Friday, October 28, 2016


watercolor, embroidered cotton thread on silk, overlayed with encaustic medium (beeswax and tree resin) on black walnut ink stained wood panel.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

black walnut ink making workshop this sunday!!

if you've been following my blog or website or my art at all, you will have noticed that i've gotten super into using natural locally foraged dyes in most if not all of my work. i love it. it is such a beautiful way of communing with our earth mother, receiving from her and inviting her into my studio and artwork. its a magical world out there in the forest. who needs to spend hundreds of dollars at an art store? seriously! so, i've moved into a studio on the top floor of the phil mechanics building with a beautiful community of soulful artists one of whom is sharing my studio with me. Jackie Maloney is a very well established artist here in Asheville and has been using black walnut dye in her elegant artwork for quite some time now. so it only makes sense that we would teach this class together. come join us this sunday. afterwards, my friend Andrew Rainey will be hosting a live music event in the same space on the top floor of the phil mechanics building.  that will start at around 5ish. sweet! hope to see you there. please RSVP to me if interested.
love you,
suz.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Goldenrod

Hello. This is my beautiful soul friend, nicci. I met her at art school in Ireland this past year. She is on a powerful healing adventure learning to manifest powerful things through her beautiful, magical and amazing art. Traveling through Taos, NM and Colorado and discovering how the images she imagined months ago are now becoming reality. 
I’m so delighted to be making this portrait series of people I love. This is made with dye made from black walnuts boiled in French broad river water. The background is golden rod with hominy creek. There is also encaustic medium used, which is beeswax and tree resin. This piece spanned two studios in my short time back in the states. And now I’m done. 
Next up, I have a pot of sumac dye simmering in my studio right now….. We’ll see what will become of it. 
Dreams of a show. A show of paintings. People I love. Portraits. Dreams of a community. A healing community. Dreams of the native people of this land making a come back. Anything can happen, and a lot can change dramatically in a short amount of time. It already is. 
May your soul and life flow with the river that longs to carry you with it. Xx.

Thursday, September 15, 2016








Getting the new studio under way (again). This time I’m in the Phil mechanics building in the river arts district on the top floor. Feel free to come check it out if you’re in Asheville. I’m sharing with the illustrious Jacqueline Malone. And we are both fond of using natural dyes in our work. I have been researching what can be used in this area because I like to forage my paint from the local landscape. So last week I ventured out to the great smokey mountains national park and gathered poke berry, sumac, golden rod and mushrooms. As I’ve already made a huge batch of black walnut dye, no need to forage that this time, but I have been having thoughts about leading a two day workshop on gathering black walnuts, making dye, and painting with it his fall! Wouldn’t that be fun! Actually, being in charge of a group sometimes intimidates me, but I think it could be fun. Anyways, let me know if anyone who reads this is interested. Maybe for kids? Then adults? Then kids and adults? Who knows. And everyone goes home with a little cute vintage jar of black walnut ink. Yes. Love you!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

http://suzannejoy.tumblr.com/

Hey everyone!!!  I'm so excited to announce that one of my paintings will be on display at The Courthouse Arts Centre. The opening reception is on Sunday 4th September 4-6pm. I think this is my first official exhibition outside of school endeavors. So, anyone in Ireland, I would love love love for you to attend. It'll be in Co. Wicklow. I wish I could go, but I think I'm going to have to skip this one. Hoping to get back to Ireland again soon. But I'll surely be there in spirit and sending out energy from appalachia. xxx! (as a little side note: the women who came to the school to select work back in April were two of the most kind, lovely women and such a blessing to connect with. Maggie, who I've been corresponding with is an artist/actress herself and made me feel so comfortable throughout this process. I just wanted to note that, because, really, isn't that what its all about in the end? yes!)
http://courthousearts.ie/

(also, to those who view this blog.... i am making the transition over to tumblr. as of right now, i'm operating two blogs. but i think that tumblr helps me to feel a little more connected to a larger community, which is really nice for me right now. but its also hard, because I've been posting on this blog for about 5 years now!!! through so much development in my process. its been pretty amazing to look back on.)
http://suzannejoy.tumblr.com/

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Southern dharma

Just wanted to post a shout out for southern dharma retreat center here, where I spent the last week volunteering. It's in hot springs, NC. It's a beautiful, quiet magical place. I love being there. You get the sense that everything's going to be okay. And it is of course. Maybe volunteering there is a way for me to give back in a way. Meditation has completely transformed my life and continues to help heal my soul every day. Especially in unstable times when my natural tendency would be to freak out. And I can tell that as I embark on the pursuit of art making after art school, instability is a friend that I will learn to embrace. So thank you to southern dharma for being a space where people can learn and practice this transformative and healing way of life. Lots of love to you, xx, Suz.





Thursday, July 14, 2016



“Deep within the human mind, there is a fascination with the circle because it satisfies some longing within us. It is one of the most universal and ancient shapes in the universe. Reality often seems to express itself in this form. The earth is a circle; and even time itself seems to have a circular nature. The Celtic world was always fascinated with circles; they are prevalent in so much of its artwork. The Celts even transfigured the cross by surrounding it with a circle. The Celtic cross is a beautiful symbol. The circle around the beams of the cross rescues the loneliness where the two lines of pain intersect and seems to calm and console their forsaken linearity.”

John O'Donohue (“Anam Cara”) 

Saturday, June 25, 2016



For some reason, I love this little watercolor painting I did the other day in my new studio. Its simple, but I did it to remember my experiences over this past year and to just spent time with them. It reminds me of being playful and just making art for fun and for loving it. Which is really the only reason why i want to make art ever. I've moved into the Marshall High Studios in Marshall, NC. An old high school that has been converted into artist studios. And I feel at home. When I first got there, I went out and sat on the back porch wondering what to do next because I hadn't heard back from Rob to show me around the place and out comes Frank Lombardo who asked me if I wanted to share his studio with him. So I am. Its perfect because it makes it so much more practical for me at this point. I'm thankful for that and I love the community and I love that I am making art and painting just for the fun of it and loving it. Again and again over the past few years, I feel at home around artists. I'm thankful to have found my tribe after much wandering in exile. :) After a bit of a rough start here, I read the ugly duckling story out of Woman Who Run With the Wolves the other day and I realized, hey! that's me! She writes:
"The solutions to these bad choices are severalfold. If the woman were able to sit herself down and peer into her own heart, one would see there a need to have her talents, her gifts, and her limitations respectfully acknowledged and accepted. So, to begin healing, stop kidding yourself that a little feel-good of the wrong sort will take care of the broken leg. Tell the truth about your wound, and then you will get a truthful picture of the remedy to apply to it. Don't pack whatever is easiest or most available into the emptiness. Hold out for the right medicine. You will recognize it because it makes your life stronger rather then weaker."  (Women Who Run With the Wolves)


"Rainbow over Appalachia (Ode to Ballyvaughan)"



sketching in the new OWL bakery in west asheville

nettle dye experimentation

Friday, May 27, 2016

Here are some sketchbook pages from my last days in Europe. The Findhorn river in Scotland, Shirley's cafe in ballyvaughan, the plane ride home, and a rough sketch of dobrah tea in west asheville, which is where I am now. What a year! What an amazing journey through the center of my heart. I am feeling sad right now, I admit. I miss the magic that was happening around my art work in ballyvaughan, and the quiet of the landscape and the ocean. It feels strange to be back. But I know the magic is inside me and I carry it all the way here with me. I'd like to write more about the whole journey and maybe someday I will. Right now, I will walk forward in courage and trust. I am reading "women who run with the wolves" right now and resonating with it so deeply. I totally get why it feels easier and safer to go down the road that has been paved already. It takes constant courage to follow one's dreams. At least for me, it does. Especially when my heart keeps consistently saying, "make art." I've learned to listen to and respect that voice. There is no other way for me now. For me the next steps are: 1. Weather the grieving process of this transition and of saying goodbye to the home I made and the people I fell in love with in Ireland, 2. Find a studio. 3. Start making art again. 4. Keep trusting. Refuse to worry. Breathe. 













Friday, April 22, 2016

i went to this magical raw goat cheese farm yesterday with a new soul friend! i thought i was in a fairy tale. so beautiful. 
and now back to the bog hill center for a silent retreat weekend. 
trust. gratitude. abundance.
i'm so thankful to go inward during a time of transition and arrange the alter inside myself as i prepare to move forward.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

god, what a magical last few days. i feel so full of gratitude, i think i might burst open! so many beautiful souls entering into my life, beautiful moments. 
the final show at the Burren College of Art was magical. I sold two paintings!!! and then immediately following, the next day, I attended my first sweat lodge ceremony. putting it all on the fire. sweating my prayers. setting my intentions. 
the water was poured by Carl Big Heart of the Abenaki tribe (i think). check this shit out: carl big heart. so good. 

the next morning, i woke to this song i had set on my alarm which took on a whole new meaning:

"We burn the blue gum for a safe passage way,
Drink of the earth, smoke of the dirt,
And my warpaint was red ochre clay, hoka hey
Red ochre clay, hoka hey, red ochre clay, well
Our prayers ignite and cast out into the shire,
And the song of our struggle, came straight from the fire, it goes:
Holy holy grandmother we sing,
Wash us clean of our pain and suffering
Give us strength for a new beginning
In my deepest grace I sing
It'll wash away, it will wash away - lift 'em up"

Saturday, April 16, 2016

BCA FINAL SHOW


quiet
into the light
hands
darkness
          turns, wind, swirl


          Our final show at BCA is tonight from 6-8, so come if you're reading this and you're in Ireland. 
I've been making these self-portraits all year with blackberries I collected in the fall. Now they are all together in one place. There is no real conceptual reason that inspired me to make these. It just started because of an excitement for drawing faces and using materials that come as a result of intimacy with the earth-mother around me. But as they've evolved, I've noticed an interesting theme. I am, we all are, part of this magic mystery. Isn't that exciting!! I watch the ocean as it manifests the tides every day, effortlessly. I watch all the little birds collecting bundles of little twigs and making communities up in the trees. I watch the spiders dangling from their strings wiggling all their little legs. So delightful! I look up at night and I see the magic of all the stars. So magical. And I think, I am part of this! I am part of this amazing magical world! What a gift! How exciting! Nature never gets stuck wondering what to do next. It always knows exactly what to do. Following its delight. 

Now, I have read Jane Goodall and I know that there is a dark side to nature too. There is certainly a dark side to us humans. This year has been about embracing all of that in all of us but mostly deliberately choosing to embrace the light, first for myself and then for everyone everywhere. I've been reading Anam Cara, by John O'Donohue, who grew up and lived right here in this very region of Ireland. He died seven years ago and is buried in a cemetery not far from my apartment. He writes,

"The faces of death in every day life;
There is a gravity within that continually weighs on us and pulls us away from the light. Negativity is an addiction to the bleak shadow that lingers around every human form. Within a poetics of growth or spiritual life, the transfiguration of this negativity is one of our continuing tasks. This negativity is the force and face of your own death gnawing at your belonging in the world. It wants to make you a stranger in your own life. This negativity holds you outside in exile from your own love and warmth. You can transfigure negativity by turning it towards the light of your soul. This soul light gradually takes the gravity, weight and hurt out of negativity. Eventually, what you call the negative side of your self can become the greatest force for renewal, creativity and growth within you. Each one of us has this task. It is a wise person who knows where their negativity lies and yet does not become addicted to it. There is a greater and more generous presence behind your negativity. In its transfiguration, you move into the light which is hidden in this larger presence."

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The last days at bca.



here's me. with my cat guide beside me. all surrounded by the love of the universe and of my Higher Self. :)  god, what an amazing year. full of intense inner journeying. and anam cara (soul friend) making. the dreams that have developed since i've been here are expansive. 

below is my heart in a headdress. i was going to put a crown on it, but a headdress seemed more fitting. and now it looks like a heart ready to fly. which is exactly how i feel. my heart is my guide and it is ready to fly. leading me towards my destiny! :)  


Sunday, March 27, 2016

happy easter rising!!!!


 





Today is Easter Sunday and the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, the initial event that eventually led to Ireland's independence from England's domination.

Which is why I think this is the perfect time to post photos of my most recent project that is still up (until tonight) in the project room at the Burren College of Art. Last Wednesday was my day among the grad students to fill the project room with my work and energy. This is the result. 

I created a tipi with my paintings and other meaningful tidbits and held a ceremony with a portion of the grad group. 
The ceremony began in my apartment where each day for the last several weeks, I have been holding space and gratitude for each person in our group. I set up a prayer alter and lit a candle for each person using the Buddhist loving kindness meditation, "May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering". 
We gathered in the tent on Wednesday around 18 candles. I lit a candle and said the meditation for each person present. I then handed the candle over to them to hang up in the gallery. We then went around and did the same for everyone who was not present.

Something happened for me during the process of creating this piece. I felt a magical Presence with me as if I was entering into my destiny. God, that's exciting! I also love how elements of Native American Spirituality, Catholicism, and Buddhism are all present in this piece. All of these have influenced me in some way and have a presence in my life.

There are many variations of the Loving Kindness meditation, but generally, the idea is this: you say the meditation for yourself first. This is important because all healing of any kind, begins with healing ourselves first. Then you say it for someone close to you, then for an acquaintance, then for an enemy/someone who is challenging for you.
  For some reason, i felt compelled to put myself last even though i know it is crucial to put yourself first, but in the middle of the ceremony i realized i was going to run out of matches and someone made the suggestion that i light one candle and use that flame to light the other candles! genius! somehow i didn't think of that before hand, but it was almost better because the metaphor was even more pronounced. So i did the meditation for myself and proceeded to use my own light to light the candles for those around me. 
For me, everything about the process of making this and the ceremony was profound and beautiful. i love it. i love everything about it. i love holding space for people and how it makes me aware of how everyone is going through something. everyone has a lot on their plate emotionally and needs support. we are all in this together. 
xx. thanks for reading. (video soon to come)