Well, it’s been a while since I posted here, and I hope all is well for all of you. I had returned to work, (a new job), and although it is a better job, it is very tiring both mentally and physically, as well as having a regular work week, as opposed to four ten hour days that I had before. That “extra” day a week really made a difference when it came to painting. Finding the energy to create as well as post about my art, has been difficult, but I’m happy to say that I’m slowly getting back on track! So for all of my awesome fellow creators and followers, here is a watercolor I just finished along with some photos from it as a WIP, to get things rolling.
Etsy on strike
This is just a quick note to say that, in solidarity with my fellow Etsy sellers, I have put my Etsy shop on hold. Etsy who has greater than four million (!) sellers, has again made a ridiculous hike in their percentage fees of over 30% !
If you are interested in purchasing any of my art, please contact me here or through my Instagram site, susanm.l.mooreartist . Thank you for your understanding!
The Future Meaning of Art
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!
Stay safe and well.
Throw Back Thursday Tidbit
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.
Going Down To The Crossroads
No, not that crossroads. Though the “devil is definitely in the details”. Being at a crossroads with your art, or writing, or whatever creative things you do, is always a nail biting, angst ridden moment. And hopefully that’s all it is, a moment, a short period of time in your life where you may be questioning your creative ventures, your style, inspiration, or if you even want to continue. It can be a confusing and scary time.
OK so zombies may not be the best example, but they are scary and confusing.
In the course of my career as an artist, I’ve had many of these crossroad moments. In particular ones that in hindsight seem to coincide with that seven year evolution we all go through, uh, every seven years. (Proven, look it up). Not that I don’t have other “moments” in between, because I do, and have. But the big ones do fit that pattern. Currently I am going through it again. I should have realized as I have had a hard time concentrating, and finding inspiration, or ambition. At first I blamed it on this last, long year of Covid19 and isolation. You have to feed the beast, and being home all the time is not conducive to that. Hence my thinking that that was the only reason. It is a huge reason, but not the only one.
Recently, one of my adult children mentioned during a conversation about eye glasses, that she was “old” and her “eyes are sensitive now.” What the what?! She’s 35. And when I said that ‘I never really felt old until this year’, she sent a shocked face emoji. Humm. At any rate, that got me pondering, as us old folks will, that perhaps it isn’t just the plague causing my lack of inspiration. And doing some calculations, I saw that yes, I’m starting a new seven year cycle. I’ve embraced and been known as being an artist, nearly my entire life. If I don’t paint, or sketch, then who am I? Just another faceless person in the crowd?
Don’t worry, I haven’t gotten to the point of no return. As a matter of fact, I never really stopped painting or sketching. It just hasn’t been at the same level of intensity. I have been feeling somewhat directionless and all over the place. I’m sure I’m not the only person feeling this way. It has been a tough year for everyone, and many of us must be feeling at loose ends.
As with everyone else, I have been impacted in ways I didn’t foresee. Plans, important plans have had to be put on hold, possibly for a few years, possibly to never happen, and this has been difficult. Many toxic things happen on a daily basis in the world. As an artist, in a family of artists, I know that the impact of this toxic world hits us deeply, making creativity that much harder to attain. It’s hard not to be affected. It’s hard not to engage, or see it. But for us creatives, it is vital that we learn to do what we can to help, and not absorb all the toxins, because that causes us to become immobilized. Add to that the seven year metamorphosis, and you can see my dilemma.
As I sit here writing this, it feels a bit cathartic, like getting it out, writing about it helps. Yes, I have been painting and drawing things aimlessly, but maybe that’s good. I’m still working at it, and perhaps after I’ve had some time to just play around with it, something will kick in, and I’ll know which direction on that crossroad to follow.
Thanks for visiting and reading my blog. Stay well. If you are interested in any of my paintings or would like to commission a piece, please DM me, or go to my Etsy site, at etsy.com/shop/omordah I’d love to hear from you!
Further Notes On Juneteenth in OTown
Continuing with the theme of my last post about having been asked to showcase my art at a local Juneteenth event, I managed to get two other paintings done in time to show along with the first, “Beautiful Son”. It’s always gratifying to be acknowledged as an artist, and this is especially so.
The second painting I did, I simply call, “Story Time”. It depicts a young father reading to his baby. Here are some photos of it, and the process of creating this piece. As you can see in the second photo, I drew up a sketch of what I had in mind. In the second, I filled in the background shape of a map of the USA, and began working on the figures. I continued from there, adding color and finishing up the figures to my liking. Once the painting was dry, I gave it a thin coat of acrylic gloss medium. This serves two purposes, it helps to protect the painting, as well as to highlight and maintain the bright colors. This is quite a bit smaller than the first painting, “Beautiful Boy”, for a few reasons, mostly concerning time constraints and having to use what I had on hand. It’s still a good size at 16″x 12″.
The last piece I call, “Grace Under Pressure”. I didn’t get as many photos of the process of this as I was short on time, but I used basically the same process. I did a few quick sketches, (sorry they’re very light, but you get the idea.) From there, I then drew up an approximate sketch on the canvas, arranging, and changing features as I worked on it.
I hope it doesn’t sound egotistical, or worse, silly ( heheh), but I tend to fall in love with my paintings and these are no exception. I think I have even more so, because I feel that I have gotten to a place with my work where I feel more confident about it, as well as am able to create what I envision at a quicker pace. Not that that is important in and of itself. But for me as an artist, it is, as I feel these representations wanting out of my cranium, and am compelled to create them, to get them on the canvas. And now being at a point where I can do so more readily, makes it more of a joy and less tedious. I’m thinking that, in my next post, I may go over some of the tools I use, and give some pointers on my own process. Let me know if any of you think that you might like that, or not. (I’ll still probably do it. 😉
I wish everyone joy, and to stay safe, and I hope you join me next time!
Inktober In Review; Week Two, “Sixty’s Style, Giants and Legends”.
For those of you who are following along, I won’t go into the whole description of Inktober again. I will just mention for those who don’t know about it, to please visit my last two blog posts, or head on over to Inktober on Twitter. So I’ll jump right in here about my first ink drawing for week two. The prompt word for the day, was “frail”. As I do, I didn’t want to go with anything cliche’, and unfortunately this led me to procrastinate until I basically had no time, energy or desire to draw anything. But not wanting to skip a day, I did a very quick drawing of earth. Yes, I know it is not accurate in any way, which further on in this post, you’ll see was humorously pointed out to me. However I do feel it gives an OK representation. My idea here was to point out the fragility of our one and only earth. I hoped that people would pick up on that, otherwise, my “frail” image, is mostly a “fail”. Ah well, such is the exciting and dangerous world of art.
For day nine of our little adventure, the prompt word is “Swing”. Thinking out of the box and into the dark of Halloween, I thought an image of a child in a red cape, (wink), who decided to swing her lantern into the dark of night in search of, ahem, her grandmother as a large unfriendly, (though he came out looking more wise then “bad”) wolf followed her would be appropriate. I had a little more time to play with this, and I was happy with the shadowing, and how the composition generally came out.
Day ten, the prompt was “pattern”. I wanted to get an elephant or two into the mix this week, so playing around a bit, while also watching TV and “chill”, this is what I came up with. This whole thing was just an exercise in doodling. But it’s not too bad. My older brother, pointed out that it reminded him of 1960’s art. So there you go. This was a much better reaction than his about my “earth” drawing, where-in he inquired as to if “Australia, (where he mostly resides), was in the mix?”
The prompt word for day eleven, is “snow”. I decided to go with an image I had from a ride “up the road” out of our little college town, to a Christmas tree farm. The day we went it was bitterly cold, but very beautiful. There had been a fresh coat of fallen snow, and the trees and fields through the woods, were pristine, and just wonderfully quiet.
Finding that day twelve was “Dragon”, was fun. For a few years, in between jobs, I took a part time position at what was known as a “head shop”. It was actually two separate stores owned by one person. I worked on the side that sold a lot of hippie style clothing, rings, incense and things along that line. The owner also graciously “allowed” me to sell some of my hand made crochet bags, and other things I made, for the low low price of 40% ! (I have never since, worked with anyone who expected to make more than 10% off of my work. and neither should you.) Anyway, for some reason I got into drawing dragons, (I may have had it in mind to do a kid’s book.) In any case, it brought back some funny and sometimes odd memories (perhaps a story for another day), as I worked on this drawing.
I have to confess that I was actually at work when I did this quick sketch for the day 13 prompt, “Ash”. So I was interrupted a lot, and tried to get it done as fast as I could. This is why it may not be the best for a number of reasons. (I won’t point them out, as I learned a long time ago, with one’s looks, and art, it’s best not to point out what you perceive as problem areas, because most of the time no one notices anyway.) Where was I, oh, yes, I think depicting Ash from “Ash vs Evil Dead” probably fits the prompt and the whole Halloween vibe perfectly.
This last little drawing is for both the day fourteen and fifteen prompts; “Overgrown” and “Legend”. I pictured a story about a young boy, completely overgrown to giant proportions, who was the object of ridicule by his peers, until one day a great tsunami hit their seaside village. He saved them all, and was then a hero. I literally wrote a sort of sing song-y story to draw this picture for, which turns out, was for me anyway, a good way to make the picture evolve. So there you have it, week two of Inktober in review. I hope you enjoyed this post, and have maybe been inspired to try an art challenge. Thank you for reading my blog! see you next time!