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.





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.

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

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?

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/

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 !

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/
                    

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.




Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fresh Start Thursday

DJR, digital painting #1


















IT'S FRESH START THURSDAY (FST). When you see a post marked FST, you know I will be showing you something that I never did before, or if I did do it, not very often, and I definitely didn't show it to anyone and I'm not that great at it, but that didn't stop me from doing it. (That's gotta be a FST for longest run-on sentence I ever wrote.) Hey, even Picasso had his "bad" days. However, if someone gave you a "bad" Picasso, would you say that you didn't want it? Today's painting is my first iPad painting ever. I drew and painted directly on my IPad with colors and brushes from out of thin air. I didn't (and still don't) really know how to use iPad painting programs. The original art stays in the ether, but if you like it, I can make a print of it for you or of any of my paintings for that matter. Just let me know. http://www.susanmclaughlinart.com/


Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Shape of Things


Coming of Age, acrylic on linen, 24 x 18 inches




































FIGURE STUDIES  are an important  part of our history of art.  They have been around since  the time of the cave drawings at Lascaux, France, where many depictions of human figures were discovered along with the animals and symbols.

I suspect these figures were drawn by men because in early America at least, women were not even allowed to draw from live models.  Until the 20th century, women were restricted to drawing from plaster casts. The  American painter Mary Cassatt (1844 -1926) had to leave the country and go to Paris to learn to paint. She felt she was not learning anything at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, because she, as a woman, was not allowed to draw from live models. At the time it was thought to be bad and even dangerous for women to do so. I guess that would have been called an artist's lament. 

I am happy academics are more enlightened now because one of the most thrilling work that an artist can do is studies from the live human form. I am very lucky because in my undergraduate days I studied drawing under the late, great Jack Potter, a famous artist in his own right. He relentlessly reminded me and my classmates in life classes that we were not drawing people or anatomy, but rather shapes. In his class we were not even allowed to refer to the anatomical names for body parts. For instance, we could not say, "The model's right elbow is out of line."  We had to refer to the model's  "shape," not her  "elbow." If we did, Mr. Potter would remind us, "The model has no elbow, she has a shape."

That was the major breakthrough in my drawing. If you think about it, a  shape, or in this case an angle, is a lot easier to draw than a "flexed arm." It is far less intimidating when you don't have to consider skin texture, hair,  muscles, tendons, nerves, bones,  joints, fingers and so forth. In addition, by simplifying, one achieves a more spontaneous drawing . Once you have the overall shape, you can go back and put in as many of the visual details as you need to tell your story.


Figure Study, drawn with paint on canvas




I hope you like the shape of things!



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pills

Pills, Pen and ink on paper with digital color, 7 x 5 inches xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

BILLY is frilly
and Willy's so plain
Don't see how Willy
can get rid of pain.

I pay the big bill
when I've got a chill
for it's more than a thrill
to cure what's ill.

Ate a cheesesteak in Philly
Got cramps willy nilly
Bill was not there, so I took a Willy
Turned my cramps into a dilly.

It may sound silly
to like Bill over Willy
Which  makes me a pill
Like Billy and Willy.

Rx - If reading this has given you a headache, take two Willies and  call me in the morning -
Dr. Susan

Sunday, May 15, 2016

She's Leaving Home


Leaving Home, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches



































IN LEAVING HOME, I have focused on the concept of “wings,” as reflected in insects, birds and even human beings. I combine elements of reality and fantasy in ways that shed a new light on the interrelationships between humans and the natural world around us. Sometimes the division is clear; on other occasions the two worlds melt into one.


Detail of the Village, right corner of canvas
























Above you can see a closeup of the village that she's leaving (lower right corner) with parents waving goodbye It looks like Chagall himself painted the village, but he did not. It was I!








Friday, May 13, 2016

Mistaken Identity


ONE DAY, I was in the basement at our cottage, Foxglove,
 and I saw a scorpion.

















 

 I DID! –even though Foxglove is in Connecticut! Well, that made me very anxious because I thought it would probably try to kill me. So I called our pest control company, Master Shield, and requested they come to my house immediately to take care of this urgent, life threatening problem. This is what their technician said to me. "Lady, we're not coming; we don't do scorpions, only plain old-fashioned Connecticut bugs."
























I told my husband of my problem. He said, "They can't do that. We have a contract with them. I paid for emergency house calls." Please note. My husband DIDN'T EVEN CARE THAT WE HAD A SCORPION IN THE HOUSE. He only cared that he wasn't getting his money's worth. In a huff, he called Master Shield himself. The technician reiterated that if a scorpion were in the basement, they don't do scorpions. To which my husband replied "And would you believe my wife if she told you that the Loch Ness Monster was swimming in our lake?"

This is what happened next:

Master Shield was here within the half hour; found not a scorpion but a plain, old-fashioned Connecticut bug, a mole cricket in our basement and per my request, left it well and alive in the basement, where it still resides today.

                                                                


Wait.  Gotta go. I think I see something ... moving ... swimming ... in  ... the ... lake. Oh, it's probably nothing ... just a log ... or ...  maybe ... it's ... somethiiiiiiiiiiing.............ELSE.  Gotta call Master Shield and tell them!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Severed Cords


Severed Cords, pen and ink on paper, 8 x 11 inches























HI MOM,

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY.  I actually liked it better before the umbilical and telephonic cords were cut. Nonetheless, I hope you are having a heavenly day in heaven. Probably all the days there are heavenly, so what do you call it when it is a special day? Earthly?  I would love to know, but unfortunately we never get to talk anymore what with you in heaven and me on earth.

With all of the new technology, I can't believe I can talk to someone in Mozambique on Facebook, which is thrilling in it's own way, but I cannot talk to my Mom! I'm amazed that some brilliant astrophysicist has not yet figured out how to enable us to talk to those we love after they leave the planet.  After all, we (or at least those of us who are old enough) have watched astronauts walk on the moon.  We saw them take one small step for man in boots so unattractive it made me cringe.

What about doing this for mankind? Let the people who are missing their mothers talk to them. I think that would be a worthwhile scientific endeavor.  I would rather spend money for that than to watch one small step in some majorly ugly boots. Which one would you vote for? I know my vote is going for talking to my Mother.  Her name was Babe Bisgood and she was more interesting than any astronaut.

Since no one else seems to be working on it, I have applied my astonishingly unscientific, nontechnical mind to the problem.  Hey! You never know–a fresh outlook and all. I'll never be hired by NASA. I've got a different kind of mind.  I think I've got it. I'm confident it is original thinking.  What if we simply dial our old phone number from when we were children (In my case, SPencer 9–6134–wish I had my childhood Princess telephone on which to call)  Your parents and you carry the old number with you like sort of a primitive precursor of the bar code.  Why do you think you've never forgotten your old phone number in the first place?  This is the reason. It's just that nobody ever realized it before. I am not even thinking of becoming famous here. I'm just thinking about talking to my Mother.

OK. It's Mother's Day and I'm going to try it. I'm calling.  Here goes ... S.P.e.n.c.e.r.9.6.1.3.4 ... It's ringing ... that's a good sign. Hmmm ... no answer. Well, maybe Mom's out for Mother's Day.  I hope so and I hope she is having a wonderful time.  There is no recording asking me to leave a message, so maybe there is no voicemail in heaven.  Maybe God's not that into technology.  I should think not.  After all, He's very old.

No answer ... that's OK  No problem, Mom.  Love you and catch you tomorrow.

xoxoxoxoxo
Susie

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Paper Gown

Paper Gown, pen and ink on paper, digital color













I WALKED INTO the fancier-than-I-usually-go-to -party and spotted my doctor, the love of my fantasy life. I tried to act nonchalant, but when our eyes met I blushed all over. This is one of the disadvantages (other than having people thinking you're a vampire) of being a fair-skinned redhead. You wear your emotions on your skin.

I had had many pleasant conversations with my doctor in his office while he examined me. My first visit had been an emergency necessitated by stomach pain. He actually saved my life by putting me into a cab to the hospital in time for the life-saving surgery I needed. Apparently, an ambulance would have been too slow. I live today not only for him, but because of him.

Over the years I have devised a strategy to neutralize my emotional response to my annual physicals. I dig my fingernails into my scalp.  (See above) I need the agony of nails in flesh to cancel out the ecstasy of his touch in order to appear even remotely normal. You can imagine how I feel when he says, "Please take off everything but your underpants and slip into the paper gown. I'll be back in a minute." Once, I thought I caught him studying my face. (He might have been looking for indications of brain deficiency) but other than that we are just two people in a pleasant enough, though strictly doctor/patient, relationship.

But back to the night of the party. He maneuvered his way through the herd of socialites towards me. Without a word, he guided me into a more private part of the townhouse. Finally I got a, "Hi, so nice to see you, Susan." He put his arms around me, pulled me toward him so that our bodies touched and then hugged and kissed me for what I suspect is not an acceptable length of time for a mere greeting.

"Why Susan, you're hyperventilating, your heart rate seems a little high, your forehead is hot and your cheeks are flushed," said the doctor. "Are you feeling all right?"

I replied, "I feel a little weak in the knees."

In answer he said, "Take off every thing and slip into the paper gown. I'll be back in a minute." He disappeared but, almost as an afterthought, stuck his head back into the room and said, "Oh, and please remove your underpants. "

That didn't slow down the heart rate!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Yeoman

Digital Painting

I HAVE A SUITOR

You can see him in this snapshot I took from my balcony.  By the way, you don't need to mention this to my husband.

My suitor (I so prefer that term to "stalker") is incredibly handsome and well groomed, with perfect posture. He always wears his uniform. I have identified it as the uniform that the Beefeaters wear save two minor differences.  The breeches and fuzzy high hat are both white, rather than scarlet and black, respectively. Queen Elizabeth has such a sense of style! She had the exact same uniform made up for my guard but with the white hat and breeches. This, of course,  is the Florida version of the Beefeaters' uniform.

He definitely has been sent from the Queen and is one of the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London.  His London counterparts' duties are, theoretically, to look after prisoners in the Tower and to safeguard the Crown Jewels.

I have no prisoners here at Ocean Place Palace, except for, say, my husband. But I have lots of jewelry. The Queen is an avid reader of my blog, got worried and sent one of her guys over to guard it for me. She has always been an extremely kind and generous fan.

My guard stations himself, stiff as a board  under my balcony day and night. I call, "Good morning, Yeoman" to him from my balcony, as did Juliet to Romeo. Indeed, I surreptitiously blow kisses to him during cocktail hours. My husband, puzzled, wonders, "What on earth is Susan up to  now?" as my kisses float off into the sea-scented air. At night I call down, "Sweet dreams,  my Yeoman."  Just as  strict  as any Beefeater at the Palace, he never responds in any way - just stands there  erect and immobile, not so much as a hint of a smile or the blinking of an eye. Still, I know he loves me.

Today is the last day here at my sand castle.  I am thinking that I cannot bear to leave Yeoman. He is a part of me now and has really gotten under my skin. I have decided to throw caution to the wind. I will go down on the beach and thank Yeoman for being there for me. Perhaps I'll kiss him goodbye and see what ensues. I am so excited to actually meet him.

Post script

Good heavens! I am shocked and dismayed. Perception has played a cruel trick on me.  There is no Yeoman–never was at all. I have fallen in love with a lifesaver stand!


Digital painting










Me Write Pretty Tomorrow

Susan and David, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches


SINCE IT IS MY EDITOR, David Rosen's, birthday today, this post is about his work on my blog. I would like to thank him for turning my uncut rough diamond-esque posts into the dazzling gems with clarity, cut and color that they become after he works his magic. Without his skill, my blog might possibly be entitled, "Random Thoughts About Random Stuff" or "A Blog - Not as We Know One." He is a natural born editor and easily removes the wheat from the chase; or is it chafe, err, uh, maybe staff? Got it– –laugh! No, chaff!

See what I mean.  I really need him! When he edits my prose, it tickles me down to the tips of my toes, right through my pantyhose. My word! I can't even tell he has had his way with my...words.

We met as he was commencing his legal career. He did the impossible and obtained a divorce for me from the Prince of Darkness, who really is a dangling participle. Extricating me from such an evil force required him to pull out all the verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections he ever knew–especially interjections–or do I mean expletives? After performing all that legal work for me, as he likes to put it, he got a promotion and became my husband. Now he concomitantly fills an even higher post as my editor. I thought that if I made him my editor, me write pretty one day.

Note to David: Happy Birthday! Thought it would be fun for you to read a post on which you didn't do any work. I hope you like my syntax. I love yours and I will love it for infinitive. Is that right? No, infinity!

Oh, never mind, you get the day off for your birthday. Me write pretty tomorrow!

Disclaimer: I assure you David Rosen did not edit this post.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Coming Out

Sketcchbook pen and ink drawing- Girl Smoking






Digital drawing - Girl Smoking Flowers 

























Painting, -  Coming Out, acrylic, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24"


































COMING OUT, will be  exhibited  at the Gallery at Westfield Broward, Plantation, FL in my solo exhibition, Garden Party,  which opens April 14. I invite you all to attend.

It is is yet another  example of my being inspired by an old sketchbook drawing. The sketch of the smoking girl is the basis for the painting. 

The first sketch shown above is the original drawing.  On the second sketch,  I layered translucent flowers over the original so I could see both the girl and the flowers clearly. This became the working drawing which guided  my  painting. After building up many layers of paint for the girl and the flowers, I painted the insects, wings and unraveling pupa. I then added cut paper for texture

As the the butterfly in the painting  is "coming out" of her  pupa, so is the painting "coming out" of the drawing.

To see more sketchbook-to-painting work follow this link:  http://depingoergosum.blogspot.com/2014/02/ear-count.html