“BREATHE” a Dedicated Work


.   I originally wanted my site, OUT OF THE GUTTER ART, to consist only of images of my physical art, a catalog, a portfolio.  I just could not stay quiet, though! I had to speak up, curate the space, let you in to my thought process, my creative process, what makes me, the artist, tick. Was that a mistake?WIN_20161206_15_45_19_Pro (2)

.  Well, then, who’s to say? I don’t think I have any famous critics writing about my inadequacies as an artist. Maybe about my insanity. Anyway…

.   I am a member of society and the pain of the last weeks and months, the loss, death, pain, violence, grief, take their toll on me also. I had heard from a psychologist on public radio discussing the fact that the covid-19 pandemic has us all in a state of grief and anxiety. And that it is O.K. to grieve now. Even if we haven’t lost a loved one to the virus, we feel the pain of heart. The interviewer expressed that she felt her shoulder’s drop, and her breath exhale in a woosh, a deep sigh, when he said this. I did also, and I think in my own case it had carried down so deeply that I was a tense, tight , hand shaking, nervous ball of tension and pain, and many , many sleepless days (and nights) ensued.

.  I was upset with myself and frustrated by the fact that I had not “created” anything. I was piling on the negatives, essentially immobilizing my mind, stifling my creativity, and I felt so, so sad. The bipolar me wanted to wallow in it, the medicated me wanted to tough it out.

.  I was even upset that I had lost three followers on my social media account!!! That was the last straw, I had to act before I plunged headlong into a straight jacket !!! A long talk with my therapist was in order, a virtual one, but it would just have to do.  It did. She helped me to loosen the grip of that band of grief that was squeezing the breath out of me. As it loosened, my pain eased, and my creative vision and passion returned.

.  In fact, a day or so after we talked, I began work on a piece I tentatively entitled “Breathe”. I put my emotions and pain into the faces of dying and dead, who had breathed their last in this world.

WIN_20200516_04_42_47_Pro_LI (4)
The Beginning Draft of “Breathe” Done on May 5, 2020…by Susan T. Martin

I put my love into them too, a gentle motherly love, laying my own loved ones in their graves, tenderly, along with the rest of the world’s dead. But, over the days I painted, their last exhalations and their closed eyes were speaking to me: “This isn’t the end, is it?” Soon the multicolored faces of my people began to open their eyes a bit, like they heard a distant voice calling them! Their breath was twirling out of them in beautiful tendrils, like a living vine bearing the buds of beautiful flowers ready to burst forth in their matchless beauty!

.  Now a new song I know was playing in my head as I painted, and joy and hope came back to my heart. Not just for my imaginary loved ones , the expressions of collective grief on my canvas. This song ran thru my head like a golden banner, the chorus reminding me of the hope of a resurrection for all the dead, when the life will come back into them, all of them! The song played on: “Life, like a mist, appears for just a day, then disappears tomorrow. All that we are can quickly fade away, replaced by tears and sorrow. If a man should die, can he live again? Hear the promise God has made: “He will call, the dead will answer…they will live at his command. For He will have a longing, for the work of his own hand!”….So be brave and do not wonder, for our God can make us stand! For He will have a longing, for the work of his own hand!” (words from the song book of JW.org, “He Will Call”)

.      Then , some days later I saw George being killed by the bad policeman, begging him to get off his neck so he could breathe. Suddenly my artwork had even more relevance. “I can’t breathe. Please, officer, I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe…I can’t…  WIN_20200602_02_12_36_Pro (3)“Breathe” , a painting from the heart of Susan T. Martin, May 15, 2020.

A Physical Painting

“Beathe” an original Acrylic Painting by Susan T. Martin. Size 20″ x 20″ on an unframed canvas. Boxed and Shipped. Free Shipping.


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