Advance and Retreat

Painting stage, lost under other paint.

I’m getting cool emails from my friend Travis, full of big dreams and symbols.  Things are popping in his spirit. Travis is an interesting guy, so Etruscan pot shards and kabbalistic alphabets are involved.  These are times in life when everything makes sense, moves forward and is enlivened by meaning.  Your intuition is part of the great Round, and you feel it. Life advances.

It’s a bit like travel.  What makes travel, travel?  It’s that we are living intensely, noticing things, sorting them out, digesting them.  The days are charged with meaning, and often, pleasure.  We advance into fields of unfolding metaphors.  It’s risky and interesting. As one of my teachers said, “That’s why you call it risk-taking.  Otherwise it would be ‘sure-thing taking.'”

Discarded monotype.

I’ll take a risk here, not knowing who I’ll offend: any real painting is a journey where you might not know where you end up.  I’ve been listening to Brene′ Brown’s interview on creativity, risk, and criticism.  Well, as benign as it may seem to risk something in painting– after all, it’s only a surface and pigment— I, and so many others, will clutch and stutter and smother when it comes to taking a true risk.  Because we will fail.

Yes, we will fail:  that’s one thing that Brown insists on.  There’s no way to mitigate the risks: no perfect paint or brush, no perfect teacher or color scheme.  But we will sometimes have a glorious “yes,” a breakthrough, which is burned into our happiness like a shining brand.

All the pictures of work you see in this blog are failures.  They never made it to maturity, but were stages later obliterated, or discarded.  Yet they have their integrity as individual marks. They have a transient beauty, like most of life.

I am interested in teaching how to retain the flow of unconcious, or vision, in painting.  At the same time, I love the finished product, so I’m  also into working with archival materials, frames, shows and showing.   But the finished product is only a product without intuitive vision lighting the way.  Because who are you painting for, anyway?  You are painting for yourself, and a tiny handful of other artists and humans you love and respect.

Painting, unfinished stage, later lost.

I’ve long wanted to link abstract painting with dreams,  vision and intuition, and to teach it. I’m teaching an intuitive painting retreat in a beautiful locale in Calistoga in October.  I’ll be keeping you up to date here in the blog as I develop my ideas on intuitive vision in painting, and how to take the risk. Oh, and Travis will be there!

Current Events:

Thursday April 20, 6-10 PM. Against Trumpism:  The Art and Poetry of Resistance. Museum of International Propaganda, San Rafael, CA. I have a painting in this exhibit.

Friday May 5, 5-8 PM.  First Friday Open Studio in SOFA Arts District, Santa Rosa. Join me for an informal evening of art.  Many studios are open in the neighborhood.  map/directions

Friday June 2, 5-8 PM and Saturday June 3, 12-5 PM.  Art and Absinthe.  Drop by my studio in the SOFA Arts District, Santa Rosa, on Friday or Saturday, to partake in a drop of the legendary art drink, Absinthe, see art, and hang out.  Add a Saturday visit to me to your Art at the Source plans!  map/directions

4 thoughts on “Advance and Retreat

  1. Suzanne, I am so very glad that you are writing again. Such a relief to find reality in your words and mages in a world where reality has so often become invasive distortion.

    I want to share with you a bit of a speech I made last year when I received an award, for contributing to the culture through the arts, in the Bahamas. I am speaking to young college of art students.

    It seems pleasantly appropriate to me to share this with you, first time I’ve sent it further. You and I have never met, yet you are an inspiring friend to me.

    Rosi Lovdal Sarasota, Florida and Oslo, Norway

    “Art is absolutely necessary! Art is vital. All art forms are absolutely necessary and crucial to our Being. Just think how one dimensional our lives, our cultures would be without the arts. Art in all its forms is a medium for dialogue, reflection, inquiry into the Mystery of Us. Who we are. Who we want to be. What do we see? What do we feel? What awakens in us?

    Artists hold up the mirrors that catch the shadows in the corners that we otherwise may not see. Artists hold up the mirrors that reflect the brilliant light back to us of who we are. Of where we have been. Of who we are becoming.

    And here you are! Students at a College of Art! Just think of the privilege!! The magnificent privilege that you have the opportunity to consider yourselves artists, to be supported in becoming our interpretors, our visionaries, the ones who inspire us and show us the way into the Mystery of Us.

    Keep your courage. Do not lose your reverence and exhilaration for this wondrous world around you. Keep reflecting and inquiring and expanding your own vision, your own version of reality. Stay with creative tension, don’t run from it to a safe place, stay with those moments of creative chaos, they are teaching you something. Yes, of course, you will question yourself. And then move forward.
    Keep your courage. Keep your heart open. “


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s