Category Archives: Philosphy of Suzanne

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.

Raw Unedited Unscripted Studio Visit Via Video

For the first time I sat down in front of my work—as yet unfinished—and I talked about the work. Unscripted. Unplanned. Raw and real words about the series of work I am calling: Say Nothing. I present my work here as a prelude to a hatching Patreon page later in 2019.

I am a little worried as I share this that I am not the right person to start the conversation, but I feel compelled to do so. In a few weeks time I will keep sharing stories of why I am doing this, and I also hope to bring you the stories of other women.

Would you like to share your story of unpaid labor and the difference it made to the people you care about? Contact me, I’d love to chat!

©2019, Detail from one of the paintings in the Say Nothing series.

Curiously Creative Life

I have been thinking about how I can best share with you about how I live a curiously creative life—most especially in respect to visual voice.

My entire life has been about creating connection with others, typically through my creative pursuits. I use my unique visual voice to create, inform, delight, teach, and coax curiosity in others. I share of myself generously with all kinds of people because this really matters to me.

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Business Owners
  • Contractors
  • Artists
  • Real Estate Professionals
  • Doctors and Dentists
  • Landlords
  • Cafe and Shop Owners
  • Market staff (I did a lot of grocery shopping while raising two boys)
  • Post Office Service Clerk(s)
  • …and so on.

Each of the people most dear to me in my life seem to choose to live outside of a ho hum ordinary existence. The thread that I see is creativity and curiosity. Not the “draw a straight line” creatives! No, what I mean is the people that do what they love, and find meaning in menial or even repetitive work.

People that do their jobs with joy are endlessly curious about how to do things differently and more collaboratively.

I live my curiously creative life by constantly asking questions. I add play into every week—usually outside or in my sketchbooks. Laughing and crying become fodder for innovation in my work. On a good day, I know that what I feel and think matters.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Doodle Art Blocks for Art-O-Mat, series of 100, process image

I want my art to help others to see the world differently— I whimsically initiate curiosity.

I start with a million questions.

Every single day I write in my journal to capture barely awake before coffee musings. I ask myself questions over and over again. What is it I wish the world to know? What matters to me so much but I am afraid to tell anyone?

How do I want to brighten the existence of other humans through my creative voice?

When did I first realize I have a unique vision of the world? Have I realized my unique vision and voice yet?

How can I best help myself to express my most prized and dearly held ideas, innovations, love and angst?

I pursued a graduate degree in both communication and fine art, that’s how much the idea of sharing my gifts with the world matters to me—4 years in classrooms and library study + studio time beyond college.

Visual voice matters to me.

In my lifetime, my dream is that I can bring about positive change through my and our collective voices. The world is full of too much information these days (and not all of it is positive or helpful). I can post on social media like crazy and reach no one at all or millions of people!

It makes sense to me to know my deepest core values and artistic voice so that I am getting heard for what matters most. The rest is useless extra noise.

A curiously creative life takes daily effort.

My new work is challenging me to dig deeper into my artistic visual voice. Below is the first of a new series of work.

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

Mini-Art Book

The following video is made for you. Contemplate whether you have room in your life for your creativity and visual voice.

In February, a friend sent me a handmade mini-book. In return, I made one for him. Then I filmed the pages before I sent the work.

I believe that sharing and gratitude creates joy!

Sharing a Suzanne Gibbs original Mini-Book here, brings me joy. I believe that we can live our best life when we open up to our creativity no matter how small the project, no matter how trivial that work might seem.

In my studio practice, I hope to always have room for even the tiniest of projects, because little sparks of joy make room for larger good work.

To share your gratitude, click on over to YouTube and hit like!

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.

Walking While Musing Episode 10

Join me for a very short musing from just before the Holidays.

This was a time when the pressure of the end of the year approaching had me thinking about change. I was also beginning to feel a deep weariness settle into my body, but I was choosing to ignore my bodies messages.

My hope for others viewing this is that I become a reminder to listen and learn from yourself.

My musing videos include thoughts on art and life while I am out and about—usually on trails.

Episode 10 of Walking While Musing is very short as I begin to explore and figure out a way to explain a change in focus for my life and business. I am constantly looking for clarification on my journey as a creative and as someone who wishes to serve other creative individuals.

Please enjoy and feel free to comment. Also feel free to contact me if you wish to have a personalized one-on-one call with me to talk about changes you wish to make in your creative life.

Walking While Musing, Episode 9

Continuation of my series of video while walking. Enjoy Episode 9!

Thoughts on art and life while I am out and about. Enjoy Episode 9 of Walking While Musing by Suzanne. This musing explains the thoughts behind this musings series. Please enjoy and feel free to comment.

I would be really excited for some (I need 100) subscribers! I’d love to name my own channel, and these are YouTube’s rules! Thank you in advance for your support!

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

Crafting a Life, Part 2

Edited. Originally published on May 21, 2012.

These things are true about me, crafting my life.

I made art as a baby, crafted as a child, and studied art as a young adult. As a yound adult I made my living in graphic design work. Throughout my life I studied art again, and then again and again—always a student. My favorite form of communication is visually and in writing. Crafting and creating a life is beautiful and artful living matters.

My childhood can be measured in creative phases: I have painted, drawn, cross-stitched, quilted, sewed, puppet crafted, made art with yarn and fabric, card crafted, knitted, clay + ceramic building, learned batik, made macramé, put together plastic model airplanes, used fire to fuse encaustic, installed art installations, and authored books. Constantly creating with my hands and heart. My mind got involved later when I studied to receive my MFA.

An Original Suzanne Utaski (my maiden name), created in ceramics class 8th grade. Inspired by Goodnight Moon.

In recent weeks I have been consumed with the idea of helping artists to more fully express their visual voice. To calibrate a newly crafted way of life, I believe we need the voices of all kinds of people to mingle, listen, and share.

I feel as though I am uniquely qualified to do this work. As I mentioned, I started expressing my creative voice as a child. In addition to arts and crafts, I regularly created costumes and dressed up. I did performances with friends, for friends, with family and for family. My life as a child was full, provocative, and exciting. Growing up in Mexico and Brazil, I absorbed cultural differences at a very young age. Learning to love all kinds of people. Growing up without TV or the Internet allowed my imagination and utopian vision of our world to flourish.

Crafting or making things was a typical part of my play and my day in my house.

I did not know that I was very lucky to grow up this way. What I’d like to do now is help others to craft a life worth sharing. If you are reading this, implore you to follow your curiosity, and make your ideas sharable (not only on the internet).

The internet is a gift and a hindrance.

We’ve begun to loose the joy of personal expression as we swish our fingers across screens. Vicariously living through other people’s content, we loose sight of our own. I know I am guilty of social media surfing! Children as young as 9 months can be seen “playing” on their parents or their own iPhone’s or iPad’s. I fear loosing touch with their own voice, before it even has a chance to develop.

The inherent joy in crafting a life well lived is beautiful.

Making items by hand: whether we call it crafting, craftivism, studio crafting, making, creating, art, drawing, painting or whatever—the innate desire to communicate and create connection—is of huge value to humanity. Our voices matter. Communication through objects we make to share is worthy and worthwhile.

Fully realizing your voice and then learning how to best express that story is priceless.

I remember going into New York City with my mother as a teenager in 1979. We visited a museum show about American Quilts. Many of the the quilts on display in the exhibition were made by the Amish. Included also was an exploration of the tradition of quilting in America. The quilts were beautiful, the show had a historical framework that enhanced the story of the quilts and all of them were hung like paintings on the walls of the museum. At this show I could feel the passion. Art creation requires the use of the makers’ hand, heart, and voice.

I think this exhibit was possibly the beginning of my love affair with art. More specifically art made by women. The quilts represented art that was both beautiful and practical.

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

I enjoyed the quilt show so much that I spent the next year designing and making my first quilt. Entirely by hand with help from my mother.

 I crafted the quilt, for use in my own life.

Later, I took the quilt to college with me. Four years after that, I took the quilt across the country from Pittsburgh to California for my first job and apartment.

My quilt was stolen from me.

One night while enjoying a date in San Francisco my boyfriends’ car got broken into and the quilt was gone when we returned. I hoped the person that took my quilt needed the item for warmth. Instead of anger, I held the image of the thief needing the warmth of a crafted object.

To me, objects made by hand hold more value than those purchased in big box stores.

The objects made by hand can be anything: quilts, paintings, drawings, or books. What matters most is the person who made the work and that they are realizing and sharing their voice.

“Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.” (Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy)

To me, art is craft and craft is art. My head, heart, and hands have make all the work I have ever created. I have a lifetime of experience in expressive creation.

I now have the desire to understand, share, and cultivate not only my voice but that of other artists as well.

There are those who persist in the separation of Art and Craft, and they should because it helps both sides to stretch and grow as they argue the hierarchy in arbitrarily created constructs. However, I am happy to be the middle person and persist in working and believing in both camps while helping artists to realize the importance of their own voice in whatever medium they choose.

 

Crafting a life, Part 1 can be found in this previous blog.