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Posts Tagged ‘indecision’

“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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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is storm.

That tempest in the heart, that storm in the head…have you ever felt it? It’s an agony of indecision, a quandary of impossible choices: should I paint this way or that way, choose this one or that one, spend it here or there, move now or later, do this or that? It’s a pain that starts slow, like a migraine twinge, and builds to a frenzy. Any decision in question seems so very consequential, almost life-threatening.

These words look so calm, so benign here on my screen, like amusing ‘postcards from the edge.’ But the experience is a miserable one, and it always shakes my confidence to the core. It’s an experience that illustrates in living (black and blue?) color that expression, “Down here without a map.” Lost, lost, dreadfully lost. And time is going by! If you’ve been to this particular dreary destination yourself, you know what I’m talking about.

Fortunately, like any storm in Nature, this furious energy eventually reaches its apex and begins to dissipate. Like Dorothy and her tornado in The Wizard of Oz, I am deposited on solid ground once more. The still, small voice is again accessible, and a path, however faint, reappears before my weary feet. I have noticed that Surrender can look a lot like exhaustion.

Next time, I promise myself to remember sooner: Sometimes I just don’t know…can’t know in advance. Realizing that calms the storm.

Above: Storm   (watercolor, pen & ink, gouache, colored pencil)

Right: Of Two Minds   (watercolor, pen & ink)

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

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