One of my most asked questions is, “Why no faces?” My answer. I realized it was not necessary…my dancers are about the motion, the emotion and the colors and patterns of dance. The added benefit is that by having faceless people it allows the viewer to see themselves in the painting.
Another question is. Why dance?” I have learned that my best paintings come from the heart. NO, I am not a dancer, but give me good music, a large canvas and paint…guaranteed… dancers will appear. I often begin my painting by pouring colors on the canvas, layering them until I begin seeing the forms of the dancers. Then I will draw to define the images, add color with a brush, perhaps pour again then define with brush, palette knife or fingers. It is a constant work of balance.
Recently I took a break from the Dance series. It was harvest season. The lush vegetables were everywhere. The first painting I did of my Veggie series was a 4’x5’ of five onions. Then I painted another 4x4 that I titled The Elegant Eggplants. Since then tomatoes, peppers, blueberries, raspberries, garlic have all been welcome subjects.
Now I am focused on a Delectable Desserts series. I love to bake, but do so little as my husband and I just do not NEED to consume so much. I miss it. If I couldn’t bake I might as well paint the goodies and breads that I so enjoy!
As I am painting this series I am struck with the memories of these foods: the smell of my grandmother’s kitchen as she would pull a pie form the oven. The feasts we would have on the screened porch at our camp in Vermont. The homemade bread my grandmother taught me to make using her hand crank bread maker that I later used with my children. The baking I did at our homestead where we were determined to be self sufficient, growing and processing most our own foods.
Now as I continue building the Dance, Veggie, and Delectable Dessert series the ideas continue. I am now working on a Twirly Skirt series of children playing games such as hopscotch, jump rope, giant steps always including a child wearing a twirly skirt). These are painted in a more painterly fashion than most of my work. They are not yet complete so am eager to see how they will finish. I do believe it is often out of my control. I often begin with an idea and have learned I must give into the process.
I am constantly struck with how fortunate I am to be a painter. To be able to experience the joy and challenges of painting these images as well as experiencing the nostalgic memories of my past. These memories are combined with a concern of loss of the simple pleasures of life. I am hoping that my paintings will remind people of a time past. My pleasure continues as I see the responses to my work.
Susan worked as an elementary art teacher for 15 years seeing close to 500 children a week. Her love of bright colors she attributes to her exposure to the delightful creations of the children. Ten years ago she opened High Street Studio & Gallery in Belfast, Maine where she shows her work along with other guest artists.
Teaching is a passion that she continues by teaching workshops and classes in acrylics and watercolors.
In October of 2013 she was one of 18 working artist/ educators from around the country accepted into an intensive workshop taught by Patti Brady director of Golden Artist Colors’ Working Artist Program and author of “Rethinking Acrylics” for certification into Golden’s Artist Educator Program.
She enjoys the challenges of commissions often painting children at play, beach scenes and couples dancing.
Her work is in private collections throughout the states and abroad.
Susan received her BA in Art Education at Southern Connecticut State College. She and her husband moved to Maine from Northeastern Connecticut in 1975. They purchased 40 acres of land, built their own home and raised all their food. (even to the point of grinding flour and making butter). They lived in that home for 12 years where they raised their 3 children. When education and proximity to schools became more of a concern they moved to Belfast, a small community in midcoast Maine where she has been very active in promoting the arts.