Round One: Let the Game Begin!

“…walking into the sunlight of my artistic future!”

I Will find the WILL!!

My Founding Artist painting: The first of my works to be placed in The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation’s Permanent Collection!

Fittingly titled “Crossing the Deleware, Well Aware” it shows my journey from despair and being held back by my past to shedding the overcoat of depression and walking into the sunlight of my artistic future! I based this title on the little “George Washington” Dude lurking down in the bottom center of the painting…See his funny hat?

My “Doubting Suzie” Ways

Ok, friends, here’s the deal: I quit working as Frank Strunk III’s intern last week. Why, when I was enjoying learning from him so much? Why, when my mind was blooming open to all kinds of brilliant metal working techniques, and my mind was being blown by his artistic vision?

“Why in the world would you do that Susan Todd?”, Susan Todd asked Susan Todd.

I figured out the answer to that yesterday, although the reasons I gave Frank were that

A. I need to focus on my work I already do, cause it’s what I do. (Huh?)

B. I am doing a piece about my Dad and I’m an emotional landmine.(Hmmmm….What?)

C. I have been invited to a big event and need to focus.(Nope.)

D. Too many scattered efforts make Suzie nuts. (Now THAT makes sense)

Did I do the right thing? I wasn’t sure, because I really want to make metal art. I’m frequently making impulsive decisions and regretting them. He was generous with his time, his tools, opening his shop, his art and heart to help an emerging artist. And I bailed, just when I was really digging in.

An Emotional piece about my Dad…Work in Progress. “Dead Men Tell No Tales”©STMartin2022 (started last week!)

I hate how my Bipolar Disorder makes me run Soooo Hot and then drops me on my doubtful butt. But it did, and here I am. Have I done what I said I was going to do? Well, yes. Yes I have. So that is good, I really have benefited from focusing on less! I have finished one of the pieces for the new INSIGHTS V call and started 2 more. I entered the Art of Possibilities Show in Missouri with 3 works, and finished 2 Grant applications plus am working on a third. And this third one is a doozy.

THE IMAGES ABOVE are of ‘THE DREAMING FOREST’ ©STMartin2022 (A New Work!)

I didn’t get the last three I applied for, but I’m getting better all the time at writing them. This new one I am having trouble writing, but that is ok. I AM REACHING OUT!! Oh, and I finished my Art Business course that the St Pete Arts Alliance gave me a scholarship for!

So, have I been working, and trying and FIGHTING for myself?

Yes! YES!! YES!!!! Making connections and forging ahead, breaking new ground in new and exciting directions. Learning new marketing skills and remembering old ones I had forgotten. Benefiting from taking little risks and meeting new artists.

Now that I have written this I am astounded at all I have accomplished in the past 2 months. I really am a creative Powerhouse! Cutting thru the choppy waters like a PRO! Go Suzie, Go Suzie!

There is NO limit on my creative potential! I can SOAR! Look at me go!!

one of my commissions from 2021

An Artist’s Realization:

“My dreams are NOT dead!…”

Stepping Off

What did I dream of then ? The freedom to create new art, better art than anyone had done before. I dreamt of sculpture, glorious-creamy-marble-gleamy sculpture. Human form expressed in visions of living flesh to make one weep.

Pushing the limits of what had gone before, finessing my gift to a razor fine point that would etch images so tantalizing that Albrecht Durer would be green with envy. I had no doubt in my teenage grandiosity that these goals were within my reach, I knew I was “that good”. All the tools were laid before me, I believed they would always be freely given by a grateful world, an appreciative audience who would grease my path to slide into the role of a modern day Michelangelo, only in female form.

Perhaps I dreamed a bit large, but how wonderful to entertain such beliefs! With no guardrails to hem in my imagination my art soared, with no thought to the cost of materials or the the limiting exhaustion that real world work brings.

Well, guess what? I am making those dreams a reality today. I found someone who is willing to give me a chance, an opportunity to learn from his experience. I gathered my courage and kept asking, even when it seemed like I was getting nowhere. After following up on a suggestion a local CAD artist made to seek out this artist (thank you Alex!); I am proud to say I am learning from metal artist Frank Strunk III.

My dreams are NOT dead, I AM following my passion. I have the drive and vision, now with a little funding I will be soaring again! Soaring! On riveted metal wings, in welded metal carriages, in sculpted hot-air balloons and on the backs of giant imaginary sea creatures! Watch me soar, man!!!

Painting My Heart Out

Woo Hoo ! I am an artist WHIRLWIND again! Hang on, cause art is flowing out of me in a torrent, and I need more hands. I am happy to be out of “funk town” for a while! I entered six shows in the past month and now have 5 paintings accepted into these shows . Four of the five shows. I can’t believe how things snowball. The piece above is a Work in Progress, one of my Surrealist pieces, with a working title of Angry Birds, a little pun on the silly game people play on their devices. I’m rethinking that right now, I may put people off by that. But who cares if I like it, right? Naming Art is the Artist’s privelege. Kind of like children; you made it, you name it! And here’s a fun little twist…how many Birds do you see?

I painted what I believe to be my best piece as far as figurative art, it’s an acrylic mixed media piece which is a statement piece about justice and human trafficking…It is named “Stuck in Traffic (Framed) and I will post it, and the one mentioned above as soon as I sign them in a few minutes here… Be patient, I had to lie down for a minute. I decided a while back that I must sign my work before I post it online… Silly, really, you can’t stop the thievery no matter what you do, if you decide to post your art online. I recently read a piece considering the benefit vs risk of putting your art online. If you decide not to you are missing out on reaching millions of people, perhaps billions. If you want to sell your art, and/or share it with an audience, then the risk is one you must take. Unless of course you are going to let it spead just by word of mouth. Then it would take 100 years telling 5 people a day to reach 182,500 people, if they did not tell anyone else. If each one told 5 others then… wait a minute, you get the idea. It would take a long time.

Impressionism is my dearest love, and I hope one day to paint like Pissaro, or maybe Gauguin… Of course I have my own style, and I concentrated more on my brushwork in this piece, and multicolored skin to show my feelings rather than accurate realism. I especially love the dramatic shadows, I tried to be brave! Like I’m not passionate enough, right? I’m proud of the results! I will list all the shows I’m in in the next few days, with their websites and dates…

The Hurrier I Go…

THE BEHINDER I GET

How true, how true that Pennsylvania Dutch saying is. I squander my art endeavors, rushing from this deadline to that, frazzled, befuddled and unsatisfied. That may be what drove Van Gogh insane, the constant turmoil to do better. I am making the presumption that perhaps the rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder that I enjoy(!) was somehow effecting him, too. Many artists share this mental illness, I know that The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation has held Insights Art Exhibitions, to establish a permanent collection of works by artists who are effected by this disorder. I am proud to be one of the Founding Artists of that collection, and proud to know these beautiful people who have done so much to further research in the field.

Three years, three works of my art in this collection. It blows my mind, just as my art has been blowing peoples minds since I was a child. How easy I forget, and wallow in my mire. That is part of this disease also. The dark days, when no amount of internal dialogue can push me out of bed, out of the bleak landscape in my head. Do you think Van Gogh, or Matisse, or Dali had such dark times? What about Francis Bacon, Pollock, Warhol ?

Then why do I feel so alone in my efforts? Yes, I’m sure the worldwide pandemic has a dampening effect, on artists as well as everyone else. Perversely, I also treasure the isolation it affords me. No one can chastise my late hours, or visit to be aghast at the paint on my floor, on my walls, on me. I think I need to get out of the house more, go walk on the beach, visit a park. All things strange and alien nowadays. I know this will pass, I have been in counselling and under proffesionals care for my Bipolar Disorder and PTSD for nearly 30 years, I take my medication every single day, because I have been all the way down into the abyss and made friends with the monsters lurking there. Only to find out that they all wanted me dead. I don’t want to be dead. I can fully understand why I did, because this pain is all encompassing. I feel each cell screaming at me to give it relief.

Not too happy, guys…

The only thing I can do is paint myself into a painless reality, a utopia of color, a sweet dream of lavender and silk, a field of gold. When sleep won’t come I will disappear into the garden that flows out of my pen, winding its way into sweet fantasy-lands where no one is mean and there is no such thing as loneliness…

The Big Show

One just can’t help getting one’s hopes up when entering shows. You read the call, you think “Wow! Piece of Cake! That’s exactly the kind of art I do anyway!”

If , on the other hand I said, “Wow! That is one tough call. I WILL REALLY HAVE TO DIG DEEP AND PUSH MY LIMITS…” Now, this would be the scenario where I could create a masterpiece.

I recently entered a call where membership was a requirement… I have done this type before, but not when funds are low. Because now you have, not only the entry fee, but the membership dues as well. (It’s funny, non artists are often shocked that it ‘costs money?!?’ to enter an art show.) Well, this one seemed right up my “art alley”. I had experience, I had won shows like this before. PIECE OF CAKE! I’M A SHOO IN! (Or is it a Shoe in?) So I dove in. Headfirst. Knocked off a Statement lickety-split. Sent a sample of my work and the entry and membership fee without a backward glance, and it was just a week or so before they would notify me of my big check in the mail.

Ah….about that big check… Not only did I not win, I did not even qualify to participate!

Hear that hissing sound? Pffffffffffffffttttt….That’s the sound of all the air coming out of my big head. Oh, Miss Overconfidence, you not feeling so good, hmmm? Kind of sicklee?

YOU DESERVE THE LETDOWN, YOU GOOF!!!!

Yes, I know that now. I realize how nonchalant I was. I couldn’t even take the time to ask anyone how to send the entry in properly, so I sent the wrong sample work. Too proud to let the judges know I needed help. Such a big, fine, famous, sought-after artist like me!

My job, now that I’m done licking my wounds, is to dust off my britches and learn everything I can from the artists who did get in the show. Be a good sport, celebrate their success and do better next time. Every setback is a stepping stone to bigger and better things!!

(Just not too much bigger or better!)

Sigh…ANYhoo, I finally finished the commission I have been working on since the beginning of December. (whew!) The ‘million dollar by the hour’ painting…Now there is another learning experience. I had a mentor who was a top shelf oil painter tell me to start out charging 22 bucks an hour plus materials, as this was the wages for skilled labor at that time; and “don’t feel sorry for asking for what you are worth!!!”

Those wise words did not stick for some reason…every client is my “friend” and every “friend” wants a “deal”…So I run around making what boils down to about 4 dollars an hour and whining about being “cheated”. Nobody likes a whiner, least of all me. I’m always having to settle for cheap paint, cheap canvas, cheep cheep goes the birdee.

I have made up my mind (again) to work on art that frees my mind and my spirit. Not beholden to any one style or genre or “ism”. Art that celebrates my vision, my unique vision. Hooray!

IN the Mirror

recognizing my BIPOLAR self image

“A Big Beak”…by Susan T. Martin

I’m in “Wonderland” right now. Been here for a week or so. Time seems to be inching by, my head too heavy to lift off the pillow. Not sick physically, I’m just…just…what can I tell you? I have had some unknown trigger going me headlong into a timewarp. Into a place I never ever wanted to return to…

Is the reflection REAL?

My art, from it’s earliest inception, has contained 2 sided faces. Always compelled to create a smiling side juxtaposed to a moody/dark side. Even before I consciously knew the face was symbolically my own, before I had ever heard of mental illness or anyone called manic depressive illness bipolar, I was painting my double sided inner person. I have doodles and sketches from grade school where this manifested…it was a necessary act to portray my protagonist self this way. This was the girl inside of me, who would soon find ways to hide from physical reality in altered states…

The inner struggle raged on in imagination…detail of “The Sentinel’s Prayer” by Susan T. Martin2018

After the traumatic events of my young life had begun, my self-image became warped and twisted. My mental despair manifested itself in self harming behavior: anorexia/bulemia, punching walls, suicide attempts…to this day, nearly 50 years after the onset of the abuse, I still cannot eat without feeling ugly afterwards.

It’s Just Me…

“He bandaged my broken hands that had beaten down my own hopes…”

Not Famous…no where near it… Glad of that, today. Happy inside my little cottage, warm and contemplating making a dessert recipe. Maybe I’ll share it with my Friend across the way, she’s a true friend.

Thinking fuzzy thoughts about my Mother, Carol, today. Remembering her smell, her feel when I embraced her. The soft place between her breasts where I would lay my head as a child. Mummy…

She was always hiding…her emotions, her loves, her hates. Hiding inside huge tee shirts and under handmade afghans-waiting for that rotten husband of hers to say or do something kind… Hiding because he was never kind…

I grew up a cross between the two of them: Needy and uncertain juxtaposed by selfish and unkind. A brutal mix of warring selves, hating myself more than the world, then hating all the world and myself.

Brittle and broken around the edges, warm and soft in the middle-like a cookie baked at too high a temperature…

I had run hard, played hard, fought hard and burned out, the crumpled package of me still held a broken and beating heart. My God reached in and ever-so-gentle pulled me out of the fire. He helped me as the layers of the skin I had worn sloughed off, he brought me across vast deserts filled with the skeletons of my broken dreams, over pits full of the venom of self-loathing…He bandaged my broken hands that had beaten down my own hopes, and placed me gently on a bed spread with forgiveness and love. He pulled the covers over me like the wings of the Eagle and He held me fast with ropes of loving kindness…Oh how I love him now, how much his love has filled me. I don’t have to hide, because I am healed, the scars on my face have faded. The scars on my heart remind me sometimes that I have to stretch out further than some to forgive…

When you work at a scarred and injured part of your body, you have to rub it and work it over and over, over and over to break up all the scar tissue. So when our hearts are hurt it takes working at this loving, working at this forgiveness, working at this gratitude to learn to expand our hearts again…to open our hearts wide…

Passed On©STMartin2010

Are You Confused?

Who Was I Then? Am I Now? Who Will I Become?

I know that we change, it is a natural thing. I’m not hung up on the aging process… the CREATIVE PROCESS is where my interest lies. My creative life ebbs and flows like the ocean, like my moods, like my illness…

Must I always speak of my art as it relates to being mentally ill with Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, OCD and /or whatever else plagues this brain of mine? YES, I think I must, because they are so intimately entwined and entangled. The Creativity comes out of the Mood, like a hand from the mist, holding a paintbrush. Flick of the wrist, this way or that- a line drawn here, a dot placed there…Mind expands, engages with the mood, holding the brush…as these wheels turn emotions are enhanced, a certain recognition occurs-as the act of painting plugs into the unconscious. Now I am unburdened, unbridled…set free to run as far and fast as I please. My physical self is left far behind on distant shore, I am just line and color, shape and opacity, flow and ebb, ebb and flow.

I want to stay suspended in my artistic dream forever, and I try. Forgoing sleep, even food, I immerse myself in the sensuality of creating beauty, even if my beauty is ugly on this day. It is a feeling felt, a thought expressed without words, a slash of yellow, a bobble of green. Fresh, lively-dank, dark. Run the gamut, go the distance…

I never stop at “dainty”, or find relief at “pretty”….no, I have to press on, and pile on the color, make it scream with indecent pinks and green. Make it cry out in crimson, dance wildly in plum. Bring on the tears in every shadow of the colors of the night.

I remember these works. I want to make more.

I like selling little birdhouses, but painting them is hurting my fragile psyche. I wasn’t made to paint smiley faces, was I? Am I selling, or am I selling out…?

A Freewheeling Frenzy!

This Beauty is one of a pair of Cabintet from a large entertainment stand, The Other is outside, drying…

I have to get the mix just right: a smidgen of anxiety, a pinch of hunger, a good dose of caffeine and just about 48 hours without sleep and *BAM*! The NY creative lightning strikes! Tonight was the night, today was the day, cleaning off my museum pieces with fine brushes, repairing and sprucing up the shelves to display new work… Giving my custom painted floor a deep cleaning in preparation for the faux Renaissance tile I will be handpainting there.

I am pulling out all the stops while the proverbial light is green for GO!! I pulled out all my nearly finished projects for a big push to clear the studio, putting all the months (years?) of pondering into real execution. Clean the brushes, check all the supplies and paint paint paint!!

Here are a couple newbies, from today…

oooo…
“M’lady Insomnia”, 12″ x 12″ on Canvas ©STMartin2020

HIGH Time

“introducing SUTI’S Whimsies, Susan T. Martin’s Joyful, Buoyant Designs…

Introducing:

SUTI’S WHIMSIES

Susan T. Martin’s JOYFUL, BUOYANT Designs

For Your Distinctive

HOME and GARDEN!!

So many irons in the fire. I’m trying SO HARD to stay focused and get my online sales sites going for my ‘Suti’s Whimsies” Art. I am planning on separating this side of my art practice to include my lighthearted works, the birdhouses, end tables, tiny tables, suncatchers and flowery objects I whip out fairly fast. (when I’m not sitting here doodling all night!) I have SO many sites that I don’t keep up with, so I am choosing one platform for those, and marketing them as whimsical home and patio decor. I like the name Suti, it combines my first Name and initial in a cutsie way(to go with the cutsie art!) I had copyrighted my ‘cartoon’ Characters , “DINGLEBERRY AND FRIENDS” back in 2002. I will put ©SusanTMartin on those items. I am getting really good response on these ‘low dollar’ items , using Facebook Marketplace. I had 5 people in one day clamoring for the first birdhouse, today I sold 2 more before they even were listed!! At this rate I need to hire assistants to help me keep up. I’m going to hit these hard for a while, gain some much needed capital to enter some shows this season. Oh, plans , plans !! One foot in front of the other! I have to figure out which payment options to use. I made this site just premium again, I couldn’t get it together with the business option. I wish I had a manager to handle the marketing… Should I approach one? Try to get a small business license? I wish I knew. I’m so held back by my brain injury… marketing and Logistics aren’t my high point any more… Never were , really….ah well, I’m still a happy peasant.

Free My Mind for You/ Free Your Mind for Me

…inside myself I am whole, where I am not broken…

As it should be, so it shall be. Inside myself I am whole, where I am not broken. I am lonely in a great big crowd, but never alone when I am here. Do you feel the radio waves frying our brains? Or is that just those pickles I ate.? Let’s go with the pickles, the other is too tough to contemplate.

“Last Antelope Hunt”, Mixed Media on Board 8″x10″unframed ©Susan T. Martin2020

Yellow Belly.

…Random Words, Targeted Pain….Red, Yellow, Green and Brown Pain…White Pain…My Pain…

Red Jello. Green jellybeans…Green-Eyed Greedy Gut: runs around eating the whole world up.

Red Beans and Rice. Red Eye Gravy. Red Bone Coon Hound,

Yellow Rice. Condaleeza Rice. Yellow-bellied Sap Sucker. Red Robin. Red Skin Potatoes.

Green Godess. Long Island Iced Tea. Rum. Lots and lots of Rum.

Brown Gravy, Brown Eyed Girl…Skin Browned by the Sun. Skin.

Smooth Skin, Tanned Skin, Supple Skin. Skin Head

Random Words, Targeted Pain. Lasting Pain, Throbbing, Stabbing, Burning, Achy , Dull, Acute Pain.

Red Yellow Green and Brown Pain. White Pain. My pain.

FAIL…SAFE?

“…a drive to put what is playing on my internal projector out into the real world, for others to see…”

Stick your neck out. You gotta fail to win. Break a leg. And on and on…

A new Hybrid Creation!! A physical 3/D art mask with Digitally Painted surround!! Cool, man! ©Susan T Martin

Do you think of yourself as fearless? I used to think I was-when I was very, very drunk. Then I would cling to my “old man”, laughing like a lunatic, as we would race down I-26 at about 120mph on his old shovelhead. Whew…

That is not fearless. That’s just insane.

I was asking God the other day, to let me know what kind of art I should create. He did not suddenly give me skills like Michaelangelo, unfortunately. However, I share the same birthday with that marvelous personage. (Michaelangelo, that is…)

God has remained quiet, and has allowed me to decide what to make. That is why he gave me an imagination. And a drive to put what I see playing on my internal projector out into the real world, for others to see. Sometimes what I choose to show is not pretty, but has some meaning for me. At times my work is mildly odd, at others it can be painful for me to see, because the images or emotions have come from a deep and scary place. This particular type of art can be very therapeutic for me as a survivor; I take the monster out of the box, turn it this way, then that, think on it a bit, maybe beat it up a little, and then put it safely away again.

I feel strong after I do that, because I chose how to interpret the emotion, not the perp.

I saw it thru my lens, from a distance I am comfortable with, and I share what I choose to share. When I am at my bravest, I am not considering what the viewer might think at all. That may sound counter-intuitive , after all, don’t I want to please the viewer? Coax them into buying my art?

Aren’t I actually shooting myself in the foot?

( It really is going to be Allright, Mother…I will not starve…)

I feel like such a big chicken when I create art to please the masses. Well, I don’t have “masses”, how about a ‘mass’. How about a ‘mess’? If messes were my main concern I’d be Uber famous, because I have messes everywhere.

Anyway, I create art because I am an artist. It’s part of me. It’s not a job, it’s my identity, my natural state of being.

Should I paint “safe” so as not to “fail”….

I will create art, that is what I do. As long as I do this , I will always be ‘safe’ in the knowledge that I gave that which I have so graciously been given.

Don’t let fear of failure cause you to fence yourself in. Find a break in that fence, gather your courage and break thru!! When you free yourself from the constraints of creating for someone else, your imagination will soar to great new heights!!

This was one of those paintings that Hurt, as I was painting it… But it had to be done, for my own healing…

IN the DOGHOUSE

…there is a niggling worry, about the big C…CO I mean…VID…

BLOCKY the ROCK HOUND, work in progress, Concrete Block and Rocks©STM

Sigh… I’ve been feeling crappy… Really Awful… SICK. It has caused a pause in my production of work. There is this niggling worry, of course, about the big C, CO I mean…VID. I don’t believe this is it, am hoping very strongly that this is not it. The headache is from a sinus infection that seems to always correspond to this changing season. So, I have been fighting, on this front, for about a week.

I rely so much on my little Kleo as a huggable, furry sounding board , having recently experienced the grief of losing her uncle Kiko last month. She became violently ill yesterday, and had to be rushed to the astronomically expensive emergency vet. Five hundred plus dollars and a day later she is stabilized, but I’m not sure I am. The running total on all my credit cards is the highest I’ve ever had, and the gallery I use has been virtual for months. Sales are nil for now, so I feel pressured to create a masterpiece . But I keep falling asleep with my paintbrush for my hand, and abstract ain’t my bag at the moment. Perhaps it should be. I could, in my stupor, lay a blank canvas on the floor by my couch and hold an open paint jar over it while I doze. Perhaps some nice swirly “pour”will result…( This is a JOKE. )

The day before my illness I painted a new canvas, and I feel very pleased with it, even though my freehand jug is rather “interesting”. I do have more works in progress , soon to come to fruition as Kleo Pup and I mend. Yay. I mean, “YAY!!”

“Party Girl”

Hot Off The Easel! “Party Girl” 12″x 12″ Paint Pen on Canvas©STM

Just another view of “Party Girl” by Susan T. Martin, Created just an hour ago! Memories of Franky and Johnny’s / Gemini Room in Fort Pierce, Florida!

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