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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Sunday, November 3, 2019

Castle in the Sky

Castle in the Sky, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches, 

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."


You can view and purchase my work on my website

Monday, May 13, 2019

Insect Queen

We called my father “Daddy Long Legs” because he was tall and had extremely long legs. He told us that he had been drafted by the New York Knicks, but had decided to become a surgeon and use his extremely long fingers instead. Of course, he was a pathological liar and there is no evidence to support his claim that he was drafted to play professional basketball. However, he really did become a surgeon.
I offer this bit of family history as an explanation for my kindly and unusual relationship with insects. I am in awe of their exquisitely designed, exotic little bodies. Their shape, construction, patterns and colors serve as inspiration for me as an artist. I am amazed by their variety: they outnumber any other class in the animal kingdom. I feel it is my duty to take care of them. In fact, I love them. This is called father-insect transference.

My husband on the other hand, dislikes and is frightened by these little bugs. He believes they are terrifying and the ugliest things he has ever seen. If an insect is in a room, he will not enter until I have removed the alien offender. I perform this task with kid gloves – not for my protection, but so I do not injure their vulnerable little bodies, frail limbs and antennae. I relocate them to the gardens outside of our cottage. Other services I perform for them are as follows: I have removed them from my dog’s mouth when she decided to make a snack out of them; I let spiders spin their webs in my gardening hat – sort of like a veil (I only ask that they do not have too large a family); I import ten thousand lady bugs every summer to live happily in my perennial garden; I pray over dead praying mantises.

One very hot and sunny summer day, I was weeding in my rock garden along with forty or so pollinating bees. They were swirling all around me, even my face, and sometimes even landing on me. I was not afraid. They are my co-workers and friends. (I have only been stung once in many years and I am sure that sting was an accident.) I noticed my husband watching me from the porch, lemonade in hand, with a huge smile on his face. Through the jalousies he called, “I’m the luckiest man in the world.” I called back, “Why? Because I love you, I’m a good gardener, my visa bill was low, pretty, smart, talented, good worker , cook, what….” He replied, “No, because when the insects take over the world and kill all human beings, you will be their queen and they will spare me because I am married to you.”

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Turtle Tat

Of a turtle on his back
Bri stopped in at the Tattoo Shack
The tatteur misunderstood
Didn't think that he could.

He was just a  hack
And lacked the knack
For painting a turtle on a back
And since he wore a thick wool hood
Couldn't hear as well as he should.

Without the least amount of  flack
He gave Bri a thunderous whack
Put all but his face in the back of the Mack
 And truly believed what he did was swell
As he glued Bri's face to a turtle shell.

The turtle dove deep into the blue
With only Bri's face as his crew
Who knew? Maybe a few
That the man who wanted a turtle tat
Would become one just like that!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Aragonite For Breakfast

OYSTERS on the half shell
Delicious! - slide or chew
Not so easy though
When the eyes look up at you.

And just before my bite
It screamed, "Arrhggg, Aragonite*!
Aragonite!" with all its might
Fingers raised, staring in fright.

"Choke, choke," I heard it croak
Poke, poke, I poked the bloke
Cough, cough, it spit up a pearl
I  didn't eat but gave it a twirl

To get the pearl of course! I am a girl
With no remorse. "To the sea with ye!"–hurl!
I hung the pearl from my necklace
And then went on with my breakfast.

PS  *Aragonite is the mineral normally found in pearls.
 It is more powerful than kryptonite.

PPS  Only really good sports will model for me anymore.

Paint on,