My Creative Process – an analogy

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the artful life of Susan Tuttle

‘An Artful Life’ is a regular post I will be featuring in my blog, highlighting an artist who I am inspired by or can draw research from in some shape or form.  I wish to thank each and every artist who has planted a creative seed for me over the years.  Today I wish to share with you a recent gem that I have discovered in my reading – Susan Tuttle.

This mother of two is a self taught photographer, digital artist, internationally recognised iphoneographer and author to many books including ‘Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop Elements’ and ‘Exhibition 36: Mixed Media Demonstrations & Explorations’ In addition, she has featured extensively in various Visual Art magazines and journals and she is known for her online photography and Photoshop workshop tutorials.

For Tuttle, her main priority is her family life, a realm that includes DIY projects, homesteading, gardening and artful projects where she encourages her children to explore and create their own art. Living in the woods of rural Maine, America, she enjoys a simple life in the natural surroundings she chooses to live in.  I am inspired by her beliefs in regards to creativity, which reflect my own understanding of it. Placing importance upon one’s need to create as being a vital element for well-being.  As a mother, I can easily relate to how Tuttle integrates her creative spirit into family life; having ideas gushing out when doing the ordinary household chores like hanging out the washing, which is often when my best ideas crop up. Because ideas crop up when one least expects them, Tuttle has several notebooks scattered around the house, so that she may find any one of them swiftly to capture the ideas that come in the moment (I have four books on the go to store ideas that need to escape my constantly generating mind – now I feel a little bit normal). I feel a artistic motherly kinship with Tuttle reading about her creative space, which she enters upon settling the children into bed each night. She has her studio filled with all the things she loves from, vintage books, antiques, to art works of her own and others. In a ritualistic way that honours her creative spirit, she begins her evenings in the studio by lighting a candle, popping her favourite playlist on and has a glass of wine and her secret lollie stash awaiting consumption. This simple act of beginning her work inspires me to give my creative time more dedication and consciousness attended to it.

Tuttle’s art has been exhibited in galleries within the United States and abroad, and can be found in private collections worldwide. Her work has strong compositions and themes of light and shadow play, color, texture, and design. I am particularly drawn to the way she gives an image textural scratches and layers worn and transparent to portray a dreamy, timeless, otherworldly appearance. Tuttle makes her works from whatever needs to be expressed from her heart and mind at any given moment. Within her intentions to create, she aims to give a visual story for the viewer to consider, not giving too much away herself, rather letting the viewers imagine their own story.  Although many of her mobile photography works are self-portraits, she considers her body to be no more than a model. The shape of which becomes transformed into another being –  a spirit. As a woman after my own heart she says…

“I rely mostly on my inner knowings when I take pictures — shooting from the gut, most likely breaking all the rules:) When I see something special I wish to capture, I can literally feel my heart rise in my chest. I follow those gut instincts. Not to say that I don’t think about composition, color, tonal value, etc. — I certainly do and am meticulous about these aspects, but I seem to generally follow an internal set of rules as opposed to ones that have been imposed upon me.”

and she continues…

“I must make art — it brings me much joy and oftentimes provides a safe haven where I can work out life’s challenges. I am addicted to the artistic process and love getting lost in the passion of creating something. With art in my life I feel like a whole person, and without it I know I would be lost”.

Tuttle dedicates a lot of her energy to share with others her craft through teaching. She sees it as a worthy contribution with “potential to make a difference to the world”, believing that when one is connected to their creative spirit and creating art, then the individual may experience greater peace for himself and that of the world. A woman definitely worth admiring!

References:

Caves, E. (2013). Storytellers – Woodland by Susan Tuttle. Retrieved from http://iphoneogenic.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/storytellers_susantuttl/

Caves, E. (2013). Featured Artist – Susan Tuttle. Retrieved from http://iphoneogenic.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/featured-artist-susan-tuttle-ilkasattic/

Cole, S. (2010). The Artistic Mother: a Practical Guide for Fitting Creativity into your Life. North Light Books. Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tuttle, S. (2013). Susan Tuttle Photography + Art + Life. Retrieved from http://susantuttlephotography.com/first-test-page/