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“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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ATTENTION!!

For all of you Art fans and Supporters of Artists…

I’ve just made my pledge to this VERY WORTHY PROJECT, and hope that you too will be inspired to become involved with the Kickstarter funding for Katherine Dunn‘s latest extraordinary book. Click on the link below to watch her professionally-produced and VERY charming video about the project, with images of Katherine’s wonderful art that will also become part of this book. (Sorry the ukulele music won’t be in the book!) I own two other Katherine Dunn books, and they will soon be dog-eared (or is that donkey-eared?) from the pleasurable times I’ve spend with them. Highly Recommended!!! Please pledge to this project if you can…you will be delighted with her art and her unique and wise reflections on Life.

Don’t delay, the Kickstarter clock is ticking…ticking…ticking… Find this project’s feature page and the video here: http://kck.st/2dBkAFF This project’s funding window will close November 3, 2016.

Go Itty!

🎄🎄Christmas shopping early? — this book would make excellent gifts, especially for animal and art lovers. (But since full-color illustrated projects always take a while to print and assemble, these beautiful books won’t be delivered until next Summer. Ahh, but such sweet anticipation!).

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is detective.

The English homeopath, Dr. James Compton Burnett (born?-1900) relied upon imagination as the intuitive source of his healing ability. At the time of his death, he had one of the most extensive and successful practices in Victorian London. Burnett’s close friend, Dr. John Henry Clarke (Constitutional Diseases) refered to this facility, and quoted Barnett:

“I don’t look where you look; I let my imaginations play about the case.”

Burnett’s imaginative ability gave him the therapeutic insight that others lacked. This bit of healing history is gratefully borrowed from Mathew Wood’s Seven Herbs: Plants as Teachers, where he writes that “Imagination is the vehicle through which the natural world communicates to us.”

It is, of course, through this same imagination that an artist accesses her own imagery, tapping into a deeper realm for the perfect solution to a creative problem. (Carl Jung grandly referred to this realm as the Unconscious, an aspect of the Mystery.)

Art-making (like healing) is a form of detective work… A patient gathering of clues, possibilities, and observations, a fair amount of leg-work, a gentle simmering and contemplating, an openness to outcome and… voila! a new image is born. (Often preceded by more than a bit of blood, sweat and tears… plenty of which are found in the detective work in those English mystery serials I have come to love…)

“Healing the Hydra (watercolor, gouache)

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