- Written by Susan
"Paint what you know" is a refrain often heard from successful artists. Well, when I painted this painting in 2003, all I knew was that I had a serious longing to capture on canvas the heady "take-your-breath away" feeling I remembered when I was in Aspen, Colorado 12 years earlier. That was the last time I had seen mountain peaks. Florida has a lot to offer but mountains - well, we're slightly above sea level where I live.
Now, I had been drawing and painting for a while before I decided to explore oil as a medium. For this grand painting I had planned, 37" by 49", there was no doubt in my mind that it must be done in oil. I purchased everything I needed, stretched my first canvas, and began, literally, to paint from the inside out - meaning, I painted from my heart. Color was very important to me - it had to feel cold - the snow had to have up-to-my knees depth - I wanted "white out" conditions - the mountain-top view needed to feel endless - all because that was the depth of my longing.
Well, I painted...scraped paint off...added more paint...took it off again - layered, layered and layered. For three weeks this went on. Much like a blizzard rails and rattles and consumes when it is in the throes of an arctic blast, I was consumed with this painting. How could I get the viewer to feel what I felt, me - my solitude - in a wondrous spot so vast? Well, in truth, I cannot get anyone to feel what I felt when I painted this, hard as I might try. Still, it is the back story to this painting, and hopefully not an overly sentimental one.
Prints and cards of this painting are available at Fine Art America.
- Written by Susan
"So the cliff looms large, leads to a waterfall/rocks all around, to crack bones like sticks/diamonds are forged, in the furnace mother earth, shining with brilliance, direct me to that path." (Excerpt)
Those words were not written by me before I painted this painting in 2004, but they reflect an internal struggle within me to this day, and within a lot of people I imagine, about risk taking - also about the insecurities of failing and not living up to others' expectations...of constantly pushing the envelope and making life unnecessarily difficult. Themes of the human condition provide endless opportunities for creative exploration for an artist. It's not always well received, though, and not typically the most marketable material; but for me, it has always been the most satisfying to paint.
Now, one might look at this painting and read into it some undercurrent of disdain - sacrilege. Obviously, when I painted this, I thought that might create a stir - here the risk - but in the end, conveying the message that the miracle of life is how often we are held aloft by Providence even while diving off of the "metaphorical" rocky cliffs - how this is even necessary to grow spiritually - well, in the end, this was the struggle I wanted this painting to explore.
"It's true I guess, there's peace with no ripple/when you don't skip stones, the water is a mirror/pushing the comfort limit, is risky business/failing to push at all, you get no-where."
Against the Flow
This painting is sold and no prints are available.
- Written by Susan
In 2005, I was living in Brooksville, Fl , living on a 5-acre plot surrounded by even larger plots and plenty of seclusion to paint. I had my own studio and no one around me to influence my painting. I was showing my work at the time; and is often common with artists, there can be a lot of isolation in between exhibits. Obscurity's Hunger is a darker theme - the large cityscape where homelessness is omnipresent yet overlooked because of indifference or desensitization but yet there is often acts of compassion. I was painting largely from memory of my visits to cities like Newark, NJ, Trenton, NJ and even New York City - Penn Station, as an example.
What I pulled from the threads of my memory of graphic scenes like this was the loneliness of isolation. I remember a book I had read - that the most important thing a human being needs in his/her existence is to be recognized and validated. Really, sometimes it can be as simple as a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, a warm embrace - but often much more - food, shelter, dignity.
This painting was not done to spotlight those in power who live for attention, or who seem to attract attention at every turn because of who they are and what people perceive they can get from them . Instead, this painting focuses more on the downtrodden, the isolated people who suffer publicly and often privately.
This painting was sold and no prints are available.