Most years when October rolls around I take part in an October art challenge. This year I chose to go with one that was hosted by a site online called JustTheZoooUs, an animal review podcast by Ellen and Christian Weatherford. They called it “Animal Artober”. There are many prompts posted by people which is nice because you can pick one that you feel interested in doing, or even make up one of your own! You also don’t have to be bound by doing one in October.
That being said, I found the one I chose to do to be a lot of fun and interesting. Although it took me a while to get into the flow because I had a lot going on, and on a few of the prompts I veered from the animal theme. But they did mention in the challenge that it’s OK to do your own interpretation :).
Here is the prompt list.
I thought I’d make a little game out of it and mix up the pictures, and let you the viewer decide which picture goes with which prompt. I think most of them are pretty obvious, but it should still be a fun little diversion. If anyone would like, I can do a match up list sometime, so you can see how you did. Let’s go!
After being home due to Covid19 safety issues at my place of work, for some time, I now find myself searching for work, at an age when I should be planning my retirement. I won’t go back to my previous job as even in the best of times, it is a dangerous, mentally and physically exhausting job. I continued to work at my art, upping the game as much as possible in order to somehow make a living at what I know I am very good at, and love.
Contrary to all of the hype, although it seems that the art world is thriving, I would say it is just the opposite. Inundated with kitschy and an anything is art attitude (which honestly who can say?), it is harder and harder for people to dig through the logjam to find the truly good, or even what they would like to own. But we artists carry on, as it’s in our blood, and do whatever it takes to get our work “out there”. Aside from trying to survive, we truly want people to enjoy our work. We want it to be seen.
The job market is very tough right now, also contrary to what is said. The one good side effect is that some employers are starting to understand that they have to offer a fair wage. I live in a small town where the jobs are either medical, retail/restaurant, or college with a few office related options. For two of those they require specific qualifications, for retail you have to have low self esteem or massive desperation, and for office jobs, mostly luck and to be quick. I managed to find one that appealed to me, as I am also a writer. But it is only part time, and seems that it will mostly be filing. Oh and just minimum wage, and no benefits. I find out tomorrow if they are interested in me, but am I interested in them? Yes it would allow me more time for my family and art, but it really isn’t enough pay, as well as the filing aspect along with being in a very tiny office with two other people.
While trying to decide what to do in regard to the office job, if offered, I did the usual pros and cons thing, which includes the fact that I am the major bread winner in my household. I also did the asking the universe what I should do, thing. The office position should seem perfect, but something just doesn’t feel right about it. And that’s not good. It could just be normal hesitation due to having been out of work for so long. But I don’t think so.
Then the universe did something, I received a request to do a commission. It’s still at the very early stage of price negotiation etc. But having it pop up like that when it has also been a while for that, makes me hesitate even more about the office gig. Some might say, “a bird in the hand” and all that, and “do both” (which even five years ago was no big deal…) but something tells me to trust in myself, and do what feels right, and not get into a situation where I’m trying to do it all, for minimum wage. I guess another night to sleep on it might help.
Thanks for reading my art life ramblings. Stay well!
If you are interested in commissioning a one of a kind art piece to treasure, please contact me. You can DM me here on WordPress. Or DM me on my Instagram page ( which I tend to be on more often) at, instagram.com/susanm.l.mooreartist . You can also purchase my art on Etsy at etsy.com/shop/omordah
Throughout history artists have been compelled to create and recreate the beauty and pathos surrounding them in their daily lives. We are often awed by the discoveries of art found on walls and in caves in remote and nearly inaccessible places around the world. They are stunning and mysterious.
A personal favorite of mine are the caves of Lascaux. The beauty of these works of art is astounding. And we wonder what they were for, what they meant to the ancients who went deep into these caves to create these incredible works of art. Often in dark and not easily accessible places. One of the images of bulls, in the “Hall of Bulls” is 17 feet long and almost as tall. This meant that these ancient peoples had to build some kind of scaffolding. This was important to them. They were cognoscente of a future. Or was it just that inborn need in some of us, at it’s most basic, to draw, or paint the things that grab our attention? I feel it’s not just a mental thing to recreate or create, it’s physical.
Around the world we see examples that have transcended time. And then those that have been lost to evil and misguided men, such as the once World Heritage Site, and treasure I had dreamed of seeing in person, The Buddhas of Bamiyan. (My heart still aches over this.). I was born a little too late for the “hippie silk road”, and now they are gone. There are other astounding examples of ancient Buddhas around the world and I hope they never suffer the same fate.
The history of art is complicated and vast. And now during this world wide pandemic, one side effect has been the staggering amount of people showing up with their art. I am on a well known platform, and made a separate one to post and highlight my artwork. In the last year, I feel that the amount of people on this platform alone has grown astronomically. How does one not get lost in the noise? The styles, forms and levels of skills, knowledge and choices is endless.
Then there are what might be considered fads. One example, is “pour painting”. I suppose every new form of art has to be scrutinized to gain acceptance. Today most of us think of Impressionism as a classic form of art. But when it first started to become popular, not only were the practitioners of it, considered poor artists, but they were banned from exhibiting them! I have to say, that although I think pour painting looks like it might be fun to try, and some of the finished products look pretty good, it doesn’t sit well with me.
There are a few things about it that bother me. First and foremost, I find it unacceptably wasteful. In most cases, more than three times again amount of paint is used to make the picture. This extra is then literally poured down the drain. As someone who has tried diligently over the years to find better, safer, and more environmentally safe ways to create my art, I find this distressing.
Normally I would say that ‘there is room for everyone’. But during this pandemic between unemployment and social media, the ‘everyone’ has grown exponentially. The ratio of art lovers and buyers to artists has always been a problem, but now it may be a crisis. This could force artists to do their best, or it may be forcing the truly great artists out of the game, leaving only the mediocre.
Then there is the fact of having worked, suffered blood, sweat and tears, and upheaval to continually improve my art and there are now thousands of people using this simple, wasteful technique, and forming a further glut in the artworld. There will always be some artists better than other artists. And as an artist, I learned a long time ago to only compete with myself. I know when I’m happy with it, and that’s what matters. But it is getting harder and harder to be seen.
I wonder what the “world of art” will be like in the distant future. I hope that despite the glut of mediocre artwork and fads of today, that the great artist’s legacies of our time will shine through and future people will be in as much awe of what they have done, as we are in awe of those past great artist.
Thank you for reading this. Please visit my art IG page susanm.l.mooreartist. DM me if interested in any of my work, or if you would like to commission a piece. I would love to work with you!
Some time ago I became fascinated with the life story of Beatrix Potter. A story that had for the most part become forgotten amidst the mythos of her popular children’s stories.
At the time I had been writing pretty much non stop. Writing stories for magazines, and small publications. I did a lot of research into her life, and the more I read, the more interesting it became to me. I also had a thing for sheep, heheh. I had always wanted to live in the country and loved these funny, sweet creatures.
I began to write a feature about her, and her life before she became known only for her children’s books. It was sad, and interesting, and sometimes weird. She overcame a very lonely childhood, and was able to study her passion for science at a time when women were considered unintelligent children. She had actually begun her study of science as a child, doing some things that today especially, would be considered bazaar and even grotesque. I wrote my feature in a fictional, and sometimes humorous style.
She eventually married, and as she got older she began raising a certain breed of sheep, called Herdwick sheep, on her farm. She became a well known figure in the town where she lived, and then known as Mrs. Heelis ‘O the Fells. And this is what I named my article.
I had done some sketches in pen and ink for the article, which, though small, are some of my favorite art pieces. I think this is because I really fell in love with her story and these fuzzy, beautiful sheep.
I never got sheep, I guess other things were meant for me. But looking back at this article is a nice memory.
I hope you and yours are well, staying safe and are able to make happy new memories every day.
This is a color pencil portrait I did years ago of a much loved cat that we had. When we adopted him, he was about a year old. Out of all of the cats that we saw, he was the only one that wasn’t reaching toward us, or shrinking away, he was just…watching and was so cute. But also there was just something different about him. When I walked up to him he let me pet him, started to purr and rubbed against my hands. We brought him home to our other pets. He was so interested in them, and calm. Someone had named him Bic, (after the pen?), kind of silly. Being a Tuxedo cat, I get it but… We were going to change it, but eventually decided that it suited him. He was very human like, and even people who said that they didn’t like cats, loved him, and his strong personality. He was smart, and sweet, and welcomed anyone to our home, human or otherwise. Years after he passed, when people would get together, they would still talk about him, everyone loved him.
At the time that I did this portrait, I was very into using color pencil. It can be slow, and tedious, but also somehow satisfying. I used Prismacolor pencils which have a rich, creamy texture. Looking at this, it gives me the feeling that revisiting color pencil would be fun.
I hope you and yours are doing well, and as things “open up” again, remember to continue to be careful as you enjoy getting back to it.