Devoted Reflections – Intentional Creativity Spotlight on artist, Christina Gage
“She is a participant in the cosmos and the cosmos comes from her. She experiences life in a state of openness and wonder, allowing existence to unfold in ways previously unimagined”
Throughout the month of October, Musea shone an even brighter light on the work of Shiloh Sophia’s beloved art mother, teacher, and mentor, Sue Hoya Sellers. Her virtual exhibit – Into the Future – is still available for viewing here. We would also like to continue to honor not only Sue’s work as an artist but also her role as a teacher so we are offering an intimate snapshot of the enduring influence she endowed to her students through the very poignant reflections of her most attentive and devoted pupil, Christina Gage. The following is a description of their relationship in Christina’s own words.
First and foremost, I am a student, and a lifelong lover of learning. Although my own art teacher left this world a few years ago, I still practice her technique and continue my journey in the process that she modeled for me those years we shared in the studio.
I cherished my teacher, and made sure she knew it. For example, I never let Sue buy her own meals when we were working together, and if no one else showed up for studio time (which happened surprisingly often), I always paid her double. I came with ideas and inquiries, with works in progress, with a great eagerness to learn from her. She rewarded my energy with special outings and extra access. It was symbiotic and a deep friendship developed between us. I loved how her face would light up when I would arrive at the studio or when I had a big breakthrough.
I’ve really returned to being a student, and have spent a lot more time practicing. I’ve taken classes to continue building on the themes Sue presented to me, often in mediums I don’t usually work with to really get outside of my comfort zone. Sue also taught me a method she called “reverse engineering” art, which is to study a painting in great detail, to break down how it was made, as a way to learn from the painter. She did this herself as a young artist by studying the Masters at museums. I now do this with her art – using the originals of hers that I own, as well as digital versions of her art that she gave me to study. I truly, deeply love this learning process. While I miss Sue very much, working on my own has been a beautiful opportunity to stretch my wings and see where my art will go.
I love and remember her with every stroke of my paintbrush and every beat of my creative heart.
Wonder, by Christina Gage. Dedicated to her teacher, master artist Sue Hoya Sellars
‘Opening To Light’, by Christina Gage
She is willing. She trusts. In a timeless moment of awakening, she opens to Light and the pure ecstasy of her true Self. She is free.
Christina has shared that the painting above ‘Opening to Light’ is her most popular painting although it’s one of her older ones. For those who are familiar with Sue Hoya Sellars work, you will notice Sue’s teaching influences in this painting.
In addition to sharing her lovely memories of Sue with us, Christina has also graciously offered some of her thoughts and lessons about the relationship of Teacher and Student.
The following passage is Christina’s coherent reflections on this in her own words.
TEACHERS and STUDENTS
I am a teacher and a student of many, many arts. The art of living well, the art of success for women, the art of silence, and of course, the art on my easel, to name several.
I am a pretty private person. I live a quiet life; I do my thing and let you do yours. When I teach, I do so privately. At one time, I taught more broadly and very publicly, but now I work in more of a “mystery school” format with just a few students and friends. When the rare opportunity arises, I may meet with collectors who have invested substantially in my paintings, but I don’t have an open studio or do casual meet-ups. And sometimes I offer retreats, but by invitation only.
Many of my friends are teachers, and they can attest to both the beauty and challenges that come from this service. I’ve learned a few things about teaching (and therefore, about being a student), at least in the more personalized approach that I follow.
Students get out of it what they put into it. When a student is excited and engaged, they are in a very open state where a lot can be learned. They will draw teachings out of the teacher via their enthusiasm and curiosity, and through their own practice, they will soar. If someone doesn’t bring their energy to the table, if they aren’t proactive about the relationship, if they take the relationship for granted, then they will just drain the teacher and not really grow much in the long run.
Life is the real teacher. While the physical teacher is a profound conduit for knowledge and can accelerate learning exponentially, ultimately, life will present the opportunities that each one of us need on our journey. As a teacher, I can trust that, and not take my role too seriously.
Sometimes, the best gift to give a student is to let them go (for a while or forever). We can’t really know what we’ve learned until we test things out on our own. When the teacher becomes a crutch, it’s time for the student to try out their wings and fly solo.
Teaching is one of the greatest gifts for the teacher, because wisdom flows through you and mastery can develop as you refine your technique and understanding. The teacher gets the gifts they’re giving.
‘Into the Mystery’, by Christina Gage
“She soars into the great mystery, destination unknown and unbound. She trusts and is carried on the current of Truth.”
“We leave an imprint when we touch existence. We are weavers and receivers in the cosmic dance.”
Christina in Red Thread Circle with Shiloh Sophia and Sue Hoya Sellars
In closing, Christina’s thoughts on how Sue’s influence is also continuing through the work of Shiloh Sophia sparks a rhapsodic chord for the Legacy Sue has helped to create with Intentional Creativity.
In Christina’s words to Shiloh:
“She knew that different people had different roles with her. And she understood that your role was the most important of all – to bring IC to the world.
She could not do that. Only you can do that. It is your piece of the red thread.
Shiloh, what you’ve created is a legacy and a lineage, and because of that, Sue and her art and IC and your art and all of us, it will never die but always live on for everyone”.
If you would like to learn more about Christina and her art, you can visit her website www.christinagage.com.
Article Written by,
Jessica holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy. She is an Intentional Creativity Teacher and Coach, and is a member of the Musea Co-Curators Discovery Team as the magazine Lead.