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Posts Tagged ‘journey’

The Illustration Friday word of the week is journey.

“Journey” © Susan Sorrell Hill

Said so succinctly by these folks:

“The voyage of  discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes.”      ~Marcel Proust

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”      ~T. S. Eliot

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”        ~Anais Nin

(Quotes from True Work: The Sacred Dimention of Earning a Living by Justine Willis Toms and Michael Toms)

Hmmm…now where have you seen this image before? A double-fudge sundae to that person who realized quick-smart that it’s my blog’s logo. (And it has also graced the home page of my old Artspan.com site). It’s one of my personal favorites, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never shown it in its entirety  here on a blog post before.

SusanSorrellHill“Journey”   (watercolor, pen & ink, gouache, colored pencil)   “She journeyed with only a bird for company—destination uncertain but certainly assured.”

The original painting is available for purchase here.   Museum-quality prints (and the original too) are available here.

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is tail. I love a happy ending. Perhaps that is common to my fair sex, or perhaps it is simply an antidote to the Trials and Tribulations of life. I have my stash of Chick Flicks in the closet and a series of favorite novels that I read repeatedly for their comfortable reassurance that, despite the aforementioned T & T, people can triumph or at least find some version of happiness in the end. I need that reassurance regularly, and since conventional Religion doesn’t do it for me, I’ve found my solace in stories. I’ve been wanting to write a post on the subject of Why I Love Fairy Tales for a while now. As I’ve been updating websites, writing artist statements and over and over mentioning ‘fairy tales,’ I’ve watched myself, at the same time, cringing. I think it’s because I fear that Fairy Tales are getting a bad, or at least diminished, rap these days, and I am a little wiggly about associating myself with them…as if it were somehow shameful or childish, or a death-knell for my career as a Serious Artist. But then I stop and remember, thankfully, that fairy tales have been around a lot longer than Disney, Saturday morning cartoons and the brightly-colored art on lunch pails and school notebooks. Fairy tales, according to scholars, have been around since the beginning of humankind. They are the repository, in story form, of the wisdom of our species about Life. They are the archetypes of human behavior (to use the Jungian term), morals and consequences, hopes and dreams, and simple humor at our follies. Originally, they were meant to entertain (as the cleaned-up versions still do today), but they were also meant to instruct, and sometimes to warn about consequences. They were told to audiences of all ages, and children were raised with the grimmer versions of the predecessors of the Grimms’ fairy tales, and took it in stride. No coddling or dumbing down needed there. Terry Windling and Ellen Datlow, in the introduction to A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales write,

“Most people think that fairy tales are stories meant for very young children, but hundred of years ago tales of magic were loved by folks of all ages. The fairy tales we know today–like “Cinderella,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Snow White,” and all the rest–used to be darker, stranger, and more complex, until this century. Then they were turned into children’s tales, banished to the nursery (as J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings once pointed out) like furniture adults have grown tired of and no longer want. The stories were changed and simplified when they were rewritten for very young readers. And it’s these sweet and simple versions that most of us know today.”

The Jungian scholar, Marie-Louise Von Franz (An Introduction to the Psychology of Fairy Tales) states,

“Fairy tales are the purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic process. Therefore their value for the scientific investigation of the unconscious exceeds that of all other material. They represent the archetypes in their simplest, barest and most concise form.”

This is all good, and material worth giving much attention to. And, as I said at the beginning, happy endings are always a welcome quality. But why I really appreciate fairy tales is the unspoken implication that there is much more going on down here on Planet Earth, in our everyday mundane lives, than we usually are aware of. There is a Magic much greater than the Little Me (Eckhart Tolle’s term for the personal identity) can understand or manipulate. There is Mystery, we are not alone and there is Guidance, if only we will look for and be receptive to it. These age-old stories say that there will always be cause for hope, and that the Journey is worth every ounce of courage it extracts from us. For a person, such as myself, who has always felt that I am ‘down here without a map,’ this reassurance is a balm, and a career’s worth of inspiration for imagery. Fairy tales as subject matter may seem trite in this day and age, but stories about the patterns of our human journey seems like a subject worthy of my continued attention. Who cares if it might be poo-pooed in the hoity-toity Art World? Ok, I’d like to have it all, but when it comes right down to it…I need fairy tales. Fairy tales tell me, same as this Cowboy Wisdom quote,

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

“Away”    (watercolor, pen & ink)

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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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