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Terry and Renee’s Wedding ON/IN Elk Lake

On August 20th my son Terry and his, now, wife Renee, threw a magical, floating,  wedding.  Terry’s daughter’s, Ellie/blond hair, and Jade, dark hair were on board beaming as their dad and Renee exchanged vows.

The venue was a “house boat” that was cut in half and a “dock,” kind of, floated between the two main structures.   I have to say the word “floated” was key, and part of the fun during the wedding.  The houseboat was anchored off shore and the guest transported by motor boat from the lodges’s dock to the venue.  When guest, mostly family, arrived and began to load onto the “event site,” we tilted a little, or a lot, and the owner sprang into action yelling, “get off, get off, back in the motor…”  We were tipping and taking on water.  Those of us who were already on board kind of scooted to the middle and got things balanced.   The remainder of the wedding guest observed the ceremony from the comfort of the shuttle boats.

The bride was lovely, the groom handsome, the ceremony delicious, and was a bit wet and soupy.  The “preacher” cried, Terry got a little leaky, as did many guests.  It was a very, very happy occasion.  The weather could not have been better.   No wind, eighty degrees, only a few paddle boards here and there on the water, and the South Sister made a beautiful back-drop for a grand affair.IMG_3048IMG_3067IMG_3047IMG_3064IMG_3052IMG_3061IMG_3059IMG_3033

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Tiny Wild Strawberries

It’s a real summer in the Cascades, hot, smoky from the wild fires, brown and dry. Every day on my morning walk i look for subjects to photograph, then paint. To my surprise, the wild strawberries were in bloom. This doesn’t happen every year. So nice to see them hiding under leaves and pine needles. I leave them for the deer, little squirrels and chipmunks.

Wild Strawberries
Wild Strawberries
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Understanding Transient Hypofrontality

So beautiful with the sun coming through the clouds.
So beautiful with the sun coming through the clouds.

IMG_0417Creativity can be unlocked in many ways.  For an example by: doing some meditation, or soaking in a hot bath, taking a short/or long nap, sipping a cup of hot tea, hiking, skiing, anything that will offer your mind a chance to “meander” and allow juicy, creative ideas a chance to surface .

The photo to the left is literally my back yard, and I spend as much time out there as I can…giving my frontal lobes a rest and my “creative ideas”  an environment where they can surface.  Today I took my skis, beautiful chow dog, and we headed out the door.   After our walk, it was back to the studio to see what I would connect between brush and brain.

Rex Jung says that, “With creativity, in particular, in regions of the brain, especially the frontal lobes, less is better [in reference to the creative process.]  There is a down regulation of the frontal lobes that appears to foster creative cognition in the way we were measuring it.”

Stillness comes in the small est of gestures.
Stillness comes in the small est of gestures.

An amazing neural “gizzmosis” (I invented this word) that goes on in our brains – during transient hypofrontaliy …the brain is not shutting down as much, but is allowing a freer interplay of different that ideas literally can link together more readily.  So with intelligence, the analogy [he’s] used is  that there’s a superhighway in the brain, running from front to back, that allows us to get from Point A to Point B quickly.

These cliff hold stories of magic for e
Photo: A Valley less than a mile from my house.     creativity

“WITH CREATIVITY, ITS A SLOWER, MORE MEANDERING PROCESS where you want to take the side roads and even the dirt roads to get there, to put the ideas together.  So the down regulation of the frontal lobes, in particular, is important to allow these ideas to link together in unexpected ways .”  RJ

This information, I find, very useful, but enough for today…almost.

IT ALSO INVALIDATES THE RIGHT BRAIN-LEFT BRAIN THEORY…that Jung sees as pop psychology or myth that caught on after neurosurgeons began severing the corpus collosum to control seizures . 


As the river flows, so does the mind.  Creativity arises.    I invite you to write a poem or compose an image of this natural beauty?  If you do, would you send it to my site?  I’d be happy to post appropriate works with artist’s recognition.



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The “Creativity” Group

Sue Skjersaa_Peace

The Wheel Begins to Turn

My original vision for our  Creative Artist group follows:

1. Investigate creative process…ie. what is the force or power that arises within before we do our art?  What moves us to create?

2.Engage in Open Discussion/Activities: at the beginning of each gathering we will launch the focus, set the mood, or find the flavor of the day.  We all have means and ways that feed our personal artistic process…of which we are often unaware.  Our goal is to discover and share over and over again until we meet with our “inner artist” or monster blocks.

3.Demonstration of our creative process: this  might take the form of ritual, celebration, silence, or dance.  Whatever our art form, this is the time for action, to experience the movement and life of our craft.

4.Observe, listen, connect: with each other’s ideas and expressions. Every person’s ideas are novel, useful, and worth contemplation.

5.SUPPORT: assure that each  member has time to share without interruption – feedback is honorable vs. critical.  (Thanks to my first art teacher who taught me to always look for something that “works” in others and my art-work. )

With intention we can all go deep, then deeper, as we unlock the multitude of creative surprises living within each of us.   The fulfillment of this goal and the influence our small community will surely enspirit each of us, and our community, in a larger way.

Comments/suggestions will be welcome








Watercolor on Paper.

By Su

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Transient Hypofrontality

My last post on Art and the Creative Brain ended with the following paragraph:

Now, as an artist, I go mad with excitement as I discover research and publications describing findings through Brain Mapping, fMRI, CAT and PET scans,that uncovers what’s happening neurologically   when creativity knocks on my/your brain, heart, or gut…and ”Walla,”…

It’s October 2010, and I’m taking down-time after a bout with kidney cancer, my third cancer since 1992.  I’m still here…that’s another ” Art Project” I will probably talk about later.

Watercolor on Paper

There I was in home from the hospital, in bed, tired, lonely, and alone.  Friends and family literally dropped out of my life when I really most needed… “anything.”  A glass of water, a hand to hold…a husband???  Where’d he go?  This was a strange change I couldn’t ignore it.  Something’s up.  Wake up, Self.

Not willing to take this abandonment laying down, I began a major re-evaluation of my life.  As with all my other “threshold moments” I’d experienced throughout my times, I knew a major reordering  was on its way.    I cleaned out some of the old and brought in new light – delight… that ended informing closer connections with other artists and delving deeper into my own creative process.  I saw groups of artists all around me – deeply devoted to their art and to one another

Four months later the “gift of cancer” arrived. It was mid March, Sunday evening, and I was listening to On Being, a PodCast hosted by Krista Tibbitt on American Public Media.  Her guest was Rex Jung, a neuropsychologist who researched Creativity and the Everyday Brain.  The Durango Kid used to be my idol, then John Denver, now it’s Rex Jung.

This is what Krista wrote about him. “Rex Jung has notably helped describe something called TRANSIENT HYPOFRONTALITY.”  WOW!  This term stopped me in my tracks, “tans – hypofronalyalissss?”  It took me a year to learn to say it.  It’s really quite simple to understand, the word says it all – once you get it.

“In layman’s terms,” Krista goes on to say, “it’s now possible to see the difference between intelligence and creativity in the brain.  We can watch the brain calm its powerful organizing frontal lobes and become more “meandering,” less directed, in order to make creative connections.”  And guess what else, Jung goes on to debunk the myth of the “right brain-left brain” rumor.  This interview was crazy with the finest information I’d come across in a long time.

Bursting at the seams with excitement I called two painters, a poet, a potter, a dancer, a singer songwriter, and a chef – I couldn’t find a master gardener -and proposed to these accomplished artist that we come together to study the creative process that each of us experiences as we do our art.  In other words, it’s not the product but the process that will be at the inform our exploration.

Watch for my next post to get the scoop on how we began our exploration…..

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A Valentine’s Day Greeting

For the LOVE of ART and the GIFT of CREATIVITY I’m sending a fun piece in gratitude for my family and friends all across the lands.

This piece is a “pulled” watercolor Print with Aspen Tree Bark and a heart- shaped piece of Pine Bark – found objects in the forest surrounding  my studio.


Heart of Nature

$250.00 in Gold Frame

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My Journey Through Art and Networks of the Brain

Winter Mountains
Winter Mountains


MY NAME IS “SU,” No “e,” and I’m a life-time Oregonian living deep in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.  

At last…at long last, the Oregon Cascades have gotten it’s first dump of snow. Four feet in the past four days. But now it rains, melting ice blocks and clearing roads.  Nature has offered the perfect metaphor to describe “Art,” “Creative Process,” and how it waits for the Artist’s frozen brain to melt and find “clearings” in which to create.

Blocks, frozen brain, clearing, and beginnings are descriptors of the topics I will discuss over time on this blog site.  Join me.

I am an artist, but that’s not where I began.  In my professional life I WAS a registered nurse, and for 35 years maintained a private practice in Biofeedback, Behavioral Medicine, and Neural Therapy – Brain Wave Training.  In my practice, I taught many patients to control and heal various diseases and/or disorders appropriate and responsive to biofeedback interventions.  Patients learned to control Blood Flow, Muscle Contraction/Relaxation, Heart Rate, Skin Response to name a few.  I often used Brain Wave Training methods to observe the brain at work and rest, while anxious or inattentive… and everything in between.  Neural Therapy led me through a long journey of inquiry, enthusiasm, befuddlement, and  fulfillment.

Now, as an artist, I go mad with excitement as I discover research and publications describing findings through Brain Mapping, fMRI, that uncovers what’s going on inside (and out) when creativity knocks on my/your brain, heart, or gut…and “Walla,”…