Category Archives: Studio Habits

Reason To Draw

Do you need a reason to draw?

Have you set in motion a resolution to draw more, make more art, write more, get better at painting or some other creative journey?

We are in the time of year for resolutions.

For some the resolution is loose weight, or make more money, or find a new job. In the circles I travel in, many people want to up their art practice, they want to draw better, or build on a skill that could make a difference in the art they make. This is all great. But I am also noticing that some people feel like there is a noose around their neck forcing them to think that they must draw and create or else they are not an artist. Or worse, not a worthy human being.

The best reason to draw is because you want to. You have something to say that is best expressed in ink and paint.

Still, you’re stuck. I can relate. Even if I used all my art supplies all year long, I might still have some supplies left over in 2020. Except sketchbooks!

Suzanne Gibbs ©2018, Face Detail, sketchbook page.

Last year when this happened to me—feeling stuck, blue, wanting to give up my creative practice—I simply decided to fill one sketchbook as messy as possible in one month. An anything goes mess. Some days I did nothing. Other days I furiously filled many pages. Then, at some point I began to draw over and even paint over previous days work. Essentially censoring myself or obliterating whatever it was I had to say.

Interestingly when I shared the work on-line the comments I got were that I am not at all messy! This was not what I expected, at all.

What I learned from the experience (I did several months in a row like this) was that I had some pent up emotions that needed a place to land. I used a lot of Stabilo woody crayons (child-like), collage (cutting up and putting things back together), and black or blue paint (moody).

The point is: I showed up as me to fill the pages.

I did not get all hung up in my head about who I think I should be as an artist. I did not project the idea of perfection in my voice. That monkey brain tried to tell me that I was wasting my time. I was simply keeping a promise to myself: fill a sketchbook as messy as possible in one month.

Of course some days I felt like I was wasting my time, I did the work anyway.

Now my sketchbooks are getting more “pretty” again. More focused and more drawing practice. Fine, this is good for now. And I will be OK with that time when I need to get moody and messy on the page again.

Give yourself permission to scribble like a child would, it is ok!

And if I haven’t sparked your desire to draw, maybe this article will!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Grid Face Fancy Hat, mixed media, 4 x 6 inches.

Thanks for reading, and please share your work with me! Anytime, anywhere.

Keep Your Monkey Happy

What are you going to do this week to keep your monkey happy?

Draw?

Stare out the window?

Sit in you comfortable studio chair?

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Grid Face Happy Monkey, mixed media, 4 x 6 inches.

Read an art book?

Make tea?

Sketch an idea?

Paint?

Eat too many cookies?

Complain?

Stretch a canvas?

Worry?

Order the supply you need to start your next project?

Skip a rope?

Make excuses?

Learn a new technique?

Is it the monkey that you want happy or you? Only you know what will work best for you to move your studio practice forward.

Choose to do that thing that makes your monkey away. We can’t wait to see what you make. Share and repeat. Your art makes a difference to many and to one—you!

Gramps or a Parrot and a Pirate

At first I saw a grandpa-like figure. Today, I see a parrot on the shoulder of a pirate!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Grid Face Gramps, mixed media, 4 x 6 inches.

As an artist I work hard to make sure I understand the work I am making. That I am being true to my aesthetics and visual voice.

On days like today when my own work surprises me, I am reminded why I love the use of visual communication. The variations on interpretation are endless and enchanting.

If you’re an artist, do you think about how other people perceive and react to your work or do you just go along making work and more work… never considering the audience?

Maybe the only audience is YOU!

I believe that all of our decisions as visual communicators matter. To make work that matters, the details matter. Work is executed from the very first light bulb of an idea and fleshed out, often in series. The completion of the project is a series of important decisions. All of what happens in the studio matters. What we have to say as artists, at any level, matters.

Do’no

I do’no much about many things, but I do know a thing or two about art!

  1. I love being in my studio making.
  2. I love viewing art, especially the tough stuff that makes me think beyond my current visual thinking strategies.
  3. I love being in community with other artists.
Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Grid Face Do’no, mixed media, 4 x 6 inches.

Naturally, to keep the love flowing, I keep making art, I view art regularly as a part of my studio habits, and I make a huge effort to hang out with other artists in person.

Yep, my life in a nutshell!

Happy Monkey

Friday’s are a great day to think about how we can add creativity to our weekend. Bonus: in the USA we are heading into a 3-day weekend!

More chances for doing fun stuff with art supplies.

Or maybe, making art is your job and on weekends the creative well-spring gets filled with:

  • nature hikes
  • extra rest
  • a movie
  • a good book
  • a fire
  • tea and cookies
  • time spent with friends and loved ones
Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Grid Face Happy Monkey, mixed media, 4 x 6 inches.

Whatever you do, make your life count. Create the life you live. Nurture yourself. (I know I need to strengthen this muscle.) Making art to make a happy you. The monkey might be happy too!

Search for possibilities and potencial.

Smile at the silly happy monkey you see here—we’re smiling back! Sending you joy via art.

Enough reading now, go be a happy monkey!

September 2018 Sketchbook

Suzanne Gibbs Art September 2018 Sketchbook is ready!

Each month I fill a sketchbook and share it here on my blog. Comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions are welcome!

My sketchbooks are made for ME, and generously shared!

  1. Sketchbooks are my dumpling ground.
  2. I see something that I feel like drawing. I pick up my sketchbook and chunky Stabilo Woodies, gouache paint, or watercolor and just make the mess that needs to be expressed!
  3. I do not have a plan for these pages.
  4. Sometimes the pages are ugly.
  5. Sometimes the pages are notes, because the paper happens to be the most handy paper around when I need it.
  6. Sometimes I am doodling or capturing ideas from phone calls.
  7. Anything goes!
  8. I do not rip pages out!
  9. I do not work in sequential order.
  10. I do sometimes go back to a page and add more to it on a totally different day.
  11. I sometimes vandalize my own work with a thick layer of paint or collage.
  12. My sketchbooks are raw and unedited work that lays the groundwork for more specialized fine art work.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2018, Face Detail, sketchbook page.


Suzanne Gibbs Art ©2018, video sketchbook tour.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2018, 1/2 Faces drawn in my sketchbook.

Page spread from September 2018 sketchbook of Suzanne Gibbs.

Walking While Musing, Episode 3

Thoughts on art and life while I am out hiking. Enjoy Episode 3 of Walking While Musing by Suzanne.

This musing focuses on the times when the path ahead feels too long and indecision needs an inner focus!

Along with a long walk comes a vary big reward at the conclusion. I view of the ocean from up high and share the view with you. Included is a full focus deep breath at the oceans edge. Please enjoy and feel free to comment.

 

Getting Organized—A Forever Task!

As an artist on the go, getting organized is a BIG job!

Currently, for me, organizing is a slap and dash activity! Rather than the sustained habitual method that I could cultivate.

Here is an example of under-organized or forgetful, you pick!

Yesterday I made a video of my work (I made the art earlier this year). I wanted to create content, share my art from a different vantage point, and generally look for ways to reach out and share what I do.

The whole time I was creating the video yesterday in PremirePro CC, I felt like this was the very first time I had ever created a video!

I shared yesterday’s video creation on YouTube then on social media announcing it as my first ever video!

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Explore Yes, paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75 x 4.75 inches, $65

Then I woke up this morning.

I have made 6 videos and posted them on YouTube! What?!?! SIX! When?

Clearly I need to be more organized, or get focused. What am I doing here? Why do people follow what I do? Why do I keep making art?

I want to get organized and stay hyper creative and generally free from structure—I treasure my flexible lifestyle.

BUT…

Here I am, it is August 1 and I am feeling the pressure. The pressure of 2018 coming to a close. We are well past the 1/2 way point of the year! This is about the time each year that I start asking myself questions. Questions like: have I reached my goals for myself? Did I sell enough art? How much is enough art to share my voice? Have I reached as many people as I’d like to? Do I have new goals for the back half of 2018?

There are new-old goals. Yes, I want to keep a smoother work flow. I’d like to solidify my daily habits. A wonderful miracle would be for my art business to be organized and linear.

This all eludes me!

Nothing is linear or smooth. Habits do help! Being organized could help even more!

To complicate things I have been living in two places for nearly two years now (October will be my 2 year anniversary of not living in one place). This is a whole other story!

I wonder if I should buy and use a mobile art studio!

I even want to get all the ideas and stuff I read online organized in electronic format so that I can share info through my books and blog posts. But what about starting with organizing my own content online!?! Clearly this ought to take priority!

Today I added a page to my website. There are links to all my videos, not just the one I made yesterday!

One organizational task—off my list!

Getting organized is a forever task, but I started with one thing today.

Thanks for reading. Now it’s time for me to get even more organized! Or make more art!

 

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!