Art as Discovery
I make art with acrylic paint, collage and pastel on paper and canvas. I start with an instantaneous expression of what is happening “in the moment” – often extending into the political, conveying environmental and world concerns, investigating my personal life, and always being aware of surprises that emerge and sometimes a complete lack of knowing what I have produced. I know these creative links are carried in our minds and bodies and are available to everyone; they serve as confirmation that using art as a means of discovery does reveal more than we can see with the naked eye. We really don’t fully understand the mystery of consciousness. Art provides us with this opportunity for exploration. The inquiry comes forth spontaneously when we drop down (or is it up, where is it?) into the experiment. I’m intrigued by the puzzle. My art as a response to life and personal soul searching allows me to speak from the spirit of who I am and provides a needed opportunity to intermingle playfulness and thoughtfulness.
After a rough start with very strict British schooling where artistic creativity was not considered an essential part of education, and after years of playing around with paints on my own, finally in the 1980s I found my creative niche in classes given by Connie Smith Siegel in San Geronimo Valley. Her teaching gave me the opportunity to develop my paintings and drawings naturally by refining my way of seeing and by helping me to become keenly aware of sensation, feelings and intuition. My first experience with Connie was to do art in nature – outside, in the weathers whatever they presented where all that surrounded me influenced my expression. At that time I also realized that anyone can do art, and I want to emphasize this now – the “sensing drawing” work I learned is often done with eyes closed in a meditative state. This defeats the possibility for judgment or criticism as anyone can make a mark on paper and, with eyes open, can choose colors that fit the mood of the moment. Classes with Connie also included Johannes Itten’s (Bauhaus Group) theory of color and from Connie’s training with Charlotte Selver, a sensory awareness practice. The combination of these teachings, together with further explorations in Person Centered Expressive Arts, developed by Natalie Rogers, led me into art as a practice and offered me many paths for creative discovery. Eventually this led me to join one of local artist Toni Littlejohn’s Wild Carrots groups – where I’ve had the good fortune to continue the art of experimentation and discovery for close to 20 years to this day.
I’m truly a “groupy artist.” I thoroughly enjoy doing art with others because it deepens friendships and enhances communications beyond the norm – by sharing our art process and every day aspects of our lives. A lasting example of my fondness for art groups are my 30-year friendships made in Connie’s classes (4 of us still meet regularly from our classes with her). Now with our Wild Carrots Tuesday group we have continued to meet with Toni on Zoom during our “lock-down” where Toni generously offers an opportunity for us to present our “homework.”
My art has been shown at the Marin County Civic Center, Gallery Route One in Point Reyes, Art by the Bay Gallery in Marshall, O’Hanlon Center for the Arts Gallery in Mill Valley, Fairfax and Point Reyes Libraries, Joyce Kouffman’s art and music show in Toby’s Gallery and in several of Toni Littlejohn’s Wild Carrots shows in Toby’s Gallery. My War Series was shown in the lobby of the Dance Palace in Point Reyes. For several years I participated in Point Reyes Open Studios.
As you view my art I invite you to bear Picasso’s statement in mind, ““A picture is not thought out and settled beforehand. While it is being done it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it is finished, it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. A picture lives a life like a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day…“ and he goes on to say that for viewers of art the picture, in its finished form, lives only through the one who is looking at it.
Artist Reception with Susan Brayton
July 16th @ 5:00 pm
This virtual event will feature a conversation with the artist discussing several pieces, followed by a Q&A session. Registration required; register via Eventbrite. This event is free; donations are encouraged. To donate, please visit our donation page here and mention this event by name in the comments section.
Johannes Itten – The Art of Color
Connie Smith Siegel – Spirit of Color: A Sensory Meditation Guide to Creative Expression (available at Gallery Route One)
Connie Smith Siegel – Spirit of Drawing
Purchasing art –
To purchase Susan Brayton’s art, send an email to email@example.com. A portion of the proceeds goes to support the Dance Palace.