Susan's "subject matter, context and medium...present a coherent artistic vision"
John Torreano, Clinical Professor of Studio Art, NYU

"Great stuff. Love your work."
Seymour Chwast

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lady of the Sea

 
LAH-DE-DAH, lah-de-dee
Lady on a yawl slid into the sea
Fell from grace
Off the bow did she.
Called for help not once but three.

Bobbed fore and aft
 Like a piece of debris
 Clung to a shell
Hopelessly.

Towed pell mell
 During this embrace
Wore seaweed lace
Drank algae tea.
       
Who could it be
On this ominous race
Might be you; hope not me
Lah-de-dah, shell-shocked she
Our lady...
Lady of the sea.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Liquid Feet









AMPHRODITE rules the sea
Her consort, Poseidon, thinks it's he
Encircling the sea with her blue liquid feet
She flows onto her seahorse to see who she'll meet.

I, on the shore, straddled a dolphin
Crashed through the breakers for frolic and laughin'
I giggled and grinned 'til off fell my feet
My ankles and calves to make it complete.

Where are my limbs? I can't stand anymore!
 Amphrodite answered– with thunderous roar
" I saw you enter my cobalt door
I've never even seen a girl before.

Just seals and dolphins–such a bore
The more I see you, the more I adore
I am the personification of the sea
And you're the splashing image of me."

She called me Rhode; poured me a treat
Cool foamy water replaced my feet
Now I float with my new found mother
And swim with my dolphin, for he is my brother.





Botero's Model

Botero's Model, digital painting


A veritable Botero 
whose waist's not too narrow 
installs herself in my chair 
with a permanence seldom seen there
 but  in Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower.

Her bra doesn't wow her.

She throws it up in the air
with an absence of flair
poses there, weighty and immovable.
Thong totally removable.

It swings off her toe like a bower.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Botero's Model

Botero's Model, digital painting


A veritable Botero 
whose waist's not too narrow 
installs herself in my chair 
with a permanence seldom seen there
 but  in Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower.

Her bra doesn't wow her.

She throws it up in the air
with an absence of flair
poses there, weighty and immovable.
Thong totally removable.

It swings off her toe like a bower.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Socialite



ALONE
And introverted Hermit the Crab
Pondered his life on the beach––found it drab
One day as his pincers skittered along
He spied a beauty in shimmering thong.

Whined Hermit,"Permit me to blab my gab"
Misguidedly added, "Your claws look fab"
Frightened, the girl quickly shied away
He got angry and stammered, " st-st-st-stay!

Sure I'm a crab with pincers that stab
But inside my shell, it's as big as a cab"
She shrieked, "Get away!" gave a hell of a yell
With that he stuffed her under his  shell.

He crab-walked further on down the beach
Grabbing up all the girls within reach
Now he's ebullient, no longer up tight
Indeed, he's a veritable socialite.


+

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Jellfyfish Hash

















I WISH I WERE a jellyfish
Wish, wish, wish
Back and forth, back and forth
Swish, swish, swish
I'd wear a conch upon my head
For flash, flash, flash.

 Should Sharky want his favorite dish
 Jellyfish hash
 Thrash, slash, crunch, mash!
As if I were a piece of trash
 I'd sting him on his face and lash
He'd definitely get a rash!

Then high-tentacle it outta there
Dash, dash, dash.
Retreating from the gloom
 And doom.  Zooooooom
To my meduszoan bloom
And crash, crash, crash.



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Merboy

Merboy, digital painting


H E FELT A TUG about his back
And then his muscles all went slack
His skin turned glossy, black and slick
He started to pick, but it grew too quick...

My boy.

It was thin and pointed
I  tried to anoint it
But larger and higher it got
Oddly enough, he liked it a lot...

My boy. 

When it morphed into a dorsal fin
He could not even hide his grin
Then his legs stuck together like glue
Inseparable! That made me  blue...

My boy.

His left then right foot splayed way out
I actually watched his fishtail sprout
He could not walk
Just flopped about...

My boy.

He now looked more like a dolphin
Than a kid fond of swimming and golfin'
I tried to keep him in a tank
But he said, "Glug! I gotta be frank..."

My boy?

"I see the sea not thee for me"
We sailed––SPLASH!–"Hard alee!"
It had to be; he dove in the sea
Windsong chanting, "Free, free, freeeeeeeee."

Merboy.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Seven



 























THE NUMBER SEVEN HAS A HISTORY of being useful for mankind. The cognitive psychologist George Miller wrote a famous article in 1956 about our capacity for processing information. His thesis was that the amount of information or numbers which people can process and remember is often limited to seven, (plus or minus two.)
Of course, seven is not really a magic number. But it really does get around. Many things come in sevens: the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man, Seven up, the Seven Seas and the Seven Dwarfs. Seven is also probably the most popular number. Studies have shown that when asked to pick a number from one to ten, most people will pick Seven.


That's six examples of the ways that seven has been invoked over the ages. There are more, but I am stopping at six because I know from reading George Miller that our digital span is about 7 and I want  readers to be able to remember the most potent use for the number 7. I learned this some years ago from my boss, who used to remind me of it every day when he came back from his seven-mojito lunches. He would invite me into his office, where I would actually have to witness him ask God to grant him the power to get rid of a rival senior partner. He earnestly, if tipsily, prayed that if God did this one thing, he would never ask for anything else. My boss didn't want much–just to be able to dial his enemy's telephone number and when he answered, press the number seven to cause his instant death. By the way, I was being paid an extremely generous salary to listen to this. (I might add that this is why I do not like working for others.)

I wondered why my boss had picked seven to do his killing for him. I started doodling to see if I could understand his choice. I discovered that if I slant a 7 to the left, it looks like the scythe that the Grim Reaper slings over his shoulder. If I draw it upside down, the top could be the blade on a guillotine. If I draw it obliquely, its point could be used for piercing like a spear or arrow. A seven is indeed more frightening than the well-rounded 8 or 3, or 0 with their cozy interior space .

I rooted for my boss for a while because I felt this would be a good power to have. With some direction from me, and the right telephone numbers, we could get rid of much of the evil in the world. But then I thought, I can't believe I am even thinking about  this. 

So, one day after one of my boss's repetitious afternoon rants, I calmly did my duty. I returned to my office, dialed his extension and then...pressed seven. That's right - I "sevened" him!

PS. If you don't like this post, please don't  seven me.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Cathedral of Bones


Cathedral of Bones, acrylic on linen, 18 x 24 inches, $2,000 xxxxxxxxxxx

































I'M IN MY STUDIO painting a skeleton, drinking coffee out of a bone china coffee cup and thinking about bones. And, yes, bone china is actually made from bones. This moderately creepy bit of knowledge, my recently finished painting, Cathedral of Bones, and the fact that Halloween is imminent, have combined to inspire me to share some thoughts on bones. I became familiar with them at an early age because my father was an orthopedic surgeon or, in the vernacular, an old sawbones. 

Make no bones about it, our skeletons have done a lot for us.  I greatly admire them and do not understand how they got such a bad name. In addition to their more prosaic raisons d' etre of supporting our bodies, allowing us to walk upright and protecting our brains (in my case, moderately successfully), they are a striking engineering achievement and incredibly beautiful to observe.

My first skeleton was the one that hung from the ceiling in my father’s office. At first I thought it spooky. But I soon befriended it and danced with those merry, dangling bones in our private, ether-scented ballroom to the rhythmic clickety-clack of Dad’s secretary’s typewriter.

There was also a human skull on the desk with whom I had many in depth conversations about, well, bones, as well as other important matters crucial to a four year old, such as what happened to its teeth and what it's like to be dead. In an effort to cheer Skully up, I used to dress it with my mother's jewelry. Perhaps this was the precursor to Damien Hurst's diamond-encrusted skull, For the Love of God.

 

My next encounter with bones occurred some years later when I tore some tendons in my neck and shoulders. Upon entering the radiologist's office after my x-rays had been taken, I noticed that hundreds of other x-rays were hanging on the walls–sort of like portraits. Until then, I had thought that skeletons were generic and would look pretty much alike. However, I was startled to see that my x-ray looked exactly like me. I could pick "me" out instantaneously. As I stared at the dark, empty facial sockets in that roentgengram, my eyes itched to be cradled in them. Those bones claimed me. The skull, clavicle, sternum and all 24 ribs, some sort of grim ersatz chorus, sang to me: "Yes, we are thee! And this is what you’ll be!"

For a while, I took solace in the knowledge that my bones will be around for a long time after the rest of me goes organic and returns to the earth. I imagine what that will be like in Cathedral of Bones. But the cathedral will not last forever. When I pass on, I will not have to say goodbye to my bones right away. They are so strong that, depending on soil conditions, it may take hundreds of years before they disintegrate and my remains become one with the universe. But when they do, it's...

Bone voyage!

PS  I hope this blog didn't chill you to the bone, I meant it to be humerus (pun intended)
 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Kernel Panic

Kernal Panic, digital painting

You'll never guess where I am!   It's colorful, wild, hot and artsy (in a Brice Marden meandering-line sort of way.) I'm here because of a  frightening computer malfunction.

While writing love letters on my computer,  suddenly big, black. scary, primal letters appeared on my screen. I usually take all things technical in my stride; I ignore them. However, this time I couldn't because the primitive type plastered itself slowly but steadily down my computer screen like some evil Barton Fink-esque kind of wallpaper, as if might consume me.  Its slow progression gave me, an alarmist in good standing, time to think and I came to a dismal conclusion. 

 It was the end of the world and it was either  God himself, Putin (sore about an illustration I did of him), or one of Trump's 400-pound hackers, sitting on a bed hacking away.  Whoever it was, he was communicating a primitive and cryptic message on my computer screen.  I believed, the expanding unrecognizable print marching down my screen might be an ancient  Biblical  tongue, the  Russian language, or hacking. Suddenly, at the top of the screen, a header appeared in English. Though blurred and written in a basic and  unfamiliar hand, it finally came into focus. It read, "KERNEL PANIC."  That's when my computer froze. Everything stopped  but those two words which kept multiplying and spreading down the screen–an ersatz army attacking.

KERNEL PANIC,
KERNEL PANIC
KERNEL PANIC
KERNEL PANIC

I didn't know exactly what the words meant, but they struck me as serious.  I called for my live-in techie, but he apparently had slipped out to buy a new pocket protector for his pens. In his absence I did what any red blooded artist facing annihilation by computer would do: I grabbed my paints and sketchbook, cracked open the computer, crawled in and started painting the wiggly anarchy I witnessed inside.

Moving along the innermost primordial slime of colored wires and other exotic, twirling electrical arthropods, I painted my way to the bottom of the problem. It was just as the print on my computer screen warned:  KERNEL PANIC!  Sure enough, there in the depths, all aglow, frightened to death, and tied up with the many different colored wires was Kernel, and, yes, he was panicking. He looked like an ear of corn, but for the fact that he was screaming.  His  contorted face could have given the screamer in Edvard Munch's
painting a run for the money.

I told Kernel he could stop panicking  because the doctor  (my techie), would arrive any minute. While I was trying to cheer up Kernel, techie returned and called down a life saving prescription.

"to avoid crashing or hang issues, make sure you're exiting Scratch Live before disconnecting or turning off your Rane Scratch Live USB hardware interface (SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4, TTM 57SL and Sixty-Eight). Call me in the morning."

Kernel was paralyzed with terror, so I did the "Rane Scratch" thing for him. Much to my surprise, Kernel calmed down almost immediately.  The scream melted off his face, the mysterious  writing disappeared  from the screen  and the Kernel started doing his job again–whatever that might be.

I waved goodbye to Kernel, climbed gingerly out of the computer's entrails trying to  avoid any residual "hang issues" (they don't sound so good). I admonished my techie that he should never leave the premises again and resumed writing my love letters. 


Sent one to Kernel too, just to keep him in good spirits.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Guild - 5 Forty Five, Ft. Lauderdale

IN ADDITION TO THE MAKING OF ART, one of the best things about being an artist is the artist's reception at exhibits.  That's where I get to meet all sorts of wonderful art lovers and talk about my paintings and art in general with them. 


Susan and George Curri at Botanically Correct

Above is a photo from my solo show, Botanically Correct at The Guild 5 Forty Five, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  That's George Curi, my self-declared number one fan and collector. Behind us is my painting, Wings, the poster child for Botanically Correct. 

 I love the amber glow of this shot from the house lights and the confusing proliferation of hands surrounding us. The hand on my shoulder looks as if Wings is emerging from the canvas to give us a giant hug, but it is actually George's hand. The hand between George and me looks like it's George's but it is Wings' painted hand. The fingers on George's shoulder look like Wings' fingers tapping George on the shoulder,  but they are mine. And  then there's Wings' hand to the right of George which looks real enough to pinch him.

And so it goes, just as I have always thought, art and life being interchangeable!

George emailed me the day after he first viewed my work:

" I loved your use of color.  It was so bright.  I felt so cheerful in your gallery.   Especially, in contrast to the darker pieces featured in the adjacent galleries. You really are a true inspiration.  A very rare, but wonderful quality to possess."

Thank you, George!

A better look at the botanically correct Wings, The Man Under My Bed and Loose Ends. They are   currently being exhibited at the Good News Cafe, Woodbury, CT and can be purchased there through October 3.


Wings, acrylic on linen, 36 x 30" $3,500


The Man Under my Bed, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24," $4,000


Loose Ends, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24," $3,500

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Man Under My Bed

The Man Under my Bed, acrylic on linen, 30 x 24 inchesXXXXXXXXXXX

MOST GOOD PAINTERS strive to create work that causes them and their viewers to experience a strong rush of emotion. Painting one of my childhood fears worked as such a catharsis for me.

As a child, I had a downright frightening imagination. The subject of the painting above, The Man Under My Bed, in fact lived (I believed at the time) under my bed. Despite all the pretty pink bedding and lacy pillows on the top of my bed, there was a threatening, dark, evil abyss beneath.  My own childhood yin and yang.

I firmly believed that if I were to get into my bed the normal way, i.e. walking up to it and climbing in, The Man underneath would reach out, grab me by my ankle and pull me under. I knew that if he caught me, I would have to live out the rest of my life under my bed with a monster
in that cramped, dark, coffin-shaped space.

Fortunately, I devised a way to insulate myself from that horrible fate.  It involved some acrobatics.  Much to my mother's amazement, every night I would stand a yard away from my bed and take a flying leap onto the bed to stay out of The Man's reach. I exited the bed in the same way, standing on the edge of the bed and jumping in one giant three-foot long leap over the danger zone.

When I started this painting, I didn't realize I was painting my old under-bed nemesis until I completed his face and he started smirking out at me from the painting. I had thwarted his kidnapping approach, so now he was trying to get me under the bed with what passed for him as come hither looks, wine from his brain and flowers. If I had started out painting a non-specific mythical half-man/half-beast with ram's horns, I ended up painting The Man Under my Bed.

Now that I am an adult (chronologically at least), I realize that The Man Under My Bed doesn't really exist– or at least he doesn't live under my bed. To the great relief of my husband, I can now enter and exit my bed by walking up to it and climbing under the covers. After painting the above, though, I am now concerned that The Man has simply relocated himself. I therefore exercise extreme caution when I walk past my flower beds.

Ever seen a gardener do flying leaps to enter and leave her garden?

CHEERS!





Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Sneaker Graveyard

Dr. Mac, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches

SWIMMING UP FROM SEVEN FATHOMS UNDER Candleberry Lake* at a speed so fast he would leave Michael Phelps far behind and probably get the bends, a young diver, trembling with excitement, breaks the surface and sputters to his mates, "Hey, there must have been a sneaker factory here at one time; I found hundreds of sneakers in one spot." When I hear him say that, I breathe a sigh of relief. No one knows the truth–the real truth. The diver's assumption is plausible, but it is wrong.

It is plausible because Candleberry Lake was not always a body of water. It used to be farmland at the base of Candleberry Mountain. In 1926 Connecticut Light and Power Co., in order to create hydroelectric power from the Histrionic River, dammed the river, flooding the surrounding farmland. In doing this, the utility created the extremely deep, 18-mile long Candleberry Lake. Local legend has it that if you dive down to the bottom of the lake you will find old roads and farm houses with families preserved as they were at the time the land was flooded. Some say there are entire preserved families sitting at the dinner table with their food-laden forks poised halfway up to their mouths. Other unfortunates still sit in their easy chairs knitting. This is why our young diver thought he had found (and indeed might have found, had there been one located in the vicinity in 1926) a sneaker factory.

But that is not the case. No, there never was a sneaker factory there. What the diver found is much more sinister. It is the sneaker graveyard. I might add that this final resting place for sneakers was not there when the land was flooded. I am one of an elite group of five people in the entire world who know how that sneaker graveyard came to be. And only three of this select circle are alive today. I feel I must share what I know of the events leading to the creation of the sneaker graveyard before this knowledge is lost forever. Therefore, I have decided to reveal what I have been concealing for so many years right here on this blog. Depingo's readers deserve to know.

Although I cannot reveal his name, I can tell you that some years ago a good doctor and his family lived on the lake. He was a surgeon, scholar and gentlemen, loved by all who knew him. He worked hard in New York City healing patients 11 months out of every year. He saved many lives and made many patients whole again. But when he was on vacation for the month of August... well, that is a different story.

The good doctor, escaping civilization, would drive up to his manse on Candleberry in full doctor drag, including an F. Tripler suit, cashmere socks, pinstriped shirt punctuated with gold cufflinks and a Countess Mara tie, and highly polished Bass Weejuns. Upon arrival, though, he would divest himself of this costume with haste, as if wearing it were the final human indignity. He shed it faster than a snake sheds its skin. However, while snakes shed in order to grow and advance their form, the good doctor would shed his last remnants of domestication in order to return to a wild state. Upon doing so, he immediately became feral.

This formerly manicured doctor quickly donned his summer wardrobe, which he had designed and manufactured himself. It consisted of three items: cut-off, shredded khakis (not much better than a loin cloth really); a rope which he tied around his waist, belt-style, to hold up the cut-off khakis; and a pair of tennis shoes. He wore these items for the entire month while he toiled at landscaping, building stone walls, making furniture and various other projects. He also swam, ate and slept in these three items for all of August. (OK, some nights he took the sneakers off for sleeping,)

Quite frankly, the doctor's wife was beside herself. She didn't know what to do with her severely devolved husband. She knew, though, that she wouldn't allow his shorts to go into the wash with the rest of the family's clothing. This did not present a problem for the good doctor. The one time he felt his garment needed washing, this brilliant inventor of surgical implements and procedures designed an operation for cleaning shorts. He tied one end of his rope/belt to his khakis and the other end to the stone dock and let Candleberry do the work. The lake swirled them around in its waters and its whitecaps beat them up against the stone dock. When the doctor felt they were clean (which was not very long), he put them on wet. The morning sun dried them in conformity with his body and at least they were somewhat cleaner. They didn't look so great, but he didn't care.

One of the neighbors was a kindly grandmother from an extended Italian family that summered on the peninsula. She had a hammertoe that bothered her and asked the world-famous trauma doctor if he would take a look at it. He needed an office, so he set two canvas-covered folding chairs on the dock, washed his hands in the lake and examined her while dressed in his summer outfit. It was comical to see patient and doctor sitting on the dock, she with her hammertoed foot resting in his lap on top of the torn shorts. She didn't seem to mind; in fact she seemed very grateful. When she asked how much she owed for the visit. the doctor replied, "Do you make clams casino?" She did indeed; in fact the dish was her specialty. The following day she delivered a tray of homemade clams casino, hot from her oven, for the doctor's lunch. Good thing, for by this time, his wife had decreed that he was not to come to lunch without a shirt on. Because a shirt was not part of his summer wardrobe, he enjoyed his clams casino while sitting on his favorite tree stump, accompanied by Peter, and Taffy, his cocker spaniels.

Word spread throughout the Italian summer community and he saw many more patients on the dock. He never had to don a shirt because he had a steady stream of clams casino, lasagna and pasta fagioli coming in daily.

There came a day when the doctor's daughter, who was coming of age, requested that her father put on proper clothes (perhaps at least a shirt) to meet her date when he came to pick her up. The doctor said, "I'm not putting on clothes– just tell him I'm the handyman." She was quite concerned about this antisocial turn her father had taken. She hoped his behavior was within normal limits for vacationing surgeons. Maybe this is how surgeons relaxed ... or was it? Maybe ... it was something else ... something far worse! Then, on their last night at Candleberry before the family returned to New York for school and work, she followed him and saw what he was doing. She actually witnessed it with her own eyes!

Before the ceremony started, her father sat quietly on a willow twig bench he had made himself and stared across the lake. Then, he slowly rose and moved toward the end of the dock. Was he carrying something in his arms? No ... it couldn't be. Yes! She could see them clearly now, for unsuspecting that he was being watched, he had moved into the moonlight. There were two of them and they were both badly decayed. You could almost discern the souls separating from them. The odor was unbearable even in the fresh, pine-scented night air. With a hint of hesitation and what looked like regret, the doctor raised both hands high over his head and heaved his decomposing, moonlit burdens to their watery doom. They sunk promptly because he had filled their orifices with rocks and bound them with their own laces. Then he waved goodbye, went up the stone steps to the house, took a long, hot shower and carefully laid out his full doctor's drag for the next morning's ride back to New York. Through careful observation, I learned that he repeated this morbid ceremony annually.

In retrospect, I believe that the doctor actually was very fond of them. After all, they were his sneakers.

*About Candleberry Lake, Candleberry Mountain and the Histrionic River: I changed their names so as not to get my father ... er ... um ... that is, the unnamed doctor, into any trouble.PS. I wonder if anybody has discovered the cigarette "factory" adjacent to the sneaker graveyard yet?

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Letter to my Canvas

Golden Lady, acrylic on linen, 60 x 36 inches


DEAR CANVAS,

I am work,
you are art.
Together we are work of art.
An implement used in your bidding
with no brain, no train of thought,
voraciously I suck in colors all day long
and stuff myself
with starry shapes from the night
hoarding them to spew forth
like detritus out of flu's belly
when creativity beckons.

As you glut yourself
with my sensual shapes and color,
I watch them seep into your empty whiteness
until you are saturated– with me! You laugh
as you are tickled by my brushes,
sable soft hair massagiing
my spirit into you nebulous soul.
I love and hate you, vacuous sponge
screaming for my red––my blood!
Selfless hands continue love's labor
giving you eveything you want
to the detriment of all else.
We need each other more than ever now,
urgently our transaction is consummated and
We are one: work of art.

But then you leave me,
alone.
Just like all the others before you,
proud and independent
sychophants gawking.
You alone are work of art
And I am nothing without you.

I could join the others
but colors and shapes collide
inside my throbbing head
in their eagerness to be born.
I must help them,
let them out.
I am work.

Love,

Susan

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Castle in the Sky

Castle in the Sky, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches, 
                    
MY GARDEN PARTY paintings are being very well received up and down the East Coast this summer. Well, why not? Who doesn’t like a party? After Garden Party’s debut at the Westfield Broward Gallery in Plantation, FL, Madame Garden Party was invited to be in the 75th Regional Exhibition at the Arnot Museum (NY) for the entire summer. She’s still there; Alice's Aura was exhibited at the Treat Gallery, NYC.

On July 20th,
 another painting from the series will be shown for two months at Manhattan Arts International Gallery as part of The Healing Power of Art exhibition. Thanks to Renee Phillips, the gallery director, for my Award of Excellence. Castle in the Sky, shown above, is one of the three paintings I entered into this juried show


I started painting Garden Party as just that: an outdoor party on a blanket on top of the earth’s soil where the guests' concerns did not extend beyond getting the last deviled egg, keeping dirt off the devil’s food cake and their clothing, and holding the local wildlife at bay. However as the series progressed, it became apparent to me that the work was so much more. Castle in the Sky depicts an evolved world where total harmony exists between humanity and nature. In fact, the two worlds have melted into one. Stylistically, society and its products (the girl, the castle and the chair) and the environment (the birds, sky, beach and water) have merged into one natural, utopian democracy. In this alternative airborne world, you can view the earth as we know it in snippets on the right side of the canvas. It’s between the girl’s torso and elbow and to the right of her thigh.

In all the Garden Party paintings, while technically painting a picnic, conceptually I found that I was exploring societal and environmental concerns by combining fantasy and reality. I used microscopic details to provide playful suggestions of a better, healthier world. This beautiful symbiosis is my "castle in the sky." Unlike the usual connotations that phrase carries, I believe it is perfectly achievable if we listen when the earth speaks to us.

I am not the first artist to dream of a Castle in the Sky. The master Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki designed his own floating world in an anime also entitled Castle in the Sky. Miyazaki said that he does not want to push any message on moviegoers; he just wants them to be happy after seeing his movies. I feel the same about my viewers. Still, I need to conclude this newsletter with a quote from the master:

"The earth speaks to all of us, and if we listen, we can understand."


Shhhh…listen,


You can view and purchase my work on my website susanmclaughlinart.com/

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tingling Elbows

Susan and Alice's Aura at NSU Art Museum of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.




































THIS IS THE FIRST TIME  I exhibited my work in a museum. I was invited by NSU Art Museum of Ft. Lauderdale's director  Bonnie Clearwater,. She loved and chose Alice's Aura  even though her assistant had selected another painting for the show. Ms. Clearwater labeled me a cross between Frida Kahlo and Alice Neel. At the time of my exhibit, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were showing in the museum's main gallery. You know, your elbows tingle when you are rubbing them with the masters. I hope some of that greatness wore off on me! You can buy my work or prints of it here - http://www.susanmclaughlinart.com/. It's still cheaper than Kalho's or Neal's, at least until I get a few more museum exhibits under my belt.

Here's a better look at Alice's Aura . She was recently shown in the Treat Gallery, NYC.


Alice's Aura, acrylic on linen, 40 x 30 inches

Monday, June 20, 2016

Madame Garden Party

Cropped Image of Madame Garden Party, acrylic on linen, 50 x 40 inches
Click to see entire image























MADAME is a party girl. Her full name is Madame Garden Party. Let’s face it. She gets around. She has been in two gallery exhibitions and one museum exhibit already and she only came into existence last year. She’s probably one of the most popular paintings I have ever made.
     

I am not sure what makes one painting more successful than another.  I do know, though, that at my last exhibit Madame stole the show. Gallerygoers told me that they could not take their gazes off her, that she drew them in with her one exposed eye.

Despite her name, she can’t even attend Garden Party, my solo exhibit opening on April 14 at the Gallery at Westfield Broward in Plantation, FL, with the other paintings in that group. We had to pick her up early from this month's Out of Thin Air exhibit at The Guild 5 Forty Five  in Fort Lauderdale because she needs to get to the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, NY,  where she will be part of the 75th Regional Juried Art Exhibition. That exhibit will run from April 15 through August 13.

I try to give all my paintings an equal share of my skill set which consists of both traditional technical skills and my own non-traditional personal vision, which lets me see and paint things in my own idiosyncratic manner.
However, only one will be basking in the limelight at the Arnot Museum for the next four  months,

Apparently, Madame got what she needed to be the star !

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Origins of Language

On Taunton Pond, acrylic on linen, 18 by 24 inches

TOMADDOW I will know the word for water
is not and never was g'ning-g'ning.
That's just a song the pipes sing.

But I like the spoonerism U Nork.
I don't really want to say New York
Tomaddow.

When I'm angry at mom who dozed
I will not tell her I am closed–closed
because I wanted cake for heaven's sake.
The word for cake's menum.
It's really not so dumb–the word menum.
The superlative's menumeneeeee
menumenummenumeneeeeeeeeee!
saved for chocolate and coined by me.

Tomaddow I'll not mark time by sleeps.
Instead, I'll count with days and weeks
In fact, I shall not even say tomaddow
tomorrow.

Dear, dear, dear, dear, dear
I have no idea–it is simply so unclear
why I would want to talk so drear
tomaddow.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Foxglove


























Foxglove was painted in my Manhattan studio which is surrounded by concrete, steel and glass high rise buildings on three sides.  Since my studio is on the first floor, I have a small garden on the fourth side  (somehow the builders missed that little piece) I nurture the garden, commune with nature and study it there while dreaming of a better place. When I bought a lakeside, wooded home in Connecticut, I named it Foxglove.

 Foxglove  depicts humans and animals coexisting in a natural utopian democracy. The animals function as symbols and provide subtle clues and playful suggestions about the  meaning of my work. Viewers have a  glimpse into a more perfect, peaceful  world––a world in which they are can find beauty in places where they never before thought to look.

You can find more paintings of my imagined world on my website. If you see one that you love, you can  purchase it by  contacting  me on my About page. Please have a look - http://www.susanmclaughlinart.com/
                    

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Lovebirds, the Owl and the Alligator


Lovebirds, watercolor on paper, 8 x 11 inches
ONCE THERE WAS a handsome but not so smart young lovebird named Igno. He was content in his life, because he loved Oriole, a fluffy, colorful french songbird who sang sweetly to him every day. She loved him, too. He carried her with him everywhere in a gilded Hermes cage. Upon viewing these two lovebirds, the creatures of Foxglove would ask, " Igno, can't Oriole fly?" "Yes," Igno would reply, "she can, but thank God she doesn't have to." All laughed merrily. Oriole really didn't mind the cage because she was cagey and liked to be with Igno. "It's Hermes for chirp's sake!" she chirped.
                                                
Igno's and Oriole's best friend in all of Foxglove was a wise old owl. He accompanied them everywhere. The three of them were very happy. Sadly, one day the wise old owl sauteed his last mouse, hooted his last hoot, fell ill, and died. Igno and Oriole did everything they could to save him, but, alas, they could not. It was time for the wise old owl to cross peacefully over to the Other Side. He did so with grace and dignity, imparting wisdom upon them as he took his leave. "Never admire an alligator's teeth in the sun," he told them.

Alligator,  watercolor on paper 8 x 11 inches






















Igno and Oriole were contemplating the loss of their beloved Owl down by the lake one sunny afternoon when an alligator swam right up to them. Paradise lost. The alligator said, her pendulous pink tongue darting in and out between glittering white teeth, "Igno (and, of course, Oriole), my name is Minious and Owl and I were soulmates. I loved him so much, I never even tried to eat him. I won't try to eat you either because you loved Owl. That makes us soulmates." Igno, admiring the alligator's teeth, became blinded by the glare of the sun off of them, lost sight of Oriole and agreed enthusiastically. He was so addled by the glare, he thought that was just what he needed–a sharp-toothed predator to fill the void created by the demise of his beloved friend Owl. The alligator further confused Igno by keeping her smile fixed at a 45 degree angle to the sun for maximum reflection.

Oriole, winging it, warbled a warning into Igno's warped ear. "Minious is green, for chirp's sake, green, chirp chirp–green with envy." "Owl warned us about admiring an alligator's teeth in the sun," she warbled on. Igno said, "Oriole, you're spoiling my fun." She flew away still warbling, but her warning did not register on Igno. It was too late. The reflection from the alligator's teeth had blinded Igno to the truth, causing infidelity, mood swings, poor judgment and danger to him and his loved ones.

Minious allowed Igno to ride around on her slimy, green back so long as he kept on admiring her teeth. They were, indeed, soulmates now. Together, Igno and Minious became one–Ignominious. One cloudy day, Igno finally realized that he really had nothing in common with the uncommonly common alligator and indeed didn't even like her at all. Without the glare of the sun, he came to his senses, realized he loved only Oriole and told Minious he was leaving to look for Oriole. First, he was nearly drowned by large, soggy alligator tears. Then a blinding smile appeared on Minious's face as her big teeth caught the last rays of the setting sun peeking out from the clouds. Unfortunately for Igno, at that very moment a big hunger came over Minious as he leaned in to get a better view of her teeth. She lost control of her appetite, made Igno into a fillet of soulmate, and downed it in one bite. Then she burped, polished her teeth and waddled off, her sated belly dragging through the mud, looking for a new soulmate.

The only good that came of this ignominious affair was that Igno now resides on the Other Side and is having fun again with his old pal, Owl (even if Owl has replaced "hoots" with "told-ya-so's.") They both miss Oriole and are awaiting her arrival. But they know that it will not be anytime soon because Oriole is too smart to admire an alligator's teeth in the sun. She knows that– ...

Alligators make better shoes than soulmates.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Portrait of A Wildflower


Wildflower, acrylic on linen, 30 x 24 inches, cropped x













WILDFLOWER IS AT ONE WITH NATURE.  Serpentine armrests  provide comfort and support as they frame and embrace her. A forked tongue wraps around her wrist, fashioning itself into a bracelet.  A butterfly sits atop her head as beautiful as any chapeau and even extends its veins onto her face as a decorative and symbiotic veil.  Wildflower's braids defy gravity, twisting and twirling gracefully through the air. Perhaps they take their cue from the snakes.  Wildflower is  botanically correct with  her pale pink decolletage of field roses. One hundred year old pressed wildflowersviolets, adorn her neck.

She is beautiful, independent, prolific and  grows freely on her own Still, nobody wants her in their garden; they say she is uncultured.  I don't know why.

She's  a natural beauty.





Monday, May 30, 2016

Hatching


Out of the Woods, acrylic on linen, 30 x 24 inches





































 I AM ALWAYS AMAZED by the multifaceted meanings of English language words. Take for instance the word hatching. The definitions given by the Merriam Webster dictionary include:

1. to cause young to emerge from the egg, as by brooding or incubating.

2. to bring forth or produce; devise; create; contrive; concoct: to hatch a scheme .

3. drawing of fine lines in close proximity, especially to give an effect of shading; also: the pattern so made.

I started the above painting of a girl with approaching wolf a while  ago.  I was stumped as to how to finish it so it has been incubating in a corner in my studio.

It caught my eye recently. Though unfinished, the painting is going in the same direction as the paintings I am making currently.  I discovered a sketch of a wolf in man's clothing taped to the back of it. Because of that find, I knew exactly how to complete the painting. In my excitement, I lifted the painting quickly and placed it on the easel with a loud thud.

Wolf in Man's Clothing, pencil on paper, 3 x 5 inches

To emphasize that I've-got-it moment, I  thought I heard applause. It was a thunderous flapping of wings, made by a startled dove leaving his nest in my window box. Upon closer inspection of the window box,  I could see that a female dove was sitting on an egg.

I thought about the symmetry of it all. At the very moment I was hatching my idea for my painting, mother  Dove was hatching her egg.

I started work on my painting and with the quieter hatching work of penciling in the basket, the male  dove returned to keep us both company during our respective hatching.

At day's end, I  went to bed thinking about the similarity between me and the doves and nature and humanity.  It was then that I realized we are all equal. I demonstrate that  harmony between human beings and nature in my paintings.

It tickled me and supported my realization to think that while I was being warmed by my feather duvet, the dove's baby was being warmed inside its egg by the "duvet "of his mother's luxuriously feathered body.