3 minute read


No More Secrets : Sue Muirhead's Journey with Process Art



MUIRHEAD’S JOURNEY with process art began when she was introduced to Michele Cassou’s, ‘Life, Paint and Passion’, and Aviva Gold’s ‘Painting from the Source’. She was amazed after attending their workshops, Muirhead remembers. “I was witness to the most amazing art gallery I had ever visited! People who had never painted and professional artists together, used just colour and paper to create the most inspiring art,” she says.

In her art today, Muirhead starts with a blank piece of paper, and follows her energy rather than trying to create what might look good or expected. "Process art allows me to express the full range of my emotions," she says. "I have worked through the most painful and devasting events, and the most beautiful and uplifting experiences of my life with process art. It has allowed me to present a creative voice that is authentically my own.” Muirhead works primarily with watercolour crayons, felt pens, and sheets of 9x12” watercolour paper, making so her supplies easy to pack up and travel with.

‘No More Secrets’ is drawn from a series Muirhead created after disturbing revelations about her father came to light in 2009, late in his life. The news was deeply painful and devastating, and she had to reconcile herself to a parallel story about her father that she had no idea existed. Feeling the ground torn out from under her, process art provided the means to work through all sorts of conflicting and painful emotions.

“I processed and processed, and continue to process, one of the rawest and most difficult events of my life,” she shares. “Doing art saved my sanity.” In 2018, having created over 300 images, Muirhead laid her works out before her and saw a story emerge. “I chose 57 images, put them into an order that spoke to what had happened, and the story ‘No More Secrets’ was created.”

Deciding to exhibit the work has been a process in and of itself. “Opening up and sharing my deepest challenges is tough,” says Muirhead. However, the huge stack of art that she was packing around in a cardboard box called her to do something with it. By sharing her pain ful process publicly, Muirhead hopes to encourage oth ers to share secrets that are hard for them to carry alone. She offers the idea that creative expression can be used to help process through difficult tragedies, traumas, and emotions in a healthy way.

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“The grief around my father is a part of my life now. I continue with my artwork, writing, ceremony, sharing with others, and looking to wild spaces in nature as ways to support myself. This exhibition represents part of my process moving through loss, grief, discomfort, shame, and embarrassment. I respect that we all respond differ ently when faced with devastating circumstances, and I honour that for some, secrets remain a part of their landscape, sometimes for good reasons. For me, this is a healthy choice.”

As part of this exhibition, Muirhead extends an invita tion for others to share a secret they have been carrying. It does not have to be a heavy or devastating secret, it can be a regret, a fear, a dream, a sadness….as long as it is true. Postcards are available, which can be completed at Artful : The Gallery, or mailed in anonymously, the postcards will form a permanent part of the exhibition.

“We all have things we don’t want people to know," she says. "Sharing our secrets may allow for more under standing and compassion with one another.”

Copies of Sue Muirhead’s book will be available for sale at Artful : The Gallery.

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