• (From L to R) Kathabela Wilson, Jean Sudbury, Liz Goetz, Sharon Hawley and Joan Stern

      (From L to R) Kathabela Wilson, Jean Sudbury, Liz Goetz, Sharon Hawley and Joan Stern

      Mapping the multidimensional artist, Jean Sudbury, lyricist, instrumentalist, writer, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist.

      By Kathabela Wilson

      A telescope on the artist

      Horticulture (Photo - Jean Sudbury).

      Horticulture (Photo – Jean Sudbury).

      I see you as having an especially natural versatile and creative approach to life and your art, how do you see yourself as an artist in the world, blending the arts in your life, poetry, music, photography, and your garden?

      The plants and animals seem to communicate with me. I communicate back to them. You can see me (and them) peeking out of my drought resistant garden. I with my words, music, camera, pen in hand, or one of my instruments. I, like them,  claim no ownership of anything I have created; I share the universal inspiration through my music, through my art, through my garden, and through my everyday life. I live to share artistry through writing, through gardening, through photography, and through painting and drawing. I see the artist as one who lives to create and share truth, honesty and beauty with the world. I did not learn to be an artist, that’s just what I am. From the beginning of my life, I have lived to share the living culture of artistry.

      A microscope on the artist

      Jean Sudbury with mandola and violin

      Jean Sudbury with mandola and violin

      What are interior qualities of your artistic life,  what makes you an artist?

      For some reason ”Apple Blossom Time” stays in my head, a song I sang when I was small. My mother taught me to read music when I was so young, I don’t remember. I listened to my Dad playing jazz standards on piano. They say that the first music one hears as a child has the greatest influence on that person’s style. After two years on a full scholarship to the University of Utah,  I came to California and studied violin with Eudice Shapiro who was teaching at USC and she influenced my creative classical style.  From symphonies to movies to theater, I have made a living as a musician in a highly competitive town. I have added the mandolin and mandola, viola and accordion to my collection, expanding my musical worlds.  I enjoy playing many styles, including Irish, Mediterranean, Western, South American, and of course, early 20th century Jazz.

      I am a passionate person and I find ways to express this passion through my artistry.  I discovered yoga two years ago as a way to achieve  personal strength and effect  positive change in my life and work. And you will find me each day in my garden, where all my arts and practices grow together to nourish and entice each other.

      Mapping the artist

      Jean Sudbury

      Jean Sudbury

      How does Pasadena and the surrounding area,  color, and influence, your work, how do different places figure in your art?

      In 1993 I bought my house in Sierra Madre, I am grateful to live here, a town filled with unique artists. I immediately began redeveloping the garden and growing cactus, succulents, citrus, and other drought friendly plants. I joined Nature Friends,  an international nature lovers’ travel organization whose Southern California chapter is located here in the Sierra Madre canyon. I have hosted annual Summer Solstice events at Nature Friends, hosting programs where I combine music, art and the beauty of nature there and at the Annual Sierra Madre Art Fair.

      Focus on the artist

      What are some of your newest projects?

      The Fall 2014 edition of Pacific Horticulture has an article about the wildflower garden project I am working on at the Los Angeles Arboretum. One of the photographs in the article is mine, discovered and invited by the magazine. You can see the photo of wildflower blooms and birds accompanying this interview.

      Not too long ago I recorded a CD with Sudbury and Ramos Connexion Eclectique (can be ordered via email.) One of the songs is a favorite, and inspired by a plant in my garden called Stapelia (photo on the right).

      Watch the video above while you read the lyrics that carry the spirit:

      by Jean Sudbury

      Stapelia Grandiflora
      is doing a dance
      with the ants.

      Stapelia is winking
      at the fly
      who loves her essence.

      Stapelia Grandiflora
      starts out as a pod.

      As the pod
      slowly opens,
      Stapelia becomes a star.

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. Maja Trochimczyk says:

        Great story – very educational about the plants – the best beginning of an interview I’ve read yet. … “The plants and animals seem to communicate with me.” It reminds me of my mother talking to her plants and telling them she loves them and they are so, so, so beautiful that they really became so, so, so beautiful. So is Jean. Very beautiful. (I also wrote a poem or a couple about Jean’s garden).

      2. Susan Dobay says:

        Great interview with a versatile beautiful artist Jean Sudbury. Also I enjoyed the youtube .

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