I see myself as a complex person, made up of many different parts. I call these my “inner family” and much of my healing has come through learning to accept, listen to, and respect all aspects of Self. I am a full time artist, a sculptor and painter. Art teaches me how to balance aspects of myself through the process of art-making and cooperative time-shared communication between members of the inner family. Time is not linear and does not exist when we are creating. Each project is like opening a present. We never know exactly what we are going to create, but as it unfolds, we find great joy.
I eat, sleep, make art when I’m working.
We work out of our home. I sleep where I work. Art is my life. It has saved my life many times. There have been times in my life, many times in my life I have lost hope and turned to power tools, paint brush and pen, and processed our life (our experiences) through art. I am single. I don’t have children or a significant other that take my time. I do have a dog who I spend most of my time with. Each part of me shares passion for art with our passion for her.
Balance is like a gyroscope on a tight rope for me and my many aspects. We are individuals of many. Not losing contact with what’s important, and quickly righting ourselves again and again as we move through life, which includes the process of art making.
Image at top of page: Val Porter, collage book cover
Susan Read Guthrie
He had a perfect leaving this March 25, just as he wanted, at peace and surrounded by those he loved dearly, with many beautiful and tender farewells whispered in his ear, channeling straight to his huge and failing heart, during those last long, riveting hours. The love glow was palpable, the sobbing at the final moment was cathartic, and the condolences a waterfall of blessings from every direction, forming a blissful cocoon lasting nearly a week.
Then there was just me. Alone for the first time in 26 years, after a year of constant, significant care that was both my honor and the deepest intimacy of my life. Love holds up. You’ll see.
And grief is good; the inevitable, soul-quivering consequence of loving. And truthfully, aloneness is an old, welcome friend. Perhaps photographers secretly yearn for the clarity that aloneness allows, scrutinizing and recording their view from behind their chosen medium. Maybe all artists do.
Suddenly in April, the sun was back. Picking up my black camera for the first time in a long while, I look around, the view is familiar yet so different.
Susan Read Guthrie, Belfast, Maine, April 24, 2019