Sunday, February 20, 2011


Metamorphasis background
Metamorphosis on Day 1

There is much to say about the three days I just spent painting with Jesse Reno at An Artful Journey retreat in Los Gatos. While I did meet some lovely women and wonderful artists, some of whom I'd already come across on ETSY, my experience was not the life-changing, soul-sister bonding, love fest that I think many people experience. This was mainly because I have too much other stuff going on, I elected to stay at home rather than the dorm and unfortunately my daughter had a 105 fever last night which landed us in the ER until 2am (we got her fever down but she's not out of the woods).

That said, something in me cracked open in these three days and I discovered a new way to make art and love making art. We approached each painting in exactly the opposite manner that I usually go at it. I normally have in my head exactly what I want to paint and then I sketch it several times and then I trace it onto the final watercolor paper and outline it in black ink. Then I fill it with color. Except I can go for weeks and weeks with nothing I wan to paint.

With Jesse we painted only with our fingers for the entire first day. We created what he calls the grounds. A rich and layered background with no subject or expectation. Then we spent the next day reducing the chaos of the grounds into an image or a collection of images. In some cases, when nothing appeared, we went in and drew a figure or a posture on top of everything and blocked out the rest. This was HARD. In this particular piece I only really saw the bird head thing in the upper right corner, which was originally the lower right corner. So I made a big figure and blocked out the rest.

 Metamorphasis day 2
 Metamorphosis on day 2

We worked on three or four paintings at a time wiping excess paint from one piece onto another one. Finally we tied our pieces down with some detail elements. In some cases we wrecked half the painting before we could go back in to resurrect it some other form. No attachment.

We worked mainly on 18x24 Bristol paper but some folks brought in wood. I tried a piece on wood at the end and really liked the feel. My hands were covered in paint the entire time. And Jesse was a riot. I am exhausted now. And need to pack up the rest of the house before the painters arrive tomorrow morning. Hopefully my daughter will be well enough for the drive south to Grandma's. I'll share my other four paintings over the next few days.

Metamorphasis day3
Metamorphosis on day 3
"She surrendered to the magic."


Desert Savta said...

I am totally amazed that after being in the ER until 3 in the morning you could even think, never mind put together this lovely piece.

Susie Lubell said...

thanks. I'm running on fumes and caffeine.

Dana said...

Wawoo I love this new creation so much :)
hope A is feeling better.
You are a wonder woman!

Kolleen said...

very very cool Sus!

love it!

sending you calmness and love.


Happy Mama (Lisa Gonzalez) said...

This piece is really fun to look at. I love the texture and colors.

I hope your daughter is all better, very soon.

aimee said...

wow! how cool to see the evolution of this piece - it's gorgeous!

let's catch up when you have a moment to breathe!

no way said...

Get well soon, little girlie! Susie, I'm not sure I mentioned this to you earlier, but we also moved when I was pregnant with our third baby. And we lived with both sets of our parents during the interim between houses. I am living proof it can be done, and I also sympathize with you, because I know it's not easy! Hugs to all of you from Chicago.

danielle daniel said...

Happy to hear you daughter is doing better... Take care Mama bear, you need to rest and breathe.

It was so lovely to meet you and see your art in person. Good luck with the packing and the move. So glad you fit in the ARtful journey with everything else going on. xox

no way said...

Okay, scratch my earlier comment. I am just catching up here, and I didn't realize you were moving TO ISRAEL! That's a lot different than moving from 110th street to 100th street (and a couple blocks west, too.) My stress might not be comparable to yours.

Naomi Broudo said...

Really hope your daughter is feeling better! I absolutely love the new work you created and can't wait to see the rest of it and how this changes your life (I think it may even though you didn't think so while it was happening...)!

Good luck with the painters!

AG Ambroult said...

Um. Amazing. I LOVE what you did, are doing. This is such a departure for you, yet i can still see that the work is a Susie original. I can't wait until , like, a year from now when you have a whole new collection of work based on these new techniques.
Please tell us more about that class!