Friday, August 28, 2009

set your own limit

A funny thing happened on the way to paint a soft and gentle image of a dancer looking out a window on a summer's day. The dancer is here but what the heck is that outside the 'window'? I have a habit of drawing images and sylvan scenes but before I know it a rage for color comes tumbling in without my having intended such a thing. Then again, we may think we have good intentions but our deeper selves have plans and designs all their own. Art is all about freedom within the limiting context of whatever medium of expression is currently available and of course, reasonably understood. If you can't find the chords on a piano you may as well not try to play that sonata you heard in your dreams for your friends this afternoon.

I tend to take out my anger and frustration in bursts of unlikely color combinations - or at least that's the way I'll see them once they're underway. I get curious about what will happen next . This piece happened because I had a piece of heavy silk that was wide but only a bit more than a foot long and I wondered what I could do if I cut some of it into smaller chunks and started painting. It turned into a reversible pouch of about 6x6" or a lined twelve inch long silk painting. It has ties for wearing around the waist, or over the shoulder, or just to hang on the wall with something precious inside. It was a spontaneous project resulting in something I actually like.

I love making things I imagine seeing and that's what encourages me to get up every day. Intention is an important element in keeping ourselves healthy and emotionally sound. I prefer not talking to doctors unless they're paying me. I don't see a list of medications as a sign of maturity. The best doctor I ever knew was the one who liked hanging out with me in his office smoking cigarettes, drinking thick black coffee and discussing philosophy. I always felt better after seeing him but they don't make them like that anymore. Instead we get the vocabulary that shapes the medical world and the often defeatist ways we define our physical health. No wonder people get old and weak in a culture that worships the fleeting attributes of youth and beauty.

We're physical beings who sometimes need treatment beyond our own abilities but getting older is not a diagnosis for imminent demise. If you have a problem and I've had a few - chicken pox at 42, a stone in my salivary gland (damn thing looked like a tiny dog bone), the avm-aneurysm and more - I've never given in to becoming a 'patient' since I refuse to allow myself to be labeled. After sickness comes cure.

Whether it's bad temper or the need to see the humor in every situation I can hardly wait to get on with the next project. There's another window and another view in the works right now.


Randal Graves said...

Those orbs are either the various worlds our mind and soul explore throughout our existence, swanky pinballs, or a series of comets ready to strike the planet, ushering in an age of roaches and fungi. Oh, and I absolutely dig the thing.

linda said...

wow lady, are you ever speaking my language this morning! dammit, it won't let me go back and copy/paste some of your words for this stupid box,,,,anyway, as you have probably deduced from the tone of this oh-so-reasonable response, I am not in the best of moods BUT... your post amused me beyond the point of my sour expression and pinched brow and actually made me smile[hemms,TMJ and blocked bowels aside]

....on the way to paint something gentle and serene or whatever nice words you used, came something else entirely beautiful but not what you expected...this is the story of my artistic[as in painting] life and I have long since given up trying to be any other way because I am O L D>grin<

this is lovely and I want a doc to pay me for once...I have been mulling over a post about my week of horrors in the white/black world of medicine but it's so long and convoluted, it's just plain ridiculous and cost me a fortune thank you for the grins and this really very lovely pouch/purse's striking, it's contemplative in that it makes me think a bit, I adore all that delicious color and I could tie it around my waist...what more could one ask for if hanging a heavy feed bag from one's shoulder is not to one's liking? is it for sale and if so, you know where I am ;)


Utah Savage said...

First thing I thought was, "Oh my god, I've got to have it."

Your words are as lovely as your visual art work.

susan said...

randal - It's so cool having such a talented and witty writer drop by :-)

linda - You wouldn't want to spend the better part of your daylight hours doing what it takes to have the doctors pay you.. or rather me. It's not so much fun but I still have to laugh.

If you like it that much I don't mind selling it. After all, now that it's done it will just sit in a cupboard for a while. You'll be hearing from me soon :-)

utah - Having you tell me I write well means a lot to me. Like the painting it usually goes better when I don't stop to think about it.

Steve Emery said...

I love the way this took off on its own. And I love those yellow and black sections, and the way the geometric patterns curve and bend. And you know how I feel about rich blues and yellow.

I'm back from a week long trip, my car left there (flew back home, and will fly back there on Monday for another week away...). I am very tired. But this inspires me to get out a blank page and see what happens. Tomorrow (after a good night's sleep, I hope). Thanks for this being right here where I needed to see it tonight.

Seraphine said...

i love all the circles in the dancer's purse. the sun rays, even the dress she sits in. the strange litle orbs. she dances in her mind.
but how interesting that you assocate color with rage and anger. do you see red often?

susan said...

steve - It's always interesting how a particular image generates its own puzzle with many potential solutions. I think that's what I enjoy most about painting and I know it's how you work too. When it's done it's not because no more color could be added nor shapes defined but simply recognizing that quiet voice saying 'done'. I'm glad you found some inspiration from it and I hope you have some quiet time for exploring.

sera - I like mixing my own shades of mood and it isn't necessarily the reds that evoke my passion.. but yes, I have a shade of blood red that is to die for.

The Crow said...

Beautiful art, Susan. Love your color sense, the harmony of hues and shades.

You've been through a lot, it seems, and have used your experiences to feed your art, to wonderous effect.


Nancy said...

What a great post. You and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to doctors. I always say I don't go because they find something wrong. I refuse to be labled sick. And they always scare you with all kinds of possibilities that I prefer not to put "out there."

Love the purses. Love the idea of hanging one on the wall with something precious inside.

The top one looks like little planets with colorful stars all around them when you click to enlarge. Love it!

Spadoman said...

The doctor visit is the one thing that gives me the most anxiety, especially since I see a doctor at the VA hospital. If I never had to go, I think I'd be fine.
Don't go you say? I have to. I need the meds. At least I think I do. Spurs some thought for sure.
Whatever the reason you paint and sew is a good reason. Your work is very good. Your artistry is pleasing to my eye. I'm glad you have purpose and meaning in it for yourself.

A word or two about being old.
Day before yesterday, I was driving on the highway. I was thinking about things and not concentrating on any one particular thing. I thought of turning 60 years old this year, (last May), and how my mind has perceived me myself and I as the same no matter what my age. I still like the same things, I still have the same mannerisms, I still think about certain things the same way. I look into the image in the mirror. I stare at my face. I look the same even though changes have occurred, I know it's me.


susan said...

the crow - I'm glad you enjoy seeing the things I paint. Life is a strange journey for all of us so it's good to know some of my own experiences translate well enough through my moderate skills to resonate with others of like mind.

nancy - It's true that doctors have a tendency to scare us by treating us like machines that need all sorts of fine tuning. If my warranty's running low I prefer not getting the gory details of what I can expect. Surprises are preferable.

spadoman - I don't have any problem with people going to see doctors because they must. I've done it myself. What I object to is those who see themselves as patients in order to experience their uniqueness as beings. It's also true that big pharma has a lot to do with making sure just about everybody is prescribed something.

I'm several years older than you and I'm still the same too but thankfully, we keep on growing, don't we?

gfid said...

i'm presently in the uneasy situation of returning from a small town to live in a city i left nearly 20 years ago. i liked my small town doctors, though, being an abnormally healthy person, i saw precious little of them. the excellent GP who delivered my babies and kept tabs on us way back then has long since retired, and has been replaced by dozens of specialists and disinterested people with waiting rooms more like badly run fast food joints than health care facilities. no appointments. drop - in service only, with a waiting time of 2 or more hours. i'm fervently hoping i stay abnormally healthy, cuz i'm an old dog who doesn't want to learn these new tricks.

susan said...

gfid - I don't harbor any illusions about the Canadian health care system being a return to the days of Marcus Welby but it's still a heckuva lot better than what happens here. There are more people without insurance than the entire population of Canada who have no choice but to go to hospital er's and then can't afford the prescriptions. Yeah, wherever we are it's best to stay healthy.