Monday, September 30, 2013

Islip Art Museum

"New York Bound: International Book Art Biennial"

Curated by Dorothea Fleiss

September 22 - December 29, 2013

Two of my books were selected for this exhibition
at Islip Art Museum, New York. 
I am excited that my newest book structures
and handmade papers will be on view.  
This is one of them.
Book of Contents, 2013 (cover) 
Book of Contents, 2013 (opened)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Test

I HUNG my verses in the wind,
Time and tide their faults may find.
All were minnowed through and through,
Five lines lasted sound and true;
Five were smelted in a pot
Than the South more fierce and hot;
These the siroc could not melt,
Fire their fiercer flaming felt,
And the meaning was more white
Than July's meridian light.
Sunshine cannot bleach the snow,
Nor time unmake what poets know.
Have you eyes to find the five
Which five hundred did survive?
The Test by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1861

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Getting it Out!

Today someone asked me how it felt to have
cancer.  Was I afraid?  Was treatment painful?
How do I stay positive?
I was all smiles and positive energy.  Then I
came home and found this image in my old diary.
I guess I stay positive because I purge 
all the anxiety,
all the pain,
all the fear,
all the disappointment,
through my art.

Art is therapeutic.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BP: It keeps going up

When Marni, the nurse who took Leif's blood pressure, asked her what type of worries
artists have, Lief looked up at the hospital ceiling and tried to hold back the tears.
Page from Notebook: Blood Pressure 155/98
Marni inflated the cuff to restrict Lief's blood flow,  keeping one eye on the sphygmometer, the other on Lief.  "ABC news showed that painting of the man screaming on a bridge.  Sold for 120 million dollars.  Imagine, 120 million dollars for a piece of art?"

"I can't, I mean, I can . . . " Lief coughed.

"My husband said only dead artists get that type of money.  Oh, um, it's going up." Marni takes the cuff off. "I am not sure why it won't go down.  The oncologist will be with you in a few minutes.  Put the gown on with the opening to the front."

Blood Pressure: original art and story by suzanne coley

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blood Pressure 155/99

An artist's life

The doctor told Lief to keep a record
of her day.  Try to calm down.  
Not worry too much.
Page from Notebook: BP 155/99 
"What type of worries do artists have?"
the nurse asked as she wrapped the 
inflatable blood pressure
cuff around Lief's arm.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rubber stamps and Collagraphs

A few years ago when I was in NYC 
I fell in love with a rubber stamp of 
a woman wearing a vintage 
leopard print coat and little booties,
 and I bought it.
 I made 50 small cards (2.5" x 3.5") with the stamp
and gave them out.  My name and email
were printed on the backside.
 To get the background, I made an 
11"x14" collagraph plate from cardboard, 
fabric, gesso, string, lace and glue.
 Using a brayer, I randomly inked the 
collagraph plate with oil based inks.
When the plate was completely covered, 
I placed the cards on top, and pulled
the prints on a printing press. 
When the cards were dry, I used a black
archival inking pad and stamped 
the lady onto the cards.  

This summer I lost the stamp and I only have
these five cards left.  I really like using
 them as business cards and will
probably make some small prints with
my ink jet printer. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blood Pressure: 177 over 111

Letter from a homeless man
To Whom It May Concern, page 1
silkscreen on hand painted map
From my series: Letters from a Broken Heart
To Whom It May Concern, page 2

Monday, September 16, 2013


linocut and embroidery, detail from my artist's book Soliton
The more I make paper, the more 
I like to create textures 
while making the pulp.
handmade paper with texture and thread 
Even though I have been embedding thread
into the pulp, embroidering the finished
print creates interesting effects.
Linocut with embroidery in an Artist's book by Suzanne Coley

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Taz goes to NYC

I tried to capture Taz's beauty, but it
wasn't as good as the real thing.

So I imagined him on the NYC trains.
Taz takes NYC, orange line, 2013

Go Taz go!

In the woods, you never know who you
are going to meet...

Introducing 14 year old Taz.
Isn't his fur beautiful?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Understanding John Donne

When I moved to Baltimore,
my books (aka research library) took up
more space than my bedroom,
living room and kitchen.
Actually, I needed one Uhaul truck 
just for my books and art work.

Inside one book were these notes.
An Anatomy of the World, John Donne
An Anatomy of the World, John Donne

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Euclid and John Donne

Poetic Lines,  2013 Suzanne Coley
Making paper alone in my studio is very
meditative.  Perhaps too much.  
Thoughts of Euclid and John Donne kept going 
through my mind.  
Euclid's concentric circles and elements of geometry.
 Donne's Holy Sonnet "Death be Not Proud"

How I relate to Margaret Edson's, Wit,
1999 Pulitzer Prize Drama about mortality.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Waste Paper

 Yellow Blues by Suzanne Coley
When experimenting with handmade papers
I have left over pigments and materials and 
I try not to waste anything. 

I never know what is going to happen
and I go with the spirit of the night.

Tonight it was all about texture 
and embracing the unpredictable nature
of waste papers.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Handmade paper

A few weeks ago, I promised a friend 
I would paint her beloved dog.
I really wanted to give her something special
and I decided to do a linocut carving
and print on handmade paper.
Shredded paper ready for the crock pot.
I always add pigments to the pulp.
This time I didn't.  I wanted to see what color 
this batch of recycled paper would produce. 
Shredded paper soaking in the crock pot.
 The final paper was grayish with a touch of blue,
perfect for my artist's proof.  
linocut print on handmade paper (artist's proof)

Inner Walls

From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Stone, Charles Simic (b. 1938)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Purple Storms

before the purple storms came
front yard scents of lavender
Shadows of a purple heart under the inner city sun, 2013
hid backyard bruises

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Honey and Salt

Can love be locked away and kept hid?
Yes and it gathers dust and mildew
and shrivels itself in shadows
unless it learns the sun can help,
snow, rain, storms can help --
Honey and Salt, Carl Sandburg
Moonlight and Roses (acrylic on canvas, 12"x12")

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Painting and Creating in Baltimore

Many people have asked 
why Baltimore? 
I think this picture tells why.
Painting I Never Thought I'd be the One (created and destroyed, August 2013)
far away from skyscrapers
and concrete pavements
the breeze of Life and
bird songs guide me down
nature's luscious roads

painting my dreams
and daymares

Monday, September 2, 2013

Lost letter to his love

Dear Time,

I have tried to reconstruct your beauty.
All that appears is the 
last word you shouted at me . . . 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Nuns Who Create, Part II

Labor day weekend has always been
my favorite time of the year.  Even though
I have been out of school for years, the first
Monday in September fills me with 
hope and expectation. Being open to 
life and learning new things.

A few years ago I came across these classroom
rules created by Sister Mary Corita,
Art Department Director 
at LA's Immaculate Heart College.
10 Rules for Students and Teachers by Sister Corita

I really like the way Sister Corita encouraged her students
to focus on the creative process over the final product.

It seems that each month, one of her rules stands out.
For example, when I was making paper, Rule 4 was
great: Consider everything an experiment.

Right now, Rule 8 stands out:
Don't try to create and analyse at the same time.  
They're different processes.

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