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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is imagination.

I have no idea where my ideas and images come from. If I did, I think I might be tempted to change my address and live there permanently…

Most of the time, they develop as I draw. If I’m really lucky, they drop in fully formed out of nowhere (now here) while I’m doing something entirely different…taking a shower, falling asleep, driving, doing yoga, daydreaming.

My imagination teases me with thoughts of “…how nice it would be if the source of Creativity was more reliable and on-call…” But maybe I would lose something important in that scenario: a sense of grace, of gratitude for the unexpected blessing of a visit from the Muse.

I suspect that the lesson here is a bit like that biblical story about keeping the oil lanterns full and the wicks trimmed, because the hour of Arrival could happen at any time… Moral (short version): Be Ready, pencil in hand…and be infinitely grateful when something wonderful passes through “this mortal coil.”

This one: “He wondered what it would be like, living under the sea. Certainly it would be quite different. See a larger image in my Etsy shop here.

“Make Believe”   (watercolor, pen & ink, colored pencil)

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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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