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“Untitled” © Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is icon.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines icon (noun) as:

1. a painting of Jesus Christ or another holy figure, typically in a traditional style on wood, venerated and used as an aid to devotion in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches. 

2. a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something: this iron-jawed icon of American manhood.

I think a humorous depiction of a modern Buddha sort of squeaks by in this category, don’t you…?

“Untitled” (watercolor, pencil)

 

 

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“Untitled” (pen & ink) © Susan Sorrell Hill

So…It’s Summer. It’s HOT. Why not a cool little monster blast from the past…? This one was a self-promo postcard from my freelance graphic artist days, circa 1993. The fellow on the left later became an oil painting, the dragon in the center became a bas relief sculpture, and the rock star on the right became a textile design for fabric. Hope you enjoy these critters! (The Illustration Friday word of the week is funk.)

“Untitled” (pen & ink)

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“Untitled” (watercolor, pen & ink) © Susan Sorrell Hill

You might know, if you’ve followed my work for a while, that before I worked in watercolor, I was an oil painter. A mid-life crisis brought me face to face with the realization that there were things I wanted to do (books) and mediums I wanted to go deeper into (drawing and watercolor) and that there was only so much time left.

I leapt.

But then (and this, I think, is one of the hazards of not working steadily) amongst all of the other chaos happening in my life over the last few years, I found myself back on the fence: watercolor or oils…watercolor or oils? A reasonable person might simply say, “Do both.” or, “It’s a no-brainer…oil is the medium of The Old Masters, and besides, oils sell for far more.” Or, “Choose and get on with it, damnit!”

But the best reasons and arguments haven’t been able to tear me away from my love affair with watercolor and drawing. My own brain and sense of responsibility has been my worst enemy. And a pros and cons list only tells me that the right decision (logically) is the wrong decision for me. Alas.

I’ve wasted a lot of time wrestling with this, and for a person who normally likes to know who I am and where I’m going, it’s been a particular kind of Hell. Truly. The only answer that keeps feeling right is, “Follow your heart. You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”

“Untitled” (watercolor, pen & ink) About this painting: it’s a sketch on a scrap of watercolor paper, from a possible imagined story. No, it’s nothing to do with anti-this or pro-that. It’s not political, it’s not taking a stand for anything except the joy of “taking a line for a walk.” Please don’t post political comments. They will be deleted.

 

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The Call

“Drink Me” (watercolor, pen & ink) © Susan Sorrell Hill

❦ I’ve always felt that an Artist was a person willing to be a channel for something much larger and far more mysterious than her or his little self. The modern kind of artists’ statement that includes phrases like “informs my aesthetic” and “my purpose” always seemed to be somehow…arrogant. Sometimes even a little bit aggressive, as if by authoritatively stating what they, the artists, were doing in grand terms, they could somehow push their importance and value onto the rest of us.

Maybe I’m just naive in this modern age, but it seems like being an artist should be — regardless of the tribulations of keeping body and soul together — first and foremost, a Calling. A calling that whispers in the night, when one is making the bed or washing the lettuce, showering, or pruning the hedge. A calling that itches in the fingertips and trembles in the heart. “Something wants to be born,” that whisper says. A calling that may, in fact, drag us through a certain kind of Hell, but it will be far worse for us if we refuse or linger overlong on the fence.

There is no explanation given, no reason given for the urgency, but the Calling is still insistent. “A fool’s leap! “Who would possibly want it and how could it even be marketed?” the Reasonable Mind argues back. “How much can I sell it for?” the Fearful Self joins in. There is a lot of Resistance. There always is. Artists are only human, after all. We get nervous when things are out of our control, when we haven’t a clue where they’re going and how it will all turn out. We fear for the loss of all things dear to mortals: our minds, our comfort, our safety and perhaps we fear for our status too.

A Calling is not, I think, ‘religious‘ in the normal sense of that word, unless your view of religion is devotion to something you can never hope to fully understand…devotion that has nothing to gain, no persona to maintain…a kind of death, really. The Calling I am referring to is much more like that quote, “I traded my life for a wild ride on a dark horse.” I wish I knew who wrote that. Following a Calling is so much like that. Exhilarating…terrifying…eerily calm all at the same time. Maybe life should always be like that, artist or no…?

Oh, and just in case it wasn’t clear, I don’t mean “Calling” in the sense that one is “special.” More a message that “This is yours to do here, if you are willing and brave enough to accept the challenge…” ♡

“Drink Me” (watercolor, pen & ink) © Susan Sorrell Hill ❦ SOLD. Sorry, no prints available of this beauty, as the original got away before I could have it professionally photographed. However!! There are lots of other images available in The Print Collection at www.susansorrellhill.com

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© Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is “giant.”

It’s been a while since I participated in Illustration Friday’s weekly challenge, but this image seemed just about perfect for this week’s fun prompt. (If you’ve got a good memory, you’ll remember that I used this image for another post a long while back.)

Isn’t it curious that we have so many adjectives in our language that describe the relative ‘size’ of things? In our human hard wiring, SIZE must matter! I mean, consider the need for precision in relating the relative threat to our ancestors of, say, a pterodactyl vs a mere turkey vulture…

Of course, a giant (as a noun usage of the word) can also be a creature unto itself, as so many myths and fairy tales can attest.  🙂

“In-Danger Species Meets King Kong” (pen & ink — sorry, no prints currently available of this one…but do visit The Print Collection gallery on my website for other curious images: www.susansorrellhill.com)

Truly, it is almost here!!
The first-ever HOLIDAY SALE is about to start in my Etsy shop —
All original art 20% off
November 10 ~ December 10 
(enter code HOLIDAYSALE in your shopping cart for the discount)
🎄♡🎄

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Holiday Sale ~

I will be hosting my first ever shop-wide Etsy Holiday Sale beginning next week: 20% off all original art  from November 10th through December 10th. Enter the code at checkout for this special discount. Visit the shop here.  ♡  (Note: this SALE will be happening in my Etsy shop, not on my primary website.)

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