What a treat to have Sally J. Smith riding in the convertible with us today! I discovered her art in the pages of Faerie Magazine a year or so ago, and went immediately to her blog to view more. Now I stop by once a week just to add some whimsy and wonder to my life.
Please welcome Sally, everyone!
I’d like to thank Michele for the invitation to ride with you for the day! The weather is fine, the breezes are perfect and it’s time to hit the road, so let’s go!
You’d have to drive a very long ways to find me and my work. And once you got close, you’d still have to get out of the car, hike a wee bit and then still you might miss them. But writers are details people so I know you’d all see them soon enough.
I make Faerie Houses and Environmental sculptures (which I call “Eartherials” ). I began this work in the spring of 06 when I hit the wall after almost 20 years of a relatively successful career as a watercolor painter and illustrator. I had never found myself to be at a loss for inspiration previous to that year, but in the fall of 05 after returning from a lifelong dream trip to New Zealand, and doing a series of paintings for a one-woman show, everything just stopped for me painting-wise. After 6 months of drought I knew I needed professional help and the Benevolent Universe provided me with a wonderful art coach who helped me discover that what I really wanted to do with the next phase of my life was to work outdoors – to literally get off the 2-dimensional world of paper and out into 3-D, full sensory immersion in Nature.
The leap was terrifying. It still is sometimes especially financially. But the work itself seems to just “happen”. I can’t explain it. I am one who always used to “see” things in nature; shapes, patterns, glimmers of Otherworlds… so when it comes time to make a sculpture, I let the materials “speak” to me. They always have marvelous stories to tell and directions to give me and before you know it… there is a sculpture…and I am just as astonished as anyone to see it there.
I work in all seasons here in the “north country” as this part of very upper New York state is called. Winters here can be long, grey and cold. But Oh the ice and snow do magical things… and I love working with ice.
People DO take a second and third look when I am out IN the lake in my waders and dry suit walking in 32 degree water when it is 10 degrees out and collecting icicles along the cliffs, but we all know that the harder the journey the sweeter the view ￼.
And a fully working hot tub to come home to is as essential a component to my work as is my digital camera!
Everything lightens up and we seem to go in endless circles from one heady experience to the next!
Spring gradually flows into summer and all the deep green places in the forest beckon. This is the time of year when several days in a row can be devoted to certain sculptures so more elaborate creations can emerge from the Otherworlds into this one.
All too quickly the first hints of crimson appear in the hills and soon the entire landscape is ablaze with the final rush of wild, jubilant orgies of color and light
This is the time of year when I have to work at an absolutely frantic pace. The full-on autumn season lasts for only 3 weeks here so there is no time for anything but creating and shooting the photos. All else is secondary
but even in the dark days of December, there is much beauty.
I’ve been doing this now for 3 years and I still feel like a raw beginner. But I love it. I love the technical challenges because they exercise my left brain, and I love the inspirational challenges because they open up my right brain. For me, the biggest final hurdle is now learning how to marketing the work. I’ve discovered the world of self-publishing and have had my own blog up for over a year now [http://greenspiritarts.blogspot.com] and it has been really rewarding to see how the work does seem to touch many people from all walks of life and from all over the world. Last year, I had a huge opportunity to be one of the main designers at the Vermont Flower Show. Here is a short clip I made of the display area. It was a monumental amount of work but very rewarding to see the faces of the kids and the kids-at-heart as they walked throught the “Enchanted Forest”. I’ve also been especially lucky to have been picked up by Pomegranate publications and they are producing a line of cards and calendars with my images. I am now in the final stages of preparing to find a gallery to represent my work to the world. (If you know of one in your area that you think would be perfect, please contact me, thanks! ) I find that I alone can only do so much, and at the end of the day, my “job” really needs to be at the creative end of the process rather than at the marketing end, which is why I want to eventually leave that to the professionals. I am more comfortable out in my beloved woods and gardens anyways.
For me, taking this leap was one that I really had no choice to avoid anymore… my connection to the painting had been severed by forces that would not re-open those old doors no matter how much I begged… thank goodness! Now, after 3 short years of experimentation and whole-hearted giving myself over to the journey of discovery, I have a rather substantial new body of work that I am very proud of … and I’m just getting started! It is very hard to shift gears like this, especially when one has had a modicum of success and is somewhat “known” in other professional circles… but sometimes we just get pushed out of our nice comfortable niches and we have to learn a whole new discipline – because it is what our Soul wants to do. So if you have reached the end of your creative journey with one form, maybe it is time to let that go and try something different… you never know where it might take you!
￼Here is something to think about… what secret longing do you hold in your heart and wish you could try but have never let yourself dare to do? Why not give yourself permission to go for it and give it a try for just ONE day, then see where that takes you. Just one day… anyone can do that ! Make a date with yourself and then don’t be late… let the longing in your heart lead the way and be open to the magic and mystery that will undoubtedly unfurl itself before you… then jump in and GO !