Monday, November 27, 2017


Here are poems I wrote on 1-25-17 and 1-27-17.

Resurrected Hopes

Resurrected hopes
Of unbridled joy

Rekindled in anticipation
Of a thousand

Breaks the bonds
Of choking despair

Leading to fulfilled



Silenced Lamentations

Blackness shrouds
Silenced lamentations
Emptying hollowed
Hopes in anguished

Deepening despair
Widens chasms
Beckoning release
From hopeless
Binding grief
Succumbs to
Numbed abandonment
All the while yearning
For resurrected joy

Friday, November 24, 2017


I have been painting with cold wax medium and oil paints lately in addition to the encaustic.  It is so much fun! What I am enjoying about the medium is the way I can really build texture and maintain the evidence of the mark making.  I love the addition of the wax to the oil paint.  It gives a lovely wax sheen to the paint while still retaining the beautiful characteristics of oil.  The freedom to move quickly and assertively (sometimes aggressively) with the paint is a wonderful experience.  The immediacy of the medium is a refreshing change from the encaustic which requires an additional step of adding heat to the process of painting (for those of you who are unaware of the encaustic process, it requires a fusing process of heat to bond the layers of wax as you paint). 

The medium also helps express my concepts of fragility with the wax component of the paint.  Natural and organic, wax, being more of a fragile medium, mirrors the frailties of the human body. With encaustic, as wax is susceptible to exposure of the elements, it was enticing to me as it I found the parallels with human skin. Using it with that symbolism in many of my works, it was hard at first to switch mediums but with adding the cold wax to the oil paint, I was able to still maintain my concepts.. 

Materials are very important to me as they contain intrinsic qualities that aid the concepts of my art work.  In fact, the materials can dictate my concepts.  Rusted metal detritus - things that have been discarded and aged, bones - life and death, wax - human skin, all have given me the ideas to create.  Even the nature of encaustic, with its speed of working, speaks to the pace of our society and the transitory nature of our lives.  Now, with the cold wax medium and oil paint, I'm able to express the myriad of emotions of our experiences and add the human component of fragility.

These paintings I am currently working on are expressions of tension, anxiety, and angst.  The darker colors and textures are reminiscent of the emotions I was feeling at the time of their creation.  I typically do not use just my emotions for expression.  But lately, I have been aware of just how raw they are (it has been a hard year) so I am allowing myself to allow them to contribute to my creative process.  Gold has been added to the pieces to represent God, hope, and heaven. Despair, sorrow, anxiety can overcome a person but there is always hope in the transitory nature of our emotions and circumstances and that with God's help, we can prevail over them. 

I am also working on pieces utilizing fabric, cold wax medium and oil paint, and plan to actually burn the work.  They are part of a series of work titled, The Lamentation Series.  As the series is in process, I will post pics later. 

So, that is what I am doing!  I am so excited to see what develops with the work.  Pictures will definitely be shared.  Thanks for walking with me through this creative journey!  Until next time, take care, God bless, and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


I've been thinking about my materials, specifically my Adam Series which was created a few years ago.  Twenty-five pieces: five - 30"x40"x1.5", 5 - 36"x6"x1.5", 15 - 8"x8"x1.5".  These works absractly expressed the moment of the creation of humankind. I symbolized this creation with five colors that typified human skin: brown, black, red, yellow, and pink/peach (shown in the pictures).

I painted the pieces with encaustic (bees wax, damar, and pigment) and dirt.  The dirt represented the earth from which God used to form us in His image.  I tried to match the dirt with the pigment to create a unity within the pieces but found that some dirt needed to contrast the hues so some of the works have darker dirt within them.  The paint created the unity within the dirt so the pieces harmonized color-wise. 
The work was created using the skin tones on the bottom of the boards while white was used at the top to represent God.  The blending of the tones where the colors met symbolized the union of God and humankind when God was in the process of creation.

These works were on exhibit at Grace College in 2016 and I had the pleasure of engaging students in a discussion of the work.  One student brought up an interesting perspective on the exhibit which caused me to rethink the work.  A student of color, she asked why I used white to represent God; to her, it exemplified white supremacy.  That perspective never even entered my mind but listening to her made me realize that her perspective on the work was valid.  I had to rethink my choices with this series for that was never the intent of the work.  To me, as the creator of the work, the choice of white represented the purity of God and heaven but as a person of color, I could see, very easily, how she could view the series as she did.  As a white artist, my privledge as white was revealed in the work.  I needed to be more sensitive with my color choices. 

That brought me to a place of realization that I had neglected a color choice that was more consistant with my oeuvre - gold had typically been my color to represent heaven and God.  The purity of gold, refined by fire, has been, historically, the symbol of heaven.  I need to revisit my series and create works that reflect that symbolism.  So, I will embark on recreating the series, maybe not as many pieces, but I will create a series that echoes that visual language. 

That excites me for to revisit a complete series allows a new and fresh expression.  I doubt that the work will look anything like the original paintings.  I look forward to seeing what transpires with the work.  I will definitely post the pieces when finished. 

I am grateful to that student for bringing this to my attention. and look forward to the new creative endeavor.  Until next time, take care, enjoy, and God bless. 

Friday, November 17, 2017


Here's a response to an artist friend towards a conversation we had about abstraction vs. realism. Thought I'd share:
It is important to know what to include and what not to include within a work of abstraction. For how does the artist communicate a feeling or emotion? How does one break the human experience into a non-literal, visual language? That is a challenge to abstract artists - To express the essence of the human experience. The language of art is not just about reproduction, it is about the expression of the human condition. 

Susan M Gibbons - artist/educator