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Archive for April, 2011

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is journey.

It seems so fitting that this week’s word is also the title of the painting I use for this blog’s masthead. If I was looking for an external confirmation of my intuition, this would surely be it…

The outer journey is wearing on me these days…and the Inner Journey is calling. (Read the previous post here for more details on this.) I will be taking a leave of absence from blogging for a while…don’t wait up! In the meantime, there is a year’s worth of meaty posts here to catch up on, and if you want to chat like we have been doing (you know who you are), please feel free to drop me a line at artalchemy@mac.com.

Still ’round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate. And though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun.

J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings


“Journey”   (watercolor, pen & ink)

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is (was last week: sorry!) bottled.

I’m getting that feeling again. It’s a strange cross between the flu and the blues. An itchy, irritating tingling in the spine. Nothing satisfies, and there is a vague sense of something welling up from the murky depths. It wakes me up in the middle of the night, and leaves me restless and anxious in the cold light of day. Having been here many times before, I recognize the symptoms of impending change. Not change of the everyday variety, but change with a capital ‘C.’ The type of Change that does not leave me where it found me, and is harder and more painful when I resist.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Change could be bottled? That way, I could take it in small doses, gradually and gracefully. I could keep my smile, my sleep, my productivity and my waistline while transitioning to a more genuine me, a new medium, or a new and deeper level of art-making.

But no. Change comes when it will. And though it does not feel like it during the process, Change is my friend. Snake, butterfly and bear all attest to the truth that change is natural. Seasons and cycles of the moon say it too. Why do we humans fight it so? Our friends or family will probably insist that we are slackers, failures, or courting disaster, and should get back on that proverbial productive horse. What would the neighbors think? In the privacy of our own minds, we say these things to ourselves too.

But speaking from experience…resistance is futile: it only slows the process. What is being called for in this process of Change is complete internal surrender, even as we go through the minimum of motions to sustain everyday life. A retreat, a sabbatical, pondering dreams, and meditation can be helpful too. We are gestating something new, and that something coming wants to be honored.

This time…I intend to cooperate with Change. I plan to give it my fullest attention, to support it with exercise and sunshine, healthy food, fewer distractions and avoidances, enough solitude, and more respect. With pencil, paper and paint in hand, I plan to do a lot of internal listening. Who knows what will happen when I willingly give Change the reins?

This being said, dear readers, I will be taking a sabbatical from blogging for a while. I will be painting more consistently, and am excited (and anxious) to see what the fruits of this cycle of Change will be. At some point, some of the new work will be shown in a Trade Your Talent blog Art Exhibition, so if you’d like to hear about that, check back or become a subscriber to this blog or the Trade Your Talent blog.

I leave you with this wise quote from The I Ching Workbook, by R. L. Wing about how to recognize the need for Change:

Hexagram #45–Assembling:  “…When you are not in accord with your goals, you may feel indecision, conflict or malaise. When you are, a sense of confidence and well-being will surround you.”

“Drink Me”   (watercolor, pen & ink)

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Two weeks ago, I announced my blog’s first Anniversary Giveaway. (See previous post here.) By impartial drawing (see, it’s a man’s hand, not mine), the winner of the “Inner Wisdom” print plus some other beautiful surprises is… Sue Pownall of the UK!

Congratulations, Sue. And heartfelt thanks! to all of my kind and generous readers who entered the contest and left some wonderful comments too!

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is duet.

It seems that Spring has finally arrived here in Northern California. After an unusually wet, stormy and snowy Winter, the ground is dry enough to clear away fallen trees and branches, daffodils along the freeway are blooming, hills are covered with soft green fuzz, and the blue jays have returned to our neighborhood.

It is also Mating Season for much of the natural world. Tiny green frogs are announcing their availability with unbelievably large croaks (relative to their body size), cats will soon be singing (or yowling) duets with other cats for the right to make kittens, red newts are searching (excruciatingly slowly) between rocks for their perfect newt-mate, and soon those blue jays will return (we hope) to rebuild their nest on our porch for another batch of fuzzy jay-lets.

It is this time of the year…as predictable as clockwork but so difficult to remember in the dead of Winter…that renews my faith in the Cycle of Life. Everything in Nature seems to be building up for the Ta-Da of blooming, birth or fruiting…and we humans are the lucky recipients and observers of all of this bounty. Clearly, there is a force operating that is way beyond and above the petty, disastrous and unconscious activities of us humans…and I am reminded of this so gently and beautifully at this time of year, that I can’t help but take it in and feel the green sweetness of Hope.

May you feel it too…it’s been a rough few months for many, many of us on planet Earth.


“Yowlers” (acrylic on board)

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