There’s nothing like having a venue accept your art with hours of work and love poured into it, to be shown for all to enjoy. Small or large venue, it doesn’t matter, it’s always a great feeling.
I recently had my series, “Glass Menagerie” along with a few other pieces, chosen to be shown at The Huntington Memorial Library, a lovely library in my area. Set in an historical building, it’s a beautiful place to have my art pieces on display. I chose this series specifically because it’s paintings of animals. And what other place could be more perfect for artwork of animals? Adults and children alike will be visiting and enjoying them.
I also contributed a small piece to an online art project called “We Are All Connected” hosted by a woman named; Beatricia Sagar. Artists were asked to participate by designing artwork on a puzzle piece that will be added to many others, as a way to show connections and beauty during this incredibly crazy time in history. I was humbled by Ms. Sagar’s kind words about my piece, and look forward to it being added to this incredible exhibit.
It’s especially gratifying for me right now, as I have returned to outside work after a fairly long time away due to the pandemic. And while my household appreciates the income, and I am grateful for the opportunity, my heart, my love of art is taking a hit. It always takes a while to adjust to a new job and then to find the time and energy for anything else, much less something that takes so much emotional as well as physical energy, is difficult.
I know once I get used to the job I’ll be able to find that elusive energy and space in my life, but for now it has to wait. In the meantime, it’s good to know that I’m still connected to my art and other artists, and am able to share my art with them and others.
Thank you for reading my little blog, stay safe and healthy. And if you’re interested in purchasing any of my art pieces, please visit my Etsy shop at etsy.com/shop/omordah, or contact me. You can also purchase products like phone cases, yoga mats and notebooks with my artwork on them at pixels.com under Susan M.L. Moore
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!
Creativity, where to even start. Although I am, and have always been an artist, I’ve never really thought of myself as “creative”. I see all of the things that people come up with, the different ways they express their art, and I think, ‘wow, I wish I’d thought of that.’ For many years I considered myself more of an illustrator. Shinning a light on human activities, and foibles, and in particular painting portraits.
Putting a subject in a setting that fit with them in some way, made the portraits more interesting to the viewer, but faces in particular, have always intrigued me. Eyes being the “windows to the soul” and all that. But is it “creative”?
About, well let’s say a long time ago, I started taking commissions for portraits, most often of people’s kids. At that time I was honing my skills in the medium of color pencil, trying to learn how to make them look as real as possible. Humorous fashion choices aside, with each portrait I tried to become more proficient.
I was commissioned to do the above portrait for a friend, way back in the day. It was one of my first color pencil portraits. (A little bit “uncanny valley”, but hey, practice and all that.) It was a bit more difficult given that my friend didn’t have one recent photo of her two daughters together. I had her give me as many photos of them that she had, and basically cobbled it together. I didn’t have people actually “sit” for me, especially kids as I was slow. Although, I often had to do things like this for commissions, most of the time, I was using photos, and this is the opposite of creativity. But maybe, not entirely. “Cobbling things together” took some creativity I suppose.
As I’ve mentioned before, art had to come after, and sometimes between life, raising kids, work, moving, (a lot), pets, etc.. But I worked on my art as often as possible, as well as finding ways to incorporate it into my life. So I guess, that took some creativity, heheh. For example, for a few years, I worked as a visiting artist at schools all around my area. I did this a few days a week, after my “regular” work, often times picking up my youngest daughter a little early from school, to assist me with the after school art classes. I also taught an adult color pencil theory class in the carriage house of the arts center near me, as well as a short class for a convention of teachers at a local hotel. That was fun. (Not sure if the sarcasm translates.)
On one occasion, I joined a group of people at our local arts council, and set up some of my work on the lawn of their site. An older woman approached me to ask if I had any paintings of old barns. Apparently she grew up on a farm locally, that no longer existed. I told her that I didn’t but would be happy to paint one for her. This turned into an extremely large painting incorporating, her family’s farm, the barn, cousins and other family riding high on a hay wagon, her mother in the garden, the “main house” across the road, and “Petunia the Cow”. Again this was done in color pencil. It was quite large for a color pencil portrait. It was 4′ x 3′. I finished it, feeling proud of what I had accomplished, and also gained a total of six other portraits for her family. The photo isn’t very good, as I took it at the framer’s and as it was heavy tried to get a photo while it was lying down, hence the distortion.
I began to do fairly well, and was getting commissions on a regular basis, including doing multiple portraits for some of the same people, as well as doing portraits of people’s pets. Though working with color pencil on large portraits, was difficult and sometimes tedious. I did feel that I was accomplishing something in what I felt was my chosen field. Yet I still had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t working to my potential, or with enough creativity.
Eventually, I transitioned away from color pencil, and returned to my roots of working with oils.
We moved often which meant that I had to find new clients. It wasn’t easy, especially as at that time social media wasn’t what it is now. I did gain new commissions, again painting multiple portraits for some of the same people. I also tried to stretch my painting chops. The above painting was completely from imagination. That may not seem like much but for me it meant a step toward more spontaneity.
I’ve noticed that there were distinct periods of my art. In between these “periods” occasionally, for whatever reason, I didn’t work on my art for long stretches of time. And after each period of time, I emerged feeling better able to “create” in I what felt was a more proficient and personal way.
At one time I was also a working writer. Nothing fantastic, I never published my fantasy mid grade reader, called Skara Brae. But I did finish it, and I had various articles published in magazines, as well as worked for a newspaper for a summer. (That’s another story).
Creativity, I have found, comes in many many forms. I realized that the book I wrote was creative. But maybe just not creative enough. After five years of nonstop work, I set writing aside for a while, and concentrated on my painting.
Along the way, after one of those break periods, I decided to try something that I had always admired, but felt that I just wouldn’t be able to do. I decided, what the heck, if I’m not happy with it, at least I tried. This was the beginning of my abstract period.
This painting is the first of what I consider abstract, that I did. After my son took me and my granddaughter to New York City for our birthdays, (both in April), I painted this city scene for him.
Looking back I see now that this was creative. I did it entirely in one sitting, from my imagination. I felt really good about this, and he loved it.
I then did this painting of a Romany Cart, and a Vanner horse. It’s done in a more dreamy fantasy style. These paintings made me feel a new freedom with my art, and I was hooked. (Unfortunately, the photos I have of it are somewhat blurry.) There is quite a bit more detail on the cart. Which may make this a blending of styles.
Abstract art could be considered one of the most creative of arts. Having been an artist for so long, I do feel that I have an “eye” for if something is “good” or not. Of course everything is subjective, and what appeals to one person, may not appeal to another. However, I do know what I like. Throwing caution to the wind, I got some acrylics. I figured, I could work in a quicker and more spontaneous way than I was used to, while pushing myself to be as accurate and true to what I envisioned, in a more flowing, and natural way.
I still strive for that elusive “creativity”, and I suppose I always will, but I do feel I’ve gotten closer.
Thank you for reading my blog. If you’re interested in any of my paintings or wish to commission me to do a painting, please DM me, or check out my Esty site. etsy.com/shop/omordah
Bye for now, and stay safe, while waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Due to the Memorial Day weekend, and various and sundry other things that have come up this week, I am again posting some drawings “From The Sketch Book”. I hope to have time next week to regale you with a more in depth post, but for now I hope you enjoy this short post for your viewing pleasure. While flipping through my sketch book, I decided to share some sketches I have done of various birds. Gliding Swan, above is my favorite. Which do you like?