May 2, 2021 in the free little art gallery_ws1

Wow, quite a few new items from unknown artists showed up in the gallery today!!

Other new items since the last update:

Be sure to follow freelittleartgallery_ws1 on Instagram for more immediate posts of new items in the gallery!! I also make the effort to share new items on Facebooks’s West Highlands Neighborhood, West End Association, and Ardmore Neighborhood pages. Please message me if you think there are other FB pages I should post on.

FLAG April 22, 2021 Update

It’s been a busy month with increasing donations and more people willing to TaKe ART!!! An easel went missing but was returned, and just this week, my favorite art patron, Sassy, returned to the gallery.

Here are some of the items displayed/taken from the gallery this past month. There may be some I missed if I didn’t get out there soon enough! It’s been especially fun having kids excited and participating in the art-making and exchanging. We even had a tumbling session on the lawn one evening. 🙂

March 18, 2021 FLAG update

Ah, the small easel went missing on Tuesday the 16th, I believe 😦

The installation of the Free Little Art Gallery_WS1 was on March 4th, and the official ‘opening’ was on March 5th! I created an instagram account for the gallery @freelittleartgallery_ws1 and also posted on my SusanAndreArt FB page, FB pages for West Highlands and Ardmore neighborhoods, DENT Creative Reuse Center & Art Laboratory and other Winston-Salem FB groups.

After only one day, local potter Dee Edelman contributed a tiny pot which I installed on a pedestal (a top from an aerosol can). It looked great! I added a ceramic Celtic heart by Charlotte artist, Timmy Hord @hordstudio:

There were contributions from local Ardmore artists Ginny Campbell and Sean Erbe:

I filled in an open area with a gelli plate print and encouraged passersby to TAKE ART!!

Other Winston-Salem artists installed pieces in the freelittleartgallery_ws1:

A small stoneware dish from Estonia was added to the FLAG_ws1, and Debbie Page Harris who has Free2BeeLoved tiny art gallery in Spartanburg, SC sent a gorgeous print. An unknown artist added a small book with a wise saying:

So, make art. Take art. Give art!!! The freelittleartgallery_ws1 is OPEN FOR ENJOYMENT!!

Free Little Art Gallery-Winston Salem

In January 2021, I happened upon a CNN story about a Seattle artist, Stacy Milrany, who put a free little art gallery in front of her house to help spread joy in her neighborhood during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a wonderful way to foster connection for residents who choose to partake of the art or to donate some art.

Stacy Milrany next to her FLAG

I love projects that involve ‘the street’ so I sent the story to an artist/builder friend who immediately volunteered to build one that weekend!!! I had to put a governor on his gas pedal so I could do some research, consider the logistics, and make some plans. His creative energies surged into early construction.

Meanwhile, I began to build some awareness and anticipation for the coming free little art gallery on social media. I also needed to update my website to include a blog section just for the Free LittleAart Gallery, winston salem (FLAG_winston salem). It will be here and/or on my Instagram page @SusanAndreArt that I’ll regularly post photos of the artwork that passes through the gallery. It is my hope that people contribute all kinds of things: sketches, poems, paintings, experimentations, photos, drawings, doodles, small quilts (?), and who knows what else??!

The FLAG is now painted and has been out in my backyard so I can see what happens when it rains. There seems to be a bit of water that gathered under the door so I think we’ll remove the front ‘porch’ before installing it in the front yard, probably next week. It’s been an exciting whirlwind of preparation, and I mocked up some gallery arrangements:

2-26-2021 Update: Made a few minor adjustments to the gallery box yesterday like removing the ‘porch’ and changing the location of the knob. I need to sand a bit more off the bottom of the door and stain the sanded areas. Scheduled installation next Wednesday, March 3rd so probably grand opening the next day??

Pay Attention

Out early on a foggy morning with my canine companion, I looked up and caught sight of this small web in the branches of a dogwood tree. Sheer magic that literally took my breath away!! I could see other smaller webs and single strands all made visible by the moisture and angle of the light. I imagine they’ve been there, just hidden and unseen until that moment. I recognize how easily I could have passed by without seeing these gems.

There are SO MANY parallel universes! I’ve always loved to look up at the trees as I walk and have noticed leaf shapes, leaf colors, tree shapes, tree bark, and tree dances in the wind. Within each of those observations are layers unseen: the movements of elements, and molecules, and energy. Where my attention goes, so does my awareness.

Pay attention. Be awake.

Pay attention. There is magic all around us.

My Aunt Pat

Start from where you are

Not from where you wish to be.

The work you’re doing

Becomes your path.

–Ram Dass

I wish these words had entered my awareness sooner than 2020!

December 2017, I had just helped my father move for the fifth time in four years and admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed and exhausted. I wanted to return to studio practice for much-needed rest and rejuvenation. Then my aunt died suddenly mid-December, and I was awash with a grief that took me totally by surprise.

Aunt Pat in one of her favorite RED sweaters.

I had been my aunt’s power of attorney for five years, assisting her with legal affairs; shopping; numerous emergency room visits; hip surgery and rehab; and the sorting and dispersal of belongings for her move to an assisted living facility. For all of this, it was a ten-hour drive each way for me. After agreeing to move to assisted living only eight miles from me in North Carolina, she fell and fractured her pelvis the night before I was arriving to load her remaining belongings and begin our 2-day drive to NC. It was necessary to quickly find an acceptable rehab facility and convince the NC assisted living to hold her room.

And then… And then…

Sigh. Breathe in. Breathe out.

In addition to those more stressful lowlights, and more importantly, I usually enjoyed her company and spent pleasurable hours working on jigsaw puzzles, laughing, chatting, sitting together quietly, having lunch with card games at my house, or going to restaurants for lunch.

Card Shark Aunt Pat. She loved whooping my dad and me in Rummy 500! It used to be scotch on the rocks or wine, but at this point, she was sipping lemonade, coke, and water. Winning can make you so thirsty 😉

In addition, and to be honest, I was also the recipient of much of her anger and confusion during those five years. She could say the meanest and most-cutting things. An assisted-living staff tried to soothe my tears, saying it was common for the primary caregiver to receive the full assault. Hearing that on an intellectual level didn’t always reduce or eliminate my emotional responses though. It was challenging to NOT take those moments personally.

All this to say that I had a complicated relationship with a strong, independent woman who wanted “to live longer than Mama,” which she did when she breezed by 93. We planned her finances for longevity, and she bounced away from the precipice so many times I believed she’d live to 100 for sure! That’s why, during that final ER visit and return to her home, I thought she would rally. I really did. She was ‘only’ 96 years old, for goodness sake!

Grief is confusing, distracting, and paralyzing. It rises and falls, ebbs and flows.

I shifted into learning how to be an executor to settle my aunt’s estate. My art practice reduced to a small pilot light within.

ALL OF THIS was my path at the time. Not what I had imagined, or planned, or hoped for… but what LIFE presented. My path became how I chose to respond to life’s circumstances, an idea I’d been exposed to through meditation practice and sangha. No sense being frustrated and angry “waiting for my life to start when this is over.” Rather…

‘Start from where I am,

not where I wish to be.

The work I’m doing IS my path.’


P.S. My intention for this post was NOTHING close to what you’ve read!! I guess Aunt Pat wanted to visit again; she would have been 99 this month.

A real beauty!!

Just For Fun

Charlotte Center City has an event where locally donated and artistically refurbished pianos are place in uptown public places. People living, working, and visiting Uptown Charlotte are encouraged to sit down and show-off their piano skills for the public’s enjoyment. This annual, experiential, performing art exhibition takes musical experiences to unexpected places for the enjoyment of everyone.

Just for fun, I took the opportunity to help paint one of the pianos for this year’s event! Usually, I work alone in my studio and had been wondering if I even knew HOW to collaborate with another artist!! It was an interesting experience, one where I relinquished my control instincts and went with the flow…

In a warehouse with no air conditioning, on a day when my car thermometer read 100 degrees when I left at 2:00, I painted alongside a delightful artist, Natalya Fedkiv and her son Peter. She and I are both members of Charlotte Art League.

They had arrived first, chosen the piano and the theme ‘classical,’ and Natalya had started on the front graphic while Peter began painting the keys. I immediately began decorating the back of the piano. The photo above shows the front of the piano when Natalya and Peter had to leave.

I still had some time and added details to the piano and painted the bench:

Honestly? It turned out beautifully, don’t you think??

I enjoyed the collaboration-on-a-time-schedule!!!  I’m looking forward to seeing the pianos placed in Charlotte and will jump at the chance again next year…

Creative Living

I am so fortunate an artist friend (Thank you, Terry Whye!!) recently mentioned a book to me. As usual, my first recourse was to check my local libary system. With luck, they had Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert in book, large-print, e-book, CD audiobook, and downloadable audiobook forms! I chose the downloadable audiobook because it’s read by the author and I could listen to it in my studio.


I had heard Elizabeth Gilbert speak at Davidson College maybe four years ago and was thrilled to feel that same connection as I’ve listened to her read Big Magic. Her message of living with curiosity and the willingness to take chances is pushing all the right buttons. In fact, I believe it’s exactly the ‘big magic’ Elizabeth talks about that sat me alongside this book at the table of Life at this moment in time.

Seeing Creativity as the bearer of ideas that want to take shape encourages me to be open to her impulses and leanings. If she presents an idea that resonates, I’ll be courageous in gestating and birthing that idea. I’ve been reminded to have FUN and to experiment, to take a ‘channeling’ role instead of always being the know-it-all ‘director’. What freedom in creating! What freedom in life! To live to the fullest nourishing our souls by pursuing what calls us!

Gilbert wisely suggests not putting the burden of financial dependency on Creativity. She warns that Creativity is more likely to turn in another direction where she can flow more easily. She tells of people who keep Creativity at their sides by spending 15-30 minutes together each day  which reminds me of the adage “To have a friend… Be a friend.” Just as my dog, Nell, needs a daily minimum of petting and attention to stay healthy, Creativity also needs to know that I’m there for her every day.

I want Creativity to be my lifelong friend! I want our friendship to deepen and become a more and more intimate one.

And what about the ‘fear’ mentioned in the title? Gilbert speaks of a personified Fear: the pesky, bad-influence-friend one can never get rid of. She wisely suggests we acknowledge Fear but that we give it very specific instructions about it’s role each time we start a new project. In fact, each day we enter our studio or approach our typewriter/computer, we should direct Fear to the backseat/observer role and never let it get in the driver’s seat.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear will be a resource I return to time and time again for the rest of my life. I heartily encourage all my friends be inspired to live fully through whatever pursuit calls and nourishes them. To live among other positive, inspired people is a dream, yes??

What’s calling you? What keeps you going?

Experimenting With Encaustic on Paper

I was fortunate to be awarded a Regional Artists Project Grant* by the Arts & Science Council in January 2016. I had submitted a request to obtain a heated palette larger than the one I had been using. After waiting during a disappointing backordered period, my 22″x32″ HotBox finally arrived!

HotBox heated palette

HotBox heated palette

I don’t know about you, but the acquisition of any new tool spurs my need for additional materials! I then assembled larger sheets of paper, various types of paper, newsprint, barrens, rollers, digital surface thermometers and a roll of heat-resistant Duralar, to name just some. And of course, more wax and resin and colors!!!


Duralar, papers, barrens, thermometers, rollers, wax, COLORS!!!

I’ve been experimenting with getting the temperature settings just right; how different types of paper absorb medium; the flexibility of various paper weights; how much medium to apply; monotype methods; mono print methods; and some collagraphic ideas.


I will continue learning and having fun, occasionally posting some images on my Susan Andre Art Facebook page. I’ve also recently scheduled a solo exhibit at Mooresville Artist Guild for September 2017 which will have some larger encaustic prints as well as some encaustic sculptural pieces I have in mind…

😉 SuzA


*This project was made possible by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, the Blumenthal Endowment and the arts council of Mecklenburg County.