I have been a part of the sketchbook skool community since 2014! What an honor to be interviewed for a student spotlight recently! Thank you SBS for ALL you do to help others to nurture their creativity. (more…)
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!
I wanted to quiet down, live slower in this episode.
My videos focus on thoughts on art and life while I am out and about. Enjoy Episode 8 of Musings While Walking by Suzanne. This musing focuses on being quiet and sitting to rest. I filmed it in October of 2018. Releasing the video in December seems even more appropriate with short days and the busy holiday season.
I never did slow down after I filmed this, and as a result I am writing this blog post bundled in blankets with a large box of Kleenex next to me. Nursing a cold in the cold of Montana.
In early October 2018, I traveled to Golden Colorado to go to an Art Mastermind Workshop.
The reason for the trip was to gain clarity on the future of my work as an artist. The focus of the art mastermind workshop was primarily on business practices artists can use to sell more art. A lucky few walked away with 6 month master-plans for their business. This did not happen for me. Something bigger happened.
Pluses from the art mastermind sessions.
- A room full of motivated artists learning from one another and sharing business success practices.
- Alyson B. Stanfield and Cynthia Morris—2 dynamic coaches that really want the best for their clients.
- Learning how much I had to share with others + how passionate I am about the success of other artists’ careers.
- The evening events were fun! See picture below from a boutique shopping party.
Minuses from the overall experience.
- Two days of art mastermind workshop material felt really short for the amount of travel time I took to be there (2 flights plus 2, 4-hour car rides). I might have liked another 1/2 day morning session.
- I felt uncomfortable emotions while listening to other artists. Particularly when hearing how other artists sabotage themselves.
- My workshop takeaway came to me a few days after the event.
As I was preparing for the art workshop my intent was to listen, observe, and gather as much information from as many people as possible. Thinking I’d be the silent one, with little to add to the discussion, I was wrong.
The art mastermind workshop was a magic room. I learned how passionate I am about helping others to succeed in their art practices and business.
I would have thought that my passion would be obvious to myself after 30+ years of teaching art to people of all ages. Instead, I had to learn this through how stuck I felt attempting to focus on things I thought I was supposed to do. Things like approaching galleries and other venues to show my work, or planning open studios or art and craft festival participation in 2019. Ugh, no! Sure, I want to show and share my work. I am generous! I do not make my work for my eyes alone. But I have never ever been excited about hustling to get my work in public. Not ever! I have had shows, oh yes! The best ones were when I was approached to show my work, not when I did the approaching.
I am getting off track here.
I enthusiastically endorse the Art Mastermind Workshop retreats with Alyson. You may walk away with a new 6 month focus, or like me, you may walk away with a new business plan all together. Either way, do the work and you will see results when you put yourself in a room to study art business practices with 20+ motivated and ambitious artists.
Thank you Alyson B. Stanfield!
Most of my followers know by now that I closed the doors to Silly Girl Factory. The question I keep getting is why? Aren’t you going to keep making art?
The answer is yes, yes I am and I will keep making art.
I will keep making art under my own name: Suzanne Gibbs.
My art will now only be sold through me or my website.
Basically, these are the only changes. All other changes are hair splitting categories and arbitrary divisions.
I will keep making art, because I love sharing the work I do!
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.
45 Dorky Doodle Darlings. Ready for the next step! 100% excited, not sure why I made 45 when I need 50! Must cut more paper and make extra, because when I work there are always a few pieces that do not make the final cut! Drawings on paper and painted with gouache. They may get some special treatment with markers, they may not. Either way it felt really good today to be in a productive zone with my work. #drawingfactory #paintingfactory #creativeinspiration #gouachepainting #sbsadrawingaday #sketchbook #drawfromaprompt #sketchart #sillygirldraws #sillygirlmakesart #penandpaper #dailyprocess #mydailyprocess #showingupforinspiration #allowingtheinspirationin #dailyhabit #topofmind
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!
I am hesitant to share this, and also quite excited! I was recently commissioned (I don’t usually take commissions, more on this later) to do a series of paintings depicting dogs! Not just any dogs, but much loved family pets. So here I am, in April, writing a contract to create: Pet Portraits! PS the client approached me for a year before I finally acquiesced! A year, umm maybe longer… anyway…
Painting pet portraits was something I never thought I’d find myself doing, ever.
Then I did. The series of pet portraits is finished and I love how they turned out! I love how the idea of creating “colorful art” (the clients wishes for the work) with black and white dogs as the subject pushed my imagination! Below are two images from this new series of work.
I am happy that I was able to hold onto my more recent style of working in ink and watercolor, see the Reassemble Series for more of this type of work, but that I was also able to move myself into a new-ish direction—using my many years of abstract painting (see my blog from 2012) combined with drawing, painting, and collage elements to create super fun and expressive pet portraits.
I am hoping you want to see more of this series!
More Pet Portraits?! Sure, why not? Here you are:
He really wants that ball… and the cone of shame prevents access!
Then there is the “playground” or the dog park!
You know that feeling when you are the new kid on the playground? Oh, it is so so hard! So much work goes into being accepted into the play!
I often feel like the little dog in the corner.
Sob sob, sniff… Why? Because I make art and write books, but I have yet to figure out my “niche market” or my “one best style.”
Will I be making more pet portraits? I am not sure! The process of working with a client was and is wonderful for me, I love the collaboration that goes into a project such as this one! It reminds me a lot of my days, many moons ago, as a graphic designer. I was good at that work, and I actually loved it… not sure how I veered off path, but I did!
I have since taken many art classes, taught art, made more art than I ever imagined I’d have time or ideas for, and I even finished my MFA! Getting a master of fine art was, at the time, the coup d’état of my career! My final thesis show was 5 years ago last week! Five years and still searching…
Searching for an elusive audience that wishes to purchase my work and live with it in their homes and offices. If you’re reading this, you are already likely one of my “tribe” that has purchased either my art or my books. I hope you know how grateful I am to every customer and client.
Do you have a pet?
I do pet portraits! Ha ha, only kidding! I do work. Work that calls to me, work that others request, and most of all I work on being the best artist that I know how to be. I am not too proud to take on pet portraits or any kind of work that makes my heart sing along with the people I serve.
I continue to search in order to make this life of creating sustainable. Whether my work is self-directed or in collaboration such as these pet portraits, I will continue. I will make work.
Can I interest you in some Art?
This blog post is dedicated to the people who have shared their 100% kind words with me about my newest book: My Year of Separation. Testimonials are so sweet to receive as a creative! I cannot even tell you how happy they make me.
If you wrote a testimonial or a comment on social media and I did not include it here, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I did not go searching far and wide for the kind words, they are already in my heart. They matter. You count, even if your words aren’t shared here!
After I share testimonials below, there are images from my Instagram feed, giving my blog readers a chance to see what I wrote about the book after publishing the work.
So, without further comment, here are some testimonials on My Year of Separation.
Today I finished the book My Year of Separation by Suzanne Gibbs. I’ve been slowly reading it since it arrived because it’s a book to be savored. I’m so touched by Suzanne’s continuing journey of self discovery, some of which I’m doing personally but without moving, injury or pain. She is not only brave in her writing but also in her deeds. My hat is off to her. Do yourself a favor & order a copy for yourself! —Mary Ahern
I loved your raw honesty and the fact that you put into words what a lot of Mom’s feel but wouldn’t say. There is a lot about what a Mom does that feels very thankless and wears you out. It helped by putting into words that feeling that people have. I can’t however imagine everything you had to deal with with your son’s accident.
I go to Ireland each Fall and stay for 6 weeks. It started out being more for work and I still do all that but I have to say I love being alone and relying on myself for this period. I totally understood you wanting to be alone. Nice job! I plan to pass my copy along to someone else and request that they do the same. Hopefully they will read it and love it as I did and then recommend others to buy it. —Margaret Fischer Dukeman
A bold, impressive journey—the journey being the point.
Gibbs’ longtime craving, a hiatus from others’ needs and her own expectations, proved to be bumpy, courageous and raw. Deliberately exposing herself by her determination to journal through it, with candid honesty she revealed her extreme vulnerability, the strength to accept her own imperfections, and, perhaps the most difficult—to allow love in—of strangers, loved ones, and particularly of herself. She bravely stepped through her own looking glass. There’s a saying floating around, nowadays: What others think about you is none of your business. This was a gift of one person’s emergence. Kudos. —N. McBride
An small book, deceptively appearing to be a quick read, but instead drawing you in to really thinking about what is being told to you.
As you follow Suzanne through her honest and gutsy pursuit of who she is, and who she needs to be, you search for parallels, and find an echo, while admiring her courage to face the quest so head on. It has not been an easy journey. Circumstances made her face pain and fear, with no chance of avoidance, no choices but to find the coping skills to “get through to the other side”.
Suzanne clearly brings out that no matter where we are now, or where we are headed, the answers are within us, but we have to have the courage to look, and accept the uncertainty and the trepidation that comes with giving space to your inner chatter. Her art and need to write have become her survival skills, but at the same time have become her support and joy while she uses them as tools to clear the path she needs to follow. Insightful.
Take the time to read this. —A reader in Napa, CA
The next 10 orders of my book 📖 My Year of Separation will get a gift of Peace and Calming essential oil and the book shipped directly from my studio signed by me! Suzanne Gibbs. Ooooohhhh aaaahhhh! #essencialoils @younglivingeo thanks for your wonderful products. #book #bookauthor #author #selfpublished books for healing and healthy living.
I have had a wonderful time hearing everything people have had to say about My Year of Separation after reading the essays. #Touching #Vulnerable #Honest #Gutsy All I can say is, wow thanks! And I also hope I can reach more readers. I basically wrote from a place of pain and a need for growth. Then I decided to be brave and share the work that came from this place. The reward is hearing that my words matter to others! #book #author #bookauthor #selfhelp #bookofessays #growth #recalibration #selfpublish #family #pain #movingthroughpain #writing to #heal #etsyauthor #etsyseller Available from my Etsy shop and direct from my website! Signed copies.
Essay number 2 in My Year of Separation. A detail. Is there enough information here that you feel like you'd like to read more? You can. Order your copy. Links in profile. #book #author #bookauthor #selfhelp #bookofessays #growth #recalibration #selfpublish #family #pain #movingthroughpain #writing to #heal #etsyauthor #etsyseller #hibernate #insight #newdirection #quiet #alone #learn
My Year of Separation is authored AND illustrated by yours truly—Suzanne Gibbs! Shop owner of Silly Girl Factory. This chapter deals with the impossibility of separation from excess weight—so instead I sit and drink coffee and write. But honestly there is much more to it than that! You'll need to read the book to get more information. Not sure any book is written without coffee! Maybe, but not many! 🙂 #book #author #bookauthor #selfhelp #bookofessays #growth #recalibration #selfpublish #family #pain #movingthroughpain #writing to #heal #etsyauthor #etsyseller #illustratedbook #coffeedrinker #coffeelover #writeanddrink
Why not show you the back cover of my book! LOL Yes! Why not! OK you've seen it! Now does it make you interested in what is going on inside? LOL Maybe? Maybe you usually read the back cover first when you are in a book store! Well, here you go! I give you that option online. Reading pleasure. Like what you see? Go to my profile to order your copy of My Year of Separation. I ship daily! #book #author #bookauthor #selfhelp #bookofessays #growth #recalibration #selfpublish #family #pain #movingthroughpain #writing to #heal #etsyauthor #etsyseller #backcoverfirst #read #readbooks #supportauthors #findhappy #healingfromtrauma
Is a book bundle better than 1 book! Well, of course it is!!! #read #readbooks #enjoybooks #illustratedbooks #book #author #bookauthor #selfhelp #bookofessays #growth #recalibration #selfpublish #family #pain #movingthroughpain #writing to #heal #etsyauthor #etsyseller #doodlebook #dorkydoodle #illustrator #bookbundle #funbook
Book Bundle Available in Etsy Shop.
Tomorrow at 9AM PST I will read a chapter from the book on Facebook. Be there to hear the author read her words.
Recently I spoiled myself by asking for feedback of my art through Facebook and Instagram. I wanted others to tell me what they see when they view my work. See, I told you I spoiled myself! Who asks for direct feedback? Ha ha, I do! and did!
First: Thank you to everyone who commented! I love my followers so very much!! You’re my awesome tribe and my community.
Here is a partial list of people that told me what the see in my work:
Lynn Goldstein I have so enjoyed your posts on Instagram! Your work is fresh, interesting, and thought provoking to view.
Mickey Baxter Spade Hi Suzanne, your work is so fun! Looking forward to seeing/reading more.
Josie Zappia-Hotz Definitely whimsical!
Libby Contreraz Avant Garde!
Susan C. Lindberg I enjoy your whimsical drawings – they highlight your playful side. 😁 Susan
Kim Henigman Bruce Imagination.
That’s it! Others tell me what they see. Thank you!
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!
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!
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.