Category Archives: Studio Habits of Mind

Dart Tossing

I believe in giving things a try. Dart tossing means that I have been operating under a personal motto: ”Give stuff a try, toss a dart, you never know what will work without trying.” When I have a new idea, or something interesting  repeatedly calls for my attention, I will usually pick up the idea and give it a go. I liken my style of creating to tossing darts, I have needed to toss many to hit the ever elusive sweet spot.

Dart tossing is no longer working for me.

To perfect my craft and my voice though art, I’ll need to stop picking up every fun and interesting idea and begin to work towards one direction, at least for a little while. From May—October of this year I plan to do one body of work with one singular focus! No more darts! Hard work ahead!

You heard it here first!

To test the waters of Silly Girl Factory vs Fine Art by Suzanne Gibbs, I have opened a new and second Instagram account that will focus on my Fine Art. The plan is to make work that matters, work with my heart and soul poured into it. Two Instagram accounts means I am having an art identity crisis in public on social media.

What kind of work can you expect from my fine art focus?

Below are images of work from 2014 from a Solo Show (the work is currently hanging in my living room, and can still be purchased) I had shortly after my MFA in 2014. I called the show Blemish, finding beauty and peace in upset and discomfort, this link takes you to a blog post about the work.

The work from my Blemish show included abstract works made in layers. The idea for this body of work was to have my viewers question what I covered up vs what I left visible. I made the work using acrylic, oil paint and encaustic. In my current studio I cannot use encaustic , and I no longer own a full set of oil paint, but I can continue to make work.

My new body of work will be drawing and painting abstractions from the abstractions I see in the world. Simply complex, sometimes repetitive. I cannot fully visualize the work yet, as I begin to put pen to paper or paint to wood I will allow my intuition to be my guide. I am excited to share this journey with you, and I hope that I have (actually I KNOW that I have) a team of supporters that will keep me on my path for the next 6 months.

Please nudge me away from my days of dart tossing!

Call me, email me, scream at me through social media… any way you can get my attention, please do! I welcome the support and the nudge to focus! In the past, I have always been a go it alone type of person. I now realize that I need a team, support, and a community to build this thing called an art career. Dear reader, I count you as a part of this team and community! Love my followers!


In the meantime, I am finishing up a project for Art-O-Mat! An example of a possible location can be found on this blog post (click on link). This Art-O-Mat project is one example of dart tossing! I sent in my work for review and I was accepted. I am drawing and painting 100 small works of art that will be sold through re-purposed cigarette vending machines! Below are images of work in progress, to see more work in progress join my Silly Girl Factory Instagram here.

That’s all I have for you today. The adventure called life continues. I continue to create and share the journey, even as I am floundering (a little) and re-evaluating (a lot). To support the work I do, buy a book, some art, or share this post with a friend. Thank you!

Where did the name Silly Girl Factory come from?

I’d like to explain where the name Silly Girl Factory came from. Even though you may not have wondered!

The idea for the name simply popped into my head one day. I liked it because Silly has the same initial as Suzanne and Girl has the same initial as Gibbs. SG! Ta da! + Factory

I am a factory worker rather than an artist in a studio or atelier because this just “feels right.” I tend to work often and diligently. Like any good factory there is a fair amount of output.

Sure sometimes I produce duds, but I think even the finest company factories in the world have a failed project from time to time.

OK and let’s get to the nitty gritty here: I am silly—I love to laugh, I tend to interrupt, dance, skip, and color with crayons! At Silly Girl Factory not all art needs to be fuddy-duddy and precious. Some art work is done to process feelings and emotions or to practice new techniques and styles (this stuff stays in the factory, usually). A lot of work is me dumping onto the page ways in which I see the world or ways in which I wish to combine stuff that intrigues me.

And here goes…the elephant in the room! I am a girl! You know, I live life with curiosity and I question everything, similar to how young children approach life. Here is a book I wrote about being consciously curious (click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the page)!

One more fact: I create, draw, write, and make stuff every single day! Every-single-day, for real! I am my own silly girl factory, literally!


Me imitating my illustration which was drawn from an old picture of myself. How is that for a mouthful of words and ideas?

Below is a list of the projects that have come to life in 2018 and are currently available for purchase. All you need to do is click on the links and you’ll be shuttled all over the internet—like COSTCO shopping but in cyber stores!

  1. The Silly Girl Factory Etsy Shop opened for business in January of this year
  2. My year of Separation, a second book (zero copies left, more are on order—I am taking early requests please email me Suzanne@sillygirlfactory.com)
  3. Business Cards with a funny illustration (see image above this list)
  4. New Yoga Classes that I instruct—we laugh, have fun, and do asanas with pranayama! (Sanskrit words for poses and breath work.)
  5. Dorky Doodle Darlings ^prepare to Visit NYC a Sketchbook mailed to NYC for The Sketchbook Project and I turned it into a silly booklet for sale
  6. Reassemble Series of small paintings added to Etsy Shop
  7. Number 5 above added to Etsy Shop once the printing was finished
  8. Doodle Coloring Pages added to Etsy Shop (see Ruffle Clown below) more will be added as I create them!
  9. 222 Faces Series (but not all 222) has been added to my website and tomy  Etsy Shop—special pricing when you purchase multiples!
  10. Silly Girl Factory Zazzle Store is now open for business (I have been meaing to do this for about 8 years!) Sheesh… not factory speed!

Suzanne Gibbs ©2015-18, Dorky Doodle People, Ruffle Clown, ink on paper

Last week I promised more information on the Doodle + Ladder + Word Project.

The news is: I am continuing to work on it! I spent a full studio day last week making patterned paper. I have no new art to show, but the factory IS in gear. Obviously, the factory has been busy! See list above. 🙂


Hey! 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 or many friends! To support the work I do, please buy a book or my art!

Maybe you are not in a spending mood? Follow me on Instagram, tee hee… I do monthly giveaways—but you’ll only know about them if you follow me on Instagram!

What Wakes You Up?

An alarm wakes me up!

A few days ago it rained here so much that the septic system alarm for the building I live in roared to life in the middle of the night. Sometime between 1AM and 2AM the alarm began to blare and never shut off. As I understand it, the ground was so saturated that the system was on overdrive. The alarm is a precaution for users to, well, not flush…  This alarm woke me up!

The alarm kept ringing all night, the rain kept coming down, there was no respite from the noise. While it was still dark out, I put my headphones on and went into the factory studio to work. Only one building away. I could still hear the alarm, even through the headphones and music. At least now I was using my time productively instead of lying in bed in anger!

What wakes you up?

For some, this question might provoke worry, for the kids, finances, a lousy boss, health issues, and all sorts of other normal life moments. For others, the question, what wakes you up, might stir up wonderful passions and ideas!

Lately, I have been waking up excited to greet my day. I have a deep desire to get all sorts of ideas and projects out of my head and soul and onto the paper and into the world.

Sketchbook of Dorky Doodle Darlings, inside cover, on Etsy for $13

Last month I awoke eagerly each day to fill a small sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project in Brooklyn New York.

Awaking early each day to greet my studio practice. This time with my iPhone alarm, not the septic system, I enthusiastically created work as a factory worker would—unafraid of repetition and productive labor. My factory studio is a laboratory of labor and love. While a painting a day, a sketch a day, or a journal page a day may get finished, my work is never done.

Capturing fleeting moments in paint, ink, crayon, marker, or whatever tool sparks ideas is the joy in the business of putting the moments that capture my attention into place. Lately, my work has landed on sketchbook pages and watercolor paper. Simple squares, circles, dots, and lines nod to rivets, parts, and pieces of repetition and the building blocks of something bigger. Weaving these basic motifs into patterns and texture I invoke the viewer to look and wonder. Creating curiosity.

With the sketchbook project I added these motifs onto dorky doodle darlings—characters, if you will—creatures of my imagination.

This booklet is now available for sale in my Etsy shop. The end product is a bit wonky, rough around the edges, and not as polished as my usual work. Somehow, this seems right for this project.

However, the raw unfiltered nature of the end result kept me up at night! The evening after I hit “order now” I was already in the zone of, ugh…it is not good enough! No one will want it.

The order arrived and the booklet is ready for an audience.

I ought to allow the audience to decide if it is “good enough.”

What wakes me up at night?

Knowing I may now have inventory that will never reach the consumer. Yet, I have already begun my next project! While hoping there is an audience for the last one…

Along with the Dorky Doodle Darling Booklet I have also added coloring pages to my Etsy site! Be sure to check them out!

Here is Hipster Hiker! Just one of many!

©Suzanne Gibbs, 2018, Dorky Doodle People, Hipster Hiker, for sale as Original Art for $48 or as a coloring book page download file for $2.50 on Etsy.


Tune in next week for more information on the Doodle + Word + Ladder Project.

My last project was a book. My Year of Separation is the title. I mailed copies of it to customers all over the world this past week! Super exciting! If you are interested in the book: My Year of Separation, please order soon! Go to the Factory Store to order. I only have 2 copies left in the factory and I am not sure when I will order another print run.

Tell a Good Story

I read. A Lot. Tracking my reading in Goodreads because I can. You can follow me if you’re curious about the books I read.

How many of us heard these words of wisdom from our ninth grade English Literature teacher?

The best way to learn to tell a good story is to read. A lot.

To read 52 books was my goal this year. At this point I know I will surpass my 2017 goal. I finished Austin Kleon’s book: Newspaper Blackout last night – number 52. Through reading I will continue to work on learning how to tell a good story. I also write and/or journal daily. My youngest son feels that one of my greatest strengths is writing and that he’d like to see me write more books!

Let me know if you agree.

My dog is snoring next to me as I write this post. Her snorts are a lovely sound with the backdrop of heavy rain outside. It’s early and very dark out. I am sipping coffee with soy creamer and cinnamon sprinkled on top. I awoke ready to start my day, and so here I am…with you!

In the 5 sentences above, a story could evolve. I could take it further. Or not.

Is the Trump thing a good story? Is that why we listen to the drivel? Not knowing the ending. We can endlessly imagine endings. Actually not even knowing how the story started and got so far. So far.

In the 5 sentences above, a story could evolve. I could take it further. Or not.

Austin Kleon‘s weekly newsletter often has nuggets of wisdom. I saved this entry, knowing that one day I would write a blog about telling stories — George Saunders explains about how to tell a good story. So smart! Enjoy!

I have nothing more to say right now about telling a good story. However, if you are curious about what books I have read this year go here.

Thanks for reading.

PS. I get nothing for tooting Austin’s horn!