Mendocino Stories

Susan Moore
Susan Moore

Susan Moore is an artist, poet, musician and educator.  She grew up on the Gulf coast of Florida and graduated with a BA in music from University of South Florida in Tampa.   Although Susan has lived most of her life in Florida, she also spent seven years in Mendocino where she was actively involved in the cultural life of the community.   Susan is  a self-taught visual artist, working primarily in the media of colored pencils and ink. She currently lives in Everett, Washington, and teaches music and some art classes for the Edmonds School District, where she enjoys fanning the flames of creativity in her students.  In her own creative life she balances her efforts between music, art and writing.  She visits Mendocino whenever she can. Giclee prints of Susan’s artwork are available in a variety of sizes.

For more information, contact Susan at:

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Susan Moore

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Cheshire Book Store





4Eyed Frog





Family Hands





The Bookstore


After the Flight
©1997 by Susan Moore

In the conceptual stage of this piece I had this odd urge to create an image of a woman halfway underground, emerging from a flower bulb.  Eventually I abandoned the idea.  At that time in my life I had begun seriously thinking about moving back to the Pacific northwest.  I wanted to be in Mendocino, but for practical reasons of job availability  I thought Washington state would be a more viable option, and I had a longtime friend there. The task of moving seemed so daunting that the only way I could express this possibility was to imagine growing wings. This drawing was my initial visualization of having arrived. 

After the Flight 

I didn’t consider that there might a connection between the original idea of the flower bulb and the resulting piece until after it was completed.  I saw a resemblance between the compositional lines of this piece (her body and wings, the long carpet and the shape of the top two center tiles over her head - the seed - in the central archway) with a star glyph called “Kan,” from the Mayan calendar.  My research revealed that Kan symbolized a seed, the beginning of manifesting a possibility. Kan is associated with the color yellow, like the lilies, and the temple of light in which she has landed. So, the original idea and the final piece were connected after all.  I continued to cultivate the idea of moving to Washington.

To Life
©1998 by Susan Moore

This toast to life followed a period of several years beginning in 1993 when I had experienced a lot of disintegration and loss in my life, including the deaths of my parents and some close friends. The building with the descending steps represented not only a crypt for the dead, but also healing work I had done by delving into my subconscious, I wished to finally close this chapter in my life, put death behind me for a while, and find a way to again experience more joy and creativity.

 To Life

This drawing was nearly finished, except for the background, when I took another trip to Washington.  I spent several glorious days in a tiny village in the Cascades called Index. It provided me with a strong reconnection with the beauty of nature, which I needed.  When I came home I used the mountainscape surrounding Index as my inspiration for the background.  Visual clues in the drawing indicated to me that the archetype was the Queen of Wands.  Although she holds a cup in her hand instead of a wand of wood sprouting leaves, her cup is actually fashioned as a tree.  This feminine archetype represents a woman with self-knowledge, because of what she has come through.  The mystery of what was obscured by the clouds was appropriate since I had no idea of what was in store for me next, should I actually make the move to Washington. 

Woman’s Work - The Creative Cycle
© by Susan Moore, 1999

I was asked by the Tampa Art Museum to be an “illustrator in action” for Family Fun Day.  The museum was showing Remington’s prints and sculptures of the “Wild West” which was going to be the theme for Family Fun Day.  They wanted me to have something with a Western theme in progress for the day, and I could also show and sell my other work.  I went down to the museum to talk with the events coordinator and looked at the Remington exhibit.  My subjective experience of his work was that it was a bunch of guys shooting each other, either with guns and bullets or with bows and arrows.  The only woman I could find in his work was a Native American woman carrying an enormous bundle, walking behind a white man leading a donkey who was carrying less than she was.  I left thinking this show needed some more feminine energy and that I would begin something with that in mind. Again, it was only after the drawing was finished that I completely understood that I had created a person of a gender and culture that often experiences oppression and poverty, but who was clearly experiencing prosperity as an artist.  There was power for me in recognizing that this woman was an artist in a self perpetuating cycle of prospering creativity.  It was then that I realized I was setting the record straight, if only for myself and, perhaps, the Native American woman in Remington’s print, of what a woman’s work really is. 

 Woman's Work

Roots and Sky - Still Dreaming
© Susan Moore, 2000

Sometimes there’s so much to say about a piece that it might be easier to say nothing at all.  I had no idea where the imagery was coming from, except that I was very depressed and wondered if anything good could come from art created under these circumstances.  I have probably learned more about myself from this piece than any other drawing I’ve created.  The colors serendipitously corresponded, oddly enough, with a brightly colored shower curtain that a friend gave me.  I had pulled out dozens of pictures from magazines with colors and images that moved me, and was working totally from my subconscious.  I had this idea to create a picture of a woman laying in water with flowers and plants growing through her.  I argued with myself that anyone with plants growing through them would be dead, but part of me was in denial and thought that it would make a nice drawing.  I was struggling unsuccessfully to create this pose I wanted with her body laying in water.  I abandoned that idea and wound up with this image of her squatting as though she is trying to get up. 

 Roots and Sky

The orchids on her body indicate the uncomfortable position she has assumed to accommodate others.  She has been in the process of healing past wounds and the effects of them that have created uncomfortable patterns in her life.  She is ready to get up and go.  In effect, she is “still dreaming” of another kind of life.  The blue bar code like band is her psychic clairvoyance and connectedness with other levels of consciousness. 

I see it as the Strength archetype.  It took strength for her to invest in the healing process, and will take more strength for her to get up and leave.  Once she arrives in the new life of which she has been dreaming she is going to need even more strength than she could have imagined. 

This was the last drawing I did while living in Florida, just before I moved to Washington on December 21st of 2000. 


Originals and Giclee prints are available by contacting Susan Moore




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