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My Lucky Three • by Susan Tuttle

In my pre-teen years things changed for me. I shed my unique, tomboyish, free-spirited creative persona and began to feel like less inside and out — not good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough. My confidence and sense of self-worth drained away and there I was, standing on the outside looking in. I wanted so badly to fit in, to be accepted. It was at this time that I auditioned for the New Jersey Youth Symphony on my flute. I was chosen to be one of the three flutists in the group and it immediately changed my life — I had finally found my tribe. At once I felt at home, empowered and confident as I made beautiful music with talented young people and connected with them through friendship, cultural experiences, and conversations that I will never forget. It was a relief to find friends who also felt like outsiders in their hometown schools and who understood why I would shed tears upon listening to any piece of music conducted by Leonard Bernstein. I felt strong again, like I really mattered and had something special inside of me. This miracle enabled me to connect with my true spirit. Art saves.

On April 13, 1996, my life changed. I practically walked away from a car accident that, according to the laws of physics, would have killed me. It was not my time to go; I was meant to be here. I felt incredibly loved on that day — wrapped in the protective arms of spirits that kept my body from being crushed. I would not trade the experience for anything. During my healing a seed began to bloom, and it has been flourishing ever since. I began to explore the visually artistic side of me by doing charcoal sketches of objects around me. My explorations evolved into painting furniture I found on curbsides of my Boston neighborhood and creating abstract paintings. In my early thirties I dove into making mixed-media collage and altered art. Today, in my late thirties, I am focusing on digital photography and digital art. Art saves.

I suffered five miscarriages before having my firstborn. It was a dark time in my life and I only felt safe, happy, and “normal” whilst painting — making art was my escape and provided a safe haven in which to work out my problems and difficult emotions. I learned that I could hold both joy and pain at the same time. Art saves.

Susan Tuttle is a photographer, mixed-media, and digital artist who resides in Maine. She has published two books: Exhibition 36: Mixed-Media Demonstrations + Explorations (North Light Books, December 2008), and her most recent, Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe® Photoshop® Elements, a technique-based publication on digital art (North Light Books, available May 2010). Susan is a frequent contributor to Stampington & Company publications and other mixed-media art books. You can visit her site at and her blog at through which she is offering online digital art workshops.


Thanks for sharing your is no surprise that art saves, but the individual stories amaze me time and time again.

Susan I am so happy you survived and blessed with children. You were given a second chance and you have given back. I,also hope to accomplish the giving back part! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story; So, glad you found a way to bloom!

susan . you have so much to share thank you for your story . elk

Hello dear Inspierer! I am so lucky to have gotten to "meet you". You are so close to life and I want to learn from you!


Hiya, Susan.
You are such an inspiration!
Colette xo

You are such an inspiration to me. i adore your art~ it's free and has such a vivid spirit~ just like you!

Thank you for sharing your story.
I'm so sorry for your losses.

Thank you for sharing your experiences and how art has been a healer for you. God bless you.


you are simply

r a d i a n t

art does indeed save and heal, nourish and encourage and
ignite the world

it fills us up and spills over to everyone else which
is the best part

I am so grateful you are here .....marching ahead with your
paintbrush finding beauty in the everyday

thank you for sharing. thank you as always for your wonderful images which speak to my heart as well.

You have such an inspiring and wonderful soul Susan. Your story resonates with me in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.

You are such a beautiful person, Susan. Thank you for sharing these three personal experiences with us.

You are such a grand storyteller, Lovely Susan ! Art does save lives, just as our loving connection with others does.
Thank you for connecting with us all this way !

Thank you for reaching out with your comments, sharing this experience on Crescendoh with me -- I have loved reading every one of them -- they make me feel very connected to some warm, wonderful people in the blogosphere.

Susan, thank you for sharing your story with us. After writing my own for next week, I can only imagine the feelings it dredged up as you recalled it for us. I'm so happy that you are out there creating things that inspire me to continue learning and growing as an artist! You are doing amazing things with the gifts and chances you have been given :)

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