Roxanne Zusmer


Previously, an educator/school counselor, I presently spend my retirement from the school system engaged in reading, writing, and painting. The expressive journey I now follow has opened up new worlds and broader insights. Use of words, forms, and colors communicates the passion and calmness that has become an integral part of who I am.

Generally, I write as I paint, on impulse, as the mood hits me, with utterly no intent. There are exceptions, such as with my book, Mr. Germain Goes To Antarctica, but even that beginning had a lightning moment: The illustrator, John Germain, came into my school counseling office to tell me he was chosen to represent the United States on a Mission Antarctica Voyage I expedition. His anticipation at joining three other teachers and four international baccalaureate students from different countries was contagious, and I got caught up in his exhilaration. That's when I exclaimed – “Why don't you keep a journal and I will write stories about your experiences for children and adolescents!” And so began an extensive writing process!

I generally work with acrylic and watercolor, sometimes with collage. When my aha! moments come, I pull out a blank piece of art paper or canvas and before I know it, an image has transferred from my mind and my soul onto the surface. Abstract drawing and painting seems to be my favored outlet. I can let my imagination soar to varying heights. My motivation comes from within and without. I am enthused by everything around me – all shapes and objects and colors – and inspired by memory, reflections, history, and survival.

What I feel at any given instant can become a drawing or painting. I dwell in the world of imagination, reaching beyond the mask that is outwardly me. The artwork draws itself from my energy and paints itself from my emotions. Each drawing and painting is a part of me … a release, akin to holding my breath, then letting it go with one gust of air.

Poetry is my writing of choice, although, essentially, it chooses me! It can be anytime, anywhere that a poem runs through my head onto paper expressing more about me than I consciously was aware of. It's usually a WOW! moment … like, where did THAT come from? At times, my art and poetry merge as one, forming a connective link.

I generally don't favor writing and rewriting poetry. It comes to me and I accept it as a part of me that wants saying. I honor that truth. I might need to dwell on the meaning, but I know it is from my core. Whimsical writings can be facades, covering what's lying underneath the surface that is not ready to emerge, or they can be just that – quirky, fanciful, fun.

Art, for me, whether painting or writing, is mostly about the satisfaction and enjoyment of crafting something, creating it. It offers a zone of contentment – a vehicle to transport my thoughts and visions. My interest in sharing it all with others is a breakthrough of exposing the vulnerable child that nestles within. I know it's okay to let others into “my own little corner in my own little room.” I am the dancing child, the little girl in grown-up shoes, who is providing truth to reality.

One of those truths is bringing the important message of the effects of global warming, climate change, and sustainability to our children, adolescents, and young adults – how they can each make a difference one small step at a time. The earth has been loaned to us. It is up to us to nurture it and sustain it. It is up to us to make a difference, not only in the world as it is today, but as it will be for generations to come.

© 2018 Roxanne Zusmer