great urgency during this time. From these pages a new book emerged. I also practiced yoga and went for long walks outside, even in pouring rain and sometimes snow.

My Year of Separation is my second book and will be self published really really soon. The plan is to have it in your hands by May 7—just before mother’s day…

…OR EVEN SOONER!

I hope you are excited! I hope you will want to purchase a copy of my newest book!

There are words of comfort and certainly some unpleasantness in the stories I share in My Year of Separation: A collection of essays examining the impossible task of separation from self.

crayola crayon box pattern, created in my sketchbook during my year of separation, NFS

I have a theory that there are many people attempting to separate from our true selves going on in the world right now. Including myself. Some indicators are: drugs, alcohol, prescriptions, broken relationships, violence, and the list goes on…

I am not saying that I was doing drugs or being violent, but there was disconnect, for sure…

Some indications of the desire to separate from the self are more subtle. My book aimed to look at underling root causes of separation from self in myself, one essay at a time. By sharing my inner journey I hope that others can relate to the journey and intentionally find contentment and joy within themselves as I have been able to do as a result of this journey.

The book is little and not very long—just over 100 pages—so I will not tell all here. I can share that the following quote from the Dali Lama strikes a cord within me having just finished my manuscript and sent it off to an editor:

Outward attainment will not bring real inner joyfulness.
We must look inside. —Dali Lama

While you wait for my much anticipated (ha ha) book, may you have a most glorious and joyful day today—knowing that I care about you, even if I have not yet met you in person. Hugs and Namaste.

Delete Me!

Hello to the end of yet another year! Time to reflect. Get ready for a new year and new experiences.

I unsubscribe from blog posts that come to me daily, weekly, and monthly—that I no longer need. This chore is a part of my end of year rituals. These are blogs that once interested me for one reason or another, and then my attention necessarily needs and wants to go elsewhere. Otherwise, I will feel too full of information.

I often want more time. I want more space inside my own mind.

I’d like to give you the gift of time and space as well. Happy New Year—now is your chance to Delete ME!

I woke up this morning thinking: my faithful readers need a chance to Delete Me!

Why? Why would I tell you to get rid of me in your in box? After all, the idea behind a blog is to entice people into… (insert consumerism here) …gosh, no!

WINDOWS, paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75” x 4.75”

I blog because I hope my readers find my words inspiring, interesting and thought provoking. At times I have tried to sell my work via blog posts, but those posts never feel as real, honest, and authentic to me. If I do not feel good writing them, how can I expect my readers to find pleasure in the reading? You want nothing from me?!?!?

Delete Me!

Yes, go ahead. I will continue to write. You can continue to stop by on Facebook (where I automatically post my blog) or at my actual website anytime you like! I will continue to be on-line and I will continue to blog.

Will I continue to write about art? Why yes!

Will I write about creativity? Very likely.

Will I write about yoga? I think so.

Will I write about health? Maybe so.

Will I randomly muse and philosophize? Yes, seems to be my way these days…

Will I write about how my life is on the precipice of change, again and again and then again and again? Yes, I think I will…  I believe in fundamental mental and emotional shifts hapening daily, moment by moment. I keep asking myself, what will the future hold? I ask this often.

You will not know what Silly Girl Factory has in store for you in 2018 if you delete me, but I want you to delete me if you’re needing the space away from my musings and offerings.

Line and Dot. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches.

You may Unsubscribe and Delete Me, or you can hang on for the ride ahead! Either way, to those of you who continue to read and comment and share and continue to be my friends through this process – thank you! I love my readers!

Silly Girl Factory is planning on some much bigger adventures this year. Will you come along? …or Delete Me?


You know what? Thanks for reading my blog! If you have continued to enjoy the information I present, feel free to forward this post or any of my ideas to a friend! To support the work I do, buy a book or my art! I’d love more followers on Instagram, tee hee… I might start monthly giveaways in January 2018—but you’d only know about it if you follow me on Instagram!

Why? What? The Vision…

Recently, I was with my son in Montana and he and I were talking about our future plans. He has a grand and very well defined vision for himself in the future—when he finishes college. He is currently only 18 and a freshman.

I was astonished and proud to hear his plans! I quickly began to wonder, how can I better define my plans as an artist.

As I was musing, he asked me what my vision is for my art and my art business—I was instantly stuck! I did not know how to answer his question! Embarrassingly, this has been a constant struggle for me!

Dorky Doodle Zen Master. Paper, Ink. 7 x 5 inches.

Here is where I plan to write and chat about this important topic. Why do we do the things we do? More importantly, since I am writing this blog: Why do I do the things that I do? What stimulates action, what creates change and success, what is my vision and motivation for continually being a creator and making art year after year?

To answer the questions I create a container.

First, I needed to give parameters to this dilemma of how to define: vision. Here is an idea that I learned from Alyson Stanfield, according to her, all art is make for four reasons, these are: to document, delight, confound, and question.

For example, Austin Kleon is primarily an artist/writer that documents as a means to communicate through his art and writing. He has a journal for each of 10 years worth of writing down the details of what he did the day before. Ten years! Imagine knowing if you went to the dentist, caught a cold, celebrated a friends birthday, or moved into a new house and you could go back and look at every single day of the past 10 years.

Dominique Kongsli… makes work that delights her viewers. Here is her website. Be sure to check out her Instagram feed as well, she has some very funny moments that include her wearing a wig and talking about art!

Angela, my boss at Washed Ashore makes art that has the viewer questioning human behavior and consumption. She creates art with marine debris. Actually, I make many of the sculptures, she directs the work!

Leslie Love Stone is an artist that makes art that confounds the viewer. Leslie takes three disparate ideas, combines them together, adds color in a geometric container and viola! Beautiful paintings.

Why do I make art? What is my art for? What is my vision?

I have been pondering the subject of defining a VISION for my art and writing nearly non-stop for over week now. You’re lucky enough to read about why I make art and write books…

Silly Girl factory is the real ME. She runs out to play, she is silly and goofy with a childlike sense of curiosity and wonder. Drawing, painting, writing, and having fun, creating joy, and making silly stuff is what Silly Girl is all about.

Dorky Doodle Wind-Me-Up. Paper, Ink. 14 x 11 inches.

Silly Girl Factory does not stop at silly, the second part of the equation is to question on going beliefs and deep rooted behaviors.

Terribly Wrong Thought, paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75” x 4.75”

One of the projects I created is the book Conscious Curiosity. This book has the intention of helping couples to find room in their relationships for being silly and also curious enough to keep getting to know one another on a more serious level. Conscious Curiosity is but one example of the work that Silly Girl Factory has created.

Packaging my VISION in a formula.

The magic formula for Silly Girl Factory is:

silly + curiosity = delight

Simple right? Silly plus curiosity equals creating room for Delight—aka. people being kind and loving and inquisitive—resulting in a more peaceful world full of happy folks! Yea! There you have it! The vision for Silly Girl Factory!

Picture of Conscious Curiosity open on a table.


You know what? Thanks for reading my blog! If you have continued to enjoy the information I present, feel free to forward this post or any of my ideas to a friend! To support the work I do, buy a book or my art! I’d love more followers on Instagram, tee hee… I might start monthly giveaways in January 2018—but you’d only know about it if you follow me on Instagram!

A Year and a Week

Change happens in a blink of an eye. One nanosecond. Then again, sometimes change never happens at all and one wishes for something different, for any change at all! For example a dog that jumps on people as a means of greeting, or a boss that only sees the mistakes, never the successes—those are things we might want to change. There is a moment I wished had not happened.

A year and a week ago my son nearly lost his life.

When I got the phone call, I felt as though my own body was tearing apart. The sound of my voice was wholly unfamiliar to me. I wished for a teleportation system so that I could be by his side.

It took 21.5 hours for me/us to reach him. To hold his hand. A year and a week ago sometimes feels like yesterday and sometimes feels like a lifetime ago. Last week I visited him to help him through yet another surgery to put all the pieces that he injured back into place again. He’s fixed and forever broken. He’s back in school. He has a job. He found a girlfriend that cares about him despite the regular returns through surgery and copious number of scars throughout his body. He may still require further surgeries. We will know, more importantly he will know, when what has been repaired continues to heal.

His spirits are good, as are mine. Then on other days, his attitude could use some adjustments, but then, so could mine.

A year and a week is not enough time to heal. Not enough distance from the event to forget. We may never forget. That’s ok too. I write this post, not for sympathy, nor prayers (although prayers are always welcome). I write for closure.

I write because I opened this subject on my blog earlier in 2017, and now I wish to move beyond the story of him and us. I plan on going back to words, thoughts, and my philosophies about writing, art, and life. Not about him and injury. I hope to share new art. The past year was all about sketching and journal keeping, but no actual new art was created. The mental space did not exist for me, but I feel it opening up to me, to new adventures.

I will be opening my Etsy store again in 2018!

touch, paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75” x 4.75”

A year and a week ago, in a blink of a moment everything changed. Tomorrow, even right now, life resumes to my new norm. I worry, sure. We all do, about something or other. However, having made it through one hell of a year, I am ready to say good-bye to this chapter. Hello to this lovely moment tonight, alone on a Saturday night. Doing something I love. Writing and pondering life’s moments in words.

I do hope you will continue to read, watch, and be involved in my future endeavors. I have some exciting plans up my sleeve and I can’t wait to share! I treasure my readers, thank you. I do not tell you this enough, how happy I am that you stopped by and care enough to read.

Thank you dear readers! Thank you. For the last year and a week of knowing, caring, and being you!

 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Potboiler

Hey there! It’s time for another vocabulary word!

Potboiler!

When I first saw this word it made me think of cooking lobster! However here is the actual meaning of potboiler:

a mediocre work of literature or art produced merely for financial gain

Yes, I do worry if my work is mediocre. That does not stop me from being a maker tho!

Dorky Doodle Octopus Head. Paper, Ink. 12 x 12  inches.

Dorky Doodle Octopus Head. Paper, Ink. 12 x 12 inches.

Can you think of an example of a mediocre work of literature or art produced merely for financial gain? If you can, let me know. Because in my world artists are always attempting to show their best work, not crap work.

Dorky Doodle Backbender. Paper, Ink. 6 x 6  inches.

Dorky Doodle Backbender. Paper, Ink. 6 x 6 inches.

One Not So Simple Question

I have a question for you. But first a boring bit about me.

I work daily to:

  1. write
  2. draw
  3. workout or walk or both
  4. do some yoga
  5. eat well
  6. sleep enough
  7. take care of family matters
  8. launch Silly Girl (more on that in the coming weeks)
  9. and so on…

Not necessarily in that order each day…

Small space has big rewards. LOVE, paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75” x 4.75”

Small space has big rewards. LOVE, paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75” x 4.75”

Basically while working on doing the right thing for the right reasons, I began to wonder:

How can I serve you? I want to get a sense from people what they need from art and how I could meet that need.

Is it?

  1. Greeting cards
  2. Gift wrap
  3. Fabric with silly designs
  4. Wall hanging art
  5. Small art that can be given as gifts
  6. A new book
  7. Coloring books or postcards
  8. Illustrated cookbooks
  9. Other – you name it (as long as I am not asked to do commissions)

Maybe the need is not an actual art piece, but classes and information, tell me what you want to know. I’ll listen!

Once upon a time I had a friend who would ask me questions based on her own research into the art she was studying (we were both docents at Long Beach Museum of Art), we would both benefit from the exchange of information. You can ask me questions, I’d love to help – anything about art or creativity is fair game! Oh, and yoga too!

Luna

What if you want philosophy, well, I have shared my share of Suzanne-ism’s. I can do more of that! You’ll get that anyway from me!

I can do book reviews or suggestions too – I have read over 50 books this year alone. Yes, call me nerd, silly me! I love to read and write! and draw, and do yoga, and take walks on the beach… la la la

As a reminder:

How can I serve you? I want to get a sense from each of you what do you need from art, from me in particular, and how I could meet your needs.

Do Less

I am a do more, do all the time sort of person. Or at least I have been until recently.

By doing less, even nothing, I feel less empty.

Or so I tell myself…

…But then again, I come around and berate myself for my do nothing days. Ha, I am feeling like there is a line of inquiry that I cannot seem to move away from these days. The inquiry always seems to be polar, rather than gentle.

Work, or not work.
Make money, or not make money.
Find a job, or not find a job.
Travel, or not travel.
Keep supporting my younger son through high school, or start to let him “be on his own?”
Make more art, or stop making art.
Teach yoga, or just do yoga.
Apply for a professor/instructor position and the local community college, or teach private clients, or not teach art at all any more.

After all these questions I begin to ask myself about nothing.

What IS do nothing anyway? I get up, I feed myself, I shower, I workout, I take care of the dog, I shop for groceries, I plan future travel, I plan for my children’s travel, and children’s school, I pay bills, I wash clothes, I wash dishes, I clean the house (sort of), I organize stuff, I give stuff away, I buy more stuff, I eat again, I surf the social media world, I answer emails, I talk to my husband, I text my children daily, I walk the dog, I cut my finger nails and toenails, I go to the dentist, I go to the doctor, I prepare healthy meals, I eat unhealthy snacks, I breathe, I go to yoga classes, I go to fitness classes, I walk on the beach, I walk in the woods, I drive my car, I learn how to use my new car (it’s complicated), I make my bed, I sweep the floor, I take out the garbage, I clean my cluttered desk, I draw as often as I remember to, I write three pages of long hand stream of consciousness thoughts each day, I tend to this blog, I hang art shows, I remodel my home, I hire contractors, I pay said contractors, I stay in touch with friends by phone, I call family members, I walk with new friends in new neighborhoods, I take my dog to the beach with her doggie friend, I go to the post office, I order goods we need on Amazon, and so on…

There is no nothing.

Do less?

The question stems from the inevitable change that comes from becoming a parent to two adults, rather than two children. My youngest is now 17. I am in that year… the year before the inevitable. What IS my job now?

Do less?

What is less? What is more?

Life will unfold, I know. But to what, for whom, why? And will I like this next phase in life? Will I? Does anyone know?