I ship world wide but if you would like to see my artwork in real life, you can find it the Grove Bookshop, Ilkley, the Picture Framer Shop in Knaresborough, on the Railway Station platform and at Michael Cohrt, Lumsås, DK. My home studio is open by appointment only. Contact me via livsmalerier@gmail.com or via direct message on Instagram: sussi.louise

At the moment there is a short waiting list for commissions

søndag den 19. februar 2017

Everydaylife paintings in colourful naivism

The Ilkley Girl

Cooking amongst horizons

Mozart in the bath
Getting lost in the calm of the water
Opening line from one of my favourite pieces
14x17cm approx

A land of colourful creatures and endless possibilities. Story-painting to get lost in. You can find a new story every time. I will tell you mine if you tell me yours

22x28cms approx.

 Extract 1
 Extract 2
Extract 3

 Dreaming of seas and sights while cooking
Bolton Abbey, Harrogate and North Yorkshire Viaducts
14.5x18.5 cms  approx

Micro painting of Kitchen Book life

"On my way to work I met"
A fairy tale painting complete with flying pigs and dragons. Story-painting to get lost in. You can find a new story every time. I will tell you mine if you tell me yours

Extract 1

 Extract 2
 Extract 3

fredag den 3. februar 2017

BOOK ART I love it

A good idea for my American readers... Fighting cancer with love and horseback riding

Cancer Patients Riding to Recovery
As you all know I am dedicated to fighting cancer with love,  art and fun.  But recently I've noticed that there are a lot of therapy pets figuring in conversations with people.  And then Jenny wrote this to me from America. I hope we have similar things in Yorkshire. We should. She writes:

Alternative medicine goes beyond herbs and other potions. It is becoming more and more apparent, and more quantifiable, that animals and the arts are saving lives. Let’s take animals, and in particular horses in this instance. Many children and adults have seen how guide dogs help the visually impaired or reading dogs give confidence to children who find it hard to read aloud.

For cancer patients, any kind of animal-based therapy can help raise morale and improve overall feelings. This is important because studies are showing the positive benefits to a person’s health brought about by just feeling good. This can improve survival rates and recovery rates. Furthermore, equine therapy is shown to help people recover their sense of balance, coordination, and independence after a long time in treatment and recovery.

Horse-based therapy takes the form of a relaxing, animal-filled area, horseback riding, and music therapy. This is offered by organizations such as Dream Rider Equestrian Therapy and Rocky Mountain Riding Therapy in the United States. To find out more, check out this guide on how horses are helping cancer patients.

mandag den 16. januar 2017

Danish Hygge - the original kind. The one with high taxes and lots of family time

Hygge has at least two rather different elements to it. On the one side we have the 'stuff'... Live candles, throws, huge tea mugs, well insulated houses, great cakes, cooking (read: wholesome and preferably including a lot of potatoes and cabbage) (and pork, and sausages).

On the other side there is the cultural history, the implications for how we organise our lives and not least hygge's effects on social interaction and society In this sense Danish Hygge is quite different. On the surface, Hygge is just a nice thing that anyone can do with a few Home-baked cakes and candles, and nobody needs the Danes to teach them how to be cosy or create an ambience. Most European countries have that covered. The Anglo-Saxon society as it has developed across the isle of Britain surely does.

Much more at issue for the Danish is how Hygge is actually is incorporated in how we do it. How we prioritise family and friendships, because we can. How we use the outside (Hygge is not a seasonal thing, it's an everyday thing, all year round). Hygge influences how and what we cook, how we organise schools and learning; how architecture is described, how political and economic factors are measured in terms of sustainability, both fiscal (economic growth) and Socially (quality of life for the citizens of Denmark).

And happiness and sustainability are two major elements in the Danish welfare model. Both the official AND the informal. Whether you can actually justifiably link Hygge and welfare state, is a different discussion. Hygge existed before the welfare state as we know it, but the welfare state makes it almost a duty to participate. So we have ourselves a Chicken and egg situation. Did Denmark develop a welfare state because we already had the perfect basis or has the welfare state just made Hygge more evident?

I'm not making this up. If Bourdieu was alive he'd make a million dots on a matrix and call hygge cultural capital. Becher in his book:  'Academic Tribes and Territories' scratches the surface if this culturally embedded phenomenon, but really it's about much more.

Discourse analysis of news media (fake or not) will show a myriad of complex hegemonic discourses that determine what a Dane considers Hygge and not. But for me, the best approach is a proper carnivalistic polyphonic angle (go Mikhail Bakhtin ). Hygge has so many voices, rituals and traditions. They are all bound to and sometimes within, families, geographical areas, friendship groups, workplaces.

Every Dane thinks he is unique. News flash, we're not really. You will have to look far and wide to find a more homogeneous, coherent or conform country than Denmark. I challenge you (ok Iceland doesn't count, but other than that, it's open season). Danes are a good 5 million people. We can get from one end to the other in max 3,5 hours, if we go backwards in an UP. We don't do pubs, we eat at home. We dress for comfort more than style, even though we'd like to think our casual comfortable style is classy, even on the bicycle highways in the snow.

Obviously a lot of Copenhagen is exempt from this conversation. What happens in Copenhagen, stays in Copenhagen. Much like London is not representative for what goes on up here in the North. All the talk of Scandinavian minimalism, we love it! Do we live it, no. At least not the vast majority of us. The craze about Scandi-style that you can find on BBCs Interior Design Challenge or in the fancy lifestyle magazines…. Not representative.

I have friends who live like that, and it is majestic, but they too have studys, guest bedrooms that are like everyone else's, overfilled and overflowing.

The Hygge culture is about authentic, full on togetherness. No phones, no conflicts, and no bragging. It often entails excess. No silly Swedish Lagom here. We Danish eat chocolate and sweets to excess, more than most countries, we drink, people still smoke, and they like it too. Not me, but you know we all have our flaws. We have wild gardens, fifth generation cars and second hand prams for our babies. If our children are asleep in the pram, we leave it outside the café and if 'Solvej' starts crying, somebody sticks their head through the door and shouts:"Anyone got a screamer in a blue pram outside?".  It's pretty naïve, very safe and very trusting. All Very Hyggeligt.

I have a read some incredible awesome Danish academic articles about the whole thing. And it is evident, that the omnipresence of Hygge in Danish culture is almost unfathomable. Even to Danes. They often don't think about it much, it's sort of... just like breathing.  But it's not the point really I guess.  It is however one of the reasons I had a total hissy fit when this craze started in England.  I couldn't deal with the bastardisation of traditions and rituals that is so dear to me and everyone I know. It's how I survived losing mum and dad to Cancer within a month. It IS how I cope with loving someone with cancer. It is how friends and family interact and help and have fun with each other.

It's not without its drawbacks not at all. It socially exclusive and riddled with idiosyncratic rituals. But it is my  'home' and it is a form of happiness I recognise. That's why I've started doing the after dinner talks. So people can get a chance to hear about the impact Hygge has on a whole society and why the total Hygge experience is difficult to achieve in the UK.

Even if it meant that people would feel safe and all education was not just free, but you get paid a stipend to study from the age of 18, can you see people in the UK signing up to start paying between 38-62%tax on all earnings over 5.000 £? Or an argument that a 36.5 hour working week is MORE efficient that a 45 holding its ground?

In other words to be free, as the Danes repeatedly declare they feel, you have to trust, and sign over your money, your social security number and every single thing you do will be logged and kept. It is a project that involves working on the collective success more than the individual's? I'd love it if it were possible to get a similar level of welfare and trust in the UK. I just don't see it.

So it's the everyday life changes we can make that we must focus on here. Carving time out for each other, no phones, no big discussions, no host- or boasting. Being honest, Authentic and Loving. Not just to the people we know, but to ourselves and to strangers. It pays off, big time. And FYI no Dane wears those mega knitted socks and sweaters indoor… we insulate our houses.

SORRY, got on the soapbox again, it’s a slippery thing.

Rant over. Promise

#hygge #hyggeisasuperpower #danesareweird #actionforhappiness

#hygge #hyggeisasuperpower #danesareweird #actionforhappiness

mandag den 9. januar 2017

Why Happiness is simple for One, You, Dig, Dem, Man whatever

Well, not simple as in 'WHY don't you just do it then?' But as in... a change of focus; from what one doesn't have to what one does have and what one would love to achieve. For instance using the personal pronoun ONE less. It's difficult though. In Danish we have three words that are used for English you. Du, man og dem. And sometimes I feel that if I said: "From what you don't have to what you do have." that that sounds really bad. And rude. Even for a Dane, and that's saying something.

POINT IS happiness, like love, is at its best when it's not complicated, fraught or difficult. Cutting back to basics is a good way to go. Enjoying the small everyday life things, taking your  (one's, Ens) time to make a great cup of tea, ironing while doing the boogie to Stevie Wonder, whatever brings joy. For most people, when they think about it they know what those things are. Music, good food, good company, a ray of sunlight.

This is part of why I think the Hygge concept has caught on in the UK so much. Hygge is a celebration of the little things. Not trying so hard. Good honest, authentic care, love and attention. Not being on the smartphone all the time, sharing the talking time, reading a book, having a bath, digging in the garden with a headlamp on - oops, that might just be me. But you know what I mean right.

My art is part of me and even when I am low, nothing cheers me up like colours and (coffee) (cake) (chocolate) music

And a good walk by the sea

onsdag den 7. december 2016

Hygge – the Danish Art of Making Happiness Matter in Everyday life

Hygge has become a word of wonder - a weird and wonderful, some would say untranslatable, Danish concept describing the art of being happy.  But what is Hygge really? How does one do Hygge?  Why should the people of Britain take notes about being happy from a small, usually cold and mostly dark, country in Scandinavia? In other words, why has hygge become so popular in the UK? Well maybe you shouldn't?
My take on hygge explores the ins and outs of the phenomenon is based on my research into and experiences with living in Denmark. Over the next monthd I will reflect on the possible rewards as well as challenges one can expect when trying to adopt the Danish Hygge into British life.
So,  what is it? 
Hygge is such a simple thing. Finding joy in everyday life. Cherishing sharing and togetherness. Showing you care by investing your time, not necessarily your money in the people and the home you care for. It's authentic, unpretentious and real. And you can't do it ALL the time. Nobody would get anything done. Simple. And yet, so very very complex to explain. Like beathing. We can say how it sort of works, air in, air out. But if you were to explain exactly how it keeps us alive, how the heart and brain reacts if you don't get enough air. Enough of the right kind of air. Then what? The moment we go all medical autopsy chik ... the magic disappears. It is no longer a marvel, but a series of interconnected actions and reactions that may or may not keep you alive.
It is the same with hygge.
I urge all new Hygge lovers. Please don't kill it by amputating it, dissecting it, oversimplifying it or over-analysing it. Use your heart as the compass. Hygge is about finding something or someone you care about, then care hard. Show it by investing time, emotion and let your self or ego if you like, go. Hygge is not not about you. A hyggelig situation requires you to let go. Not take centre stage. And not be impassive either. It is about engaging, helping each other, not trying too hard. Cut the love down to its bare essentials.
This is where I reckon the English can learn a bit... They are fabulous hosts and hostesses. They serve amazing drinks and three course meals. And it is lovely.  And it makes me happy.  But for the person running the gauntlet in the kitchen, is it Hyggeligt?  I don't think so. And the amount of preparation and time spent alone before guests arrive.... Gosh i hear English friends say all the time "I'm so knackered after doing a dinner,  I swear next time we'll just go out".  I love dinner parties. But they're a gauntlet and a marathon rolled up and topped with drinks and a ton of dishes.  It's great, but in Denmark it wouldn't constitute Hygge. A great time,  a happy time,  but not Hygge. Hygge is informal, relaxed, a joint effort, simpler good, more booze :) 
This talk I do when asked, tries to maintain the fantasy and the magical moments that hygge can bring, and it argues that it's not just about (breathing) hygge - it is about HOW we hygger. We need the right kind (of air and hygge) to live and not just survive.

Where there's is hygge there is always happiness, but when you are happy it doesn't necessarily mean you are hygging!
I try to bring the joy, colour and calm Hygge into all my art... and the fun.

For me, Hygge has always had that perfect mix of not being afraid of being a bit ridiculous and the complete trust that if you are, the people around you still love you. Fun is a key ingredient in that show. And if I were a real Dane, Snaps, lots of it. Or, well any kind of hooch. I'm more of a coffee and Champagne girl. Not together, obviously, nobody messes with my coffee.

Dad was one of the most involuntarily funny people ever.
I miss him. He passed away March 30th 2016 but on the 27th he left Mr Right a fantastic and so funny voicemail. I shall treasure that forever.

As keen followers know, I have a little thing about Raindeers and what I call my Rudofo Character. My lovely English friends went all out for my birthday on winter Solstice and bought me my very own. Obviously he had to be at the head of the table. Megahyggeligt
For me personally, one of the most hyggelige things I know is reading. It's the perfect way to hygge on one's own but also a great way to spend an afternoon next to a loved one. Just reading and relaxing. And no, the stove doesn't have to be lit. You just have to not be cold. Or hungry.

Rudolfo and I are getting cosy. He's almost as big as I am. Love it.

For some reason Knaresborough station, at the very end, where the picture framer is, is my place of complete calm. Just sitting on the bench, painting, watching the trains go by. It's a real treat

I read a lot when I prepare for lectures or talks. The Almost Nearly Perfect People had me in stitches. So did the My Year of Living Danishly, Signe Johanssons book How to hygge, didn't have e laughing but boy, it did make me want to either, A. move to Norway or B, Adopt her.

I absolutely love nature. The trick to real hygge is to go outside and get really windblown. Use your eyes to trail the horizons and get stuck in to nature, THEN go inside. That's the stuff. Wear yourself out outside, then Hyg inside. Easy peasy and free too

I love the dark nights and lit up train stations

I have recently taken up knitting. What do you think, should I change careers?

Staithes. I am serious. Yorkshire is literally God's own country. So beautiful. Everywhere I go I see scenes I need to paint. The colours are fabulous, the light unique and the villages and towns are like time warps . . . making friends in Yorkshire can be tricky, but if you pay attention and make an effort. You have the most funny friends EVER.

søndag den 20. november 2016

Yule Hygge in Knaresborough - come say hi and see my happy Christmas presents

This is the second year I am participating in the Knaresborough Christmas Fun.

On Friday 25th Nov, the lights will be switched on in the square, then the arts and crafts faire starts in the Fabulous Old Ticket Office Cafe on the station platform.

I have made a bunch of paintings and stones with local themes but I have also made sure Santa and the North Pole are represented in the shape of Nisser and Rudolfos

I have made new hand painted cards and gift tags, even a few notebooks *S*

I shall bring the HYGGE you bring your smiles, and remember I looove the local Yorkshire Dialects but if I look a bit daft, it's because I haven't quite reached full professional proficiency yet. I have in Danish Hygge though ... I'm fairly fluent in that.

Come say hej!!