Interviews & Links

The Interviews & Links page over at www.susansorrellhill.artspan.com

You know you’ve been curious…

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“The Girl with Silver Hands” in its latest incarnation.

“The Girl with Silver Hands” (a painting inspired by the “Handless Maiden” tale from the Brothers Grimm) is now appearing in its latest incarnation: gracing the cover of the soon-to-be-released scholarly study, Disability, Deformity, and Disease in the Grimms’ Fairy Tales by Ann Schmiesing. The book is published by Wayne State University Press and will be available November 3, 2014 from Amazon. Ann Schmiesing is associate professor of German and Scandinavian literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of Norway’s Christiania Theatre, 1827-1867: From Danish Showhouse to National Stage.

From the publisher:

“Although dozens of disabled characters appear in the Grimms’ Children’s and Household Tales, the issue of disability in their collection has remained largely unexplored by scholars. In Disability, Deformity, and Disease in the Grimms’ Fairy Tales, author Ann Schmiesing analyzes various representations of disability in the tales and also shows how the Grimms’ editing (or “prostheticizing”) of their tales over seven editions significantly influenced portrayals of disability and related manifestations of physical difference, both in many individual tales and in the collection overall.”

From Maria Tatar, John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University and author of The Annotated Brothers Grimm (definitely one for the bookshelf if you’re a fairy tale fan):

“…Schmiesing locates the entire question of disability and prosthesis in a fascinating socio-historical context that enriches our understanding of the Grimms’ tales in profound way. It’s as if someone had deftly rotated the critical kaleidoscope of the last decade to create a completely new picture of the cultural stakes in the Grimms’ tales. A breakthrough work for fairy-tale scholarship.”

My personal thanks goes out to the designer, Bryce Schimanski, for a gorgeous design job incorporating one of my favorite watercolor paintings.


SusanSorrellHill“The Girl with Silver Hands” in it’s original incarnation (watercolor, pen & ink) is available as a museum-quality print in several sizes. The original painting is also available. Both can be found in the Watercolor Gallery at www.susansorrellhill.artspan.com.


Good news! In my continuing efforts to get it all (Is that even possible..?) working perfectly, I’ve just re-opened my Artspan.com site which shows, most beautifully, available-for-purchase original watercolors, as well as open-edition, museum-quality giclee prints from much of my watercolor, oil and works on paper archives. Prints are available in a range of sizes, starting at under sixty dollars. A large selection of matting and framing choices are optionally available too. These prints are gorgeous and everyone who’s bought one has been mightily pleased. Please do drop by for an artsy browse: www.susansorrellhill.artspan.com

Also…in a simultaneous move to consolidate and upgrade my work’s venue, I will be closing my Etsy shop. There will still be helpful links there on my profile page, if you find yourself in the neighborhood.

Continued massive thanks to my art fans, collectors and supporters!

The Illustration Friday word of the week is journey.

"Journey" © Susan Sorrell Hill

“Journey” © Susan Sorrell Hill

Said so succinctly by these folks:


“The voyage of  discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes.”      ~Marcel Proust


“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”      ~T. S. Eliot


“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”        ~Anais Nin

(Quotes from True Work: The Sacred Dimention of Earning a Living by Justine Willis Toms and Michael Toms)

Hmmm…now where have you seen this image before? A double-fudge sundae to that person who realized quick-smart that it’s my blog’s logo. (And it has also graced the home page of my old Artspan.com site). It’s one of my personal favorites, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never shown it in its entirety  here on a blog post before.


“Journey”   (watercolor, pen & ink, gouache, colored pencil)   “She journeyed with only a bird for company—destination uncertain but certainly assured.”                    **The original painting is available for purchase here.


“Untitled” from “The Emperor’s Pear Tree,” from an as yet unpublished folktale, © Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is repeat.

Have you ever been stuck in one of those no-win situations where the same unwanted (read: bad) results repeat over and over despite your well-intentioned and best efforts? Of course you have. It’s an all-too-human scenario that frequently—and maybe even necessarily?—precedes “learning,” that grand goal of Life. Nevertheless, it is a painful feeling to find oneself, once again, in the middle phase of a seemingly-endless process.

“This too shall pass!” is the handy phrase invented to balm the suffering of those of us in such a learning cycle. Notice that I put a positive spin on it? It seems necessary to keep in mind, if only for one’s sanity, that there is a larger purpose for this suffering, that something is asking, insisting even (if you’ve been in some particular cycle for a while) for Change. It’s not that the Universe is simply hostile, and that your suffering is Valid Proof of your favorite version of “What’s the use of trying anything at all?”

I love the way Portia Nelson’s poem, Autobiography in Five Short Chapters (quoted here from Dan Millman’s book, No Ordinary Moments: A Peaceful Warrior’s Guide to Daily Life) describes this process of change so matter-of-factly and compassionately:

Chapter One: I walk down the street and come to a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in; I feel lost–helpless–but it’s not my fault. It takes forever to find my way out.

Chapter Two: I walk down the same street and come to a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it, and fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place–but it isn’t my responsibility. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three: I walk down the same street and come to a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it–but I still fall in. By now it’s a habit. But my eyes are open; I know where I am . I take full responsibility; I get out immediately.

Chapter Four: I walk down the same street and come to a deep hold in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter Five: I walk down another street.

Brilliant! The next time we’re in this dreadful, albeit useful, cycle, let’s try asking ourselves, “OK, what am I supposed to be learning here…?” Who knows, we may even be able to skip Chapters Two, Three and Four, and happily get on with our journeys!


Untitled”     (watercolor, pen & ink, colored pencil)    “Even Aiko’s best cooking was refused.”    One of the illustrations from my as yet unpublished children’s folktale, “The Emperor’s Pear Tree.”

"Tiddy Mun" © Susan Sorrell Hill

“Tiddy Mun” © Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is invisible.

“Tiddy Mun” was a recent commission for Wit’s End Puppets in Washington, DC. Using the troupe’s research materials, a small group of individual artists was asked to create visual images of particular English fairies, that would then be used as inspiration for the actual puppet building. Their upcoming performance entitled, “Malevolent Creatures” will feature these puppets, as well as the paintings and drawings that inspired them. A very fun assignment! If you’re in the DC area, check out their blog for notices of upcoming shows, as well as ongoing photos and information about the world of puppetry.

Here is the description I was given for “Tiddy Mun.” (I’ve added a special cape because my own research turned up clothing that made this wee creature “invisible at dusk.”

Tiddy Mun of the Tiddy people (also known as Greencoaties, Yarthkin, or the Strangers)

Physical appearance: Tiddy Mun was an elder male of the Tiddy people, a physically repulsive bunch with thread-like limbs, long noses, and wide red tongues dangling from elongated mouths. Standing about a hand’s length high, Tiddy people had large hands and feet, and their drooping heads rolled about on their shoulders. They typically wore green clothes with yellow hats that were the color of fungus.

Lore: Tiddy people had a strong connection with the natural world. When happy, they would help corn to ripen and all green things to grow. They twittered and cheeped like birds, and they were fond of dancing – particularly at night, when they would dance on great flat stones in the moonlight. Sometimes, they would even dance by fireplaces in houses after people had gone to bed, and crickets would play music for them. When angry, the Tiddy people would yelp like angry hounds, and they would stop the crops from growing. In an effort to keep the Tiddy people happy, humans would spill milk or beer beside the fireplace for them to drink, and they would set out the first flowers, fruit, or vegetables from a harvest and lay them on stones for the Tiddy people to eat.

Source: Briggs, Mrs. Balfour


“Tiddy Mun”   (watercolor, pen & ink, pencil, gouache)   The original painting is available for purchase in my Shop here.


© Susan Sorrell Hill

© Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is fragile.

I had a close encounter with a yard waste bin today. Who knew those unwieldy, chest-high squarish things that weigh a ton when full could be lethal weapons in their own right? One moment I’m attempting to push an almost-full bin across a bumpy lawn and the next moment I’m on the ground feeling shocked and fragile with a wrenched and smashed knee, a banged head and compressed neck, a minor case of trauma and a major case of wounded pride. (Those of you who follow mind-body precepts will instantly recognize the correlation between knees and pride in this little story.)

Alas. It was the second time in two weeks that I’d injured myself significantly in my elderly in-laws back yard doing gardening chores out of the reluctant goodness of my heart. Two weeks ago it was a sprained right wrist (now the lesser injury, but since I am right-handed, still a drag) from lifting heavy objects plus shearing off way too many dead iris leaves with a vintage and very heavy pair of tailor’s shears. Tiny wrists and an old injury to the same forearm from stacking firewood several years ago combined to present the (unlearned) Lesson Number One here.

Luckily for my aching body, I’m not going to wait for Lesson Number Three (as in, “Third time’s a charm…”). So here’s my great insight from this experience: Never volunteer out of a sense of obligation to do yard work at your in-laws. If the family dynamics flying fast and thick as dragonflies at sunset don’t get you, the pointy objects and lurking rocks, ladders, waste bins and hoses will. Enough said.


“Burning Bush”   (watercolor, pen & ink, colored pencil)    The original painting is available for purchase here.


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