Posts Tagged ‘Parlor Persona’

Artists often develop what might be called ‘a visual language.’ They become known for recognizable (but still often mysterious) symbols, and many also revisit ideas and subjects that continue to hold challenge and fascination. (more…)

Read Full Post »

M. Graham & Company (maker of delicious, pigment-packed artist paints in oil, acrylic, watercolor and gouache as well as walnut oil and walnut alkyd medium for solvent-free oil painting) has just announced that their first ever Online Art Competition has opened for Public Voting.

My oil painting, Parlor Persona, has been entered…and I would be infinitely grateful for your vote!

To see and vote for just my own painting, follow this link. To see all of the entries, follow this link to the voting gallery.

Voting ends November 29, 2012. Each person may vote for up to three paintings and voters may only vote one time during the voting period.

The winners will be selected solely on the number of public votesThree winners will receive $1000., $750. and $500. worth of M. Graham paints.

Thank you so much for your support!

Parlor Persona   (oil on board)

Read Full Post »

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is layer.

In a dog-eat-dog world, survival is a strong motivator and hiding is a most useful skill. One could even make the argument that hiding is natural because the animal kingdom demonstrates such a plethora and variety of adaptive physiologies and behaviors. Environment-appropriate colors, shapes, spots or stripes are everywhere, and hunting, foraging and mating behaviors are perfectly synchronized to particular surroundings and particular species. An animal surely knows (if it can know such a thing) who it is, where it fits and how to survive in its world.

But is hiding natural for humans? Without significant survival instincts and when faced with what seems to be a hostile universe, humans frequently resort to hiding strategies (more kindly referred to as ‘coping behaviors’) that take the form of postures, poses, masks and personas. Many of us resort to a different layer of personality for every area of our life. To our boss or clients we are one person, to our parents we are another, to our kids or friends we are yet another, and to the opposite sex, yet one more still. Could this be natural for anything that is not a chameleon?

Humans are born fur-less and defenseless, and maybe that is a cue to the path we are meant to travel on our journey through life. Some might argue that ‘superior mental faculties’ (should one interpret this as ‘the ability to manipulate’..?) are meant to replace the ‘less evolved’ survival tactics of tooth, claw and stripe…but have those same faculties brought the human race any percentage of the apparent tranquility that most animals seem to enjoy? A wikipedia essay on the Theory of Camouflage (both animal and human) notes that, “the methods by which concealment or obscurity are attained share a common set of strategies intended to deceive the observer.” Natural or not (and successful or not), for humans this hiding business is exhausting and alienating. It leads to stress and strain, illness, paranoia and lack of connection. It destroys the opportunity for true communion and creative evolution. Seems a high price to pay for propagation of the species and the safety of one’s soft underbelly…

For those of you who are wearied by the rat race and the dog-eat-dog version of reality, I send a wee bit of comfort with the poetic lyrics of Leonard Cohen (from the soundtrack of McCabe & Mrs. Miller).

Sisters of Mercy

Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can’t go on.
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me their song.
Oh I hope you run into them, you who’ve been travelling so long.

Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.
It begins with your family, but soon it comes round to your soul.
Well I’ve been where you’re hanging, I think I can see how you’re pinned:
When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned.

Well they lay down beside me, I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
they will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon.
Don’t turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon.
And you won’t make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night:
We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right,
We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right.

“Parlor Persona” (oil on paper)

Read Full Post »

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is artificial.

We’ve all felt it… that subtle, disappointing sense of having been slipped plastic grapes in place of the real, juicy thing—genuine connection with another human. A sense of being treated like an object, an audience, or a source of supply… and it’s exactly the same feeling (if we are paying attention) when we, ourselves interact with another person this way. It registers somewhere deep inside the solar plexus as a loss… and it feels awful.

And yet, this way of being ‘social’ has come to be normal. It is the rare person who will give an honest answer to the question, “How are you?” It is an even rarer person who will welcome a brief glimpse into another human’s life without recoiling. Polite society has become a cold place, and we all suffer to some degree from a sense of alienation… “Making Nice” has become habitual.

The American poet, e.e. cummings (1894-1962) wrote, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” In this age of fast food, text messages and appointment notebooks, such a statement is more true than ever.

Did you know that if a body is in a state of nutritional deficiency, it will reject all but the barest minimum of an artificial vitamin or supplement… but fully absorb that same substance if it is supplied in its natural state from fruit or vegetable? It is the same with human relationships. Many of us are walking around severely malnourished for want of genuine, human connection. Perhaps a Soul malnutrition is the real source of the epidemic of obesity and substance abuse?

What is the solution? Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) said it best: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Let us be brave today. Let us take our masks off … and shall we lay down those shields, while we’re at it?

“Parlor Persona” (oil)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: