In progress...

In progress...

And now for something a little bit different.

The tickle for new skies began last fall. I was beginning to feel a little bit—dare I say—bored(?) with what I was seeing on the canvas. As much as I loved what I was painting (I’ll never really tire of big, white clouds and bright joyful colours), I could see myself playing it ‘safe’, and relying on the ease of what I already knew to carry me forward.

canadian artist Susannah Bleasby painting in her hamilton ontario studio

While there's a time to stay and explore—to go deep with one concept rather than explore wider possibilities—this boredom was me not being fully present with the process and needing to face the challenge of looking outside my comfort zone for fresh inspiration.

I should note here that the need to push myself creatively is precisely the reason why abstracts are so vital to my work. Each and every abstract feels like I’m flinging my naked self off a rocky cliff into unknown—possibly shark-infested—waters below. It's impossible to get bored when the stakes are that high.

But within my landscape work, I was seeing places and spaces I'd explored before in a way that I'd seen before, and the yearning to get excited by my skies again was undeniable. I was craving something new and feeling ready to take on the challenge of testing the unknown.

Cue weeks of studio mess, some really hideous stuff, and piles of discards.

an unfinished painting in the ugly phase
(above) Unfinished, in the 'ugly stage'

Hours and hours of uncertainty and frustration.

Gobs of paint (hello 'texture') and weird (hello 'interesting') mixes of new colour.

It has been both thrilling and exhausting. Many days I’d leave the studio feeling like I’d made zero progress towards what I was searching for, but also intensely engaged with every moment. My curiosity was alight. As hard as the process was, is, or can be, I felt alive with the work again.

abstract blue sky painting in progress

So that's where I’ve been: eyeball deep in paint and setting everything else aside as I obsess over this new work. My impatient self is trying to stay patient with the process—I want to be THERE already!—but also know that there really is no finish line, just important pauses along the way to stop and question and explore and learn and grow.

"If we don't change, we don't grow, and if we don't grow we aren't living” - Gail Sheehy

Stay tuned! 

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