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The Midway Artist
Paint and the mysterious process of painting never cease to surprise me. I have immersed myself in it long enough to know that any given session, whether in the studio or en Plein air, may produce something of my own, but may simultaneously connect the literal and immediate moment with sources that are historic, symbolic and even divine. At best there are lucid moments interrupted with emotions and forces that temporarily push me off balance and then bring me back full of energy and more questions. It happens at the most unexpected times and when it does I am enlivened, energized and happily bewildered with the result. I seek the opportunity for this revelatory experience by painting constantly and regularly. I anticipate, but I cannot demand, command or guarantee it will happen. I simply show up at the easel in overgrown, half-hidden corners of gardens, atop mountain and desert vistas, and at various locations with figures and still life subjects. I paint. It happens, or not. But when this extraordinary experience occurs, the voice of something greater than myself later speaks to the viewer and the paintings from these sessions are more impactful than simply technical renderings. Voila! And as Robert Henri is quoted in The Art Spirit, It is not enough to have thought great things before doing the work. The brush stroke at the moment of contact carries inevitably the exact state of being of the artist at that exact moment into the work and there it is, to be seen and read by those who can read such signs, and to be read later by the artist himself, with perhaps some surprise, as a revelation of himself. I am thrilled at that prospect in my work. For me that is the real substance of paint and painting. Susette Billedeaux Gertsch M.F.A. (Brigham Young University)