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Blue Line (my first painting)
Acrylic on canvas, 2011
Susan and I have been very close ever since we first met right after I married Mark. She always loved coming to visit my “Art House”, and visited it often, because it was so very different from what she had in her life in rainy Seattle. We have always shared sense of humor that is absolutely unbeatable, and a bond that has me always calling her “my sister,” rather than my sister-in-law. I had no idea at the time - nor did she - that she was secretly absorbing al of these different colors I surrounded myself with, and the joy of them kept percolating into the back of her brain.
For years she was only into her rowing world, something I really couldn’t relate to, since my life was so very different than hers. But when she moved from Seattle to Portland and needed to back out of that life for a bit, I came up for a visit, and she said, “I think I want to learn how to paint like you do.” So off we went to buy ‘beginner’ brushes and paints and canvasses.
Now here’s your REAL Scoop!
To this day I absolutely CANNOT BELIEVE the Pandora’s box that opened with silly little ME thinking I kind of knew a lot about painting, after (at that time) a mere 15 years in the biz, trying to teach her how to use acrylics to paint a bowl of fruit so it would look “Real”.
After she had shaded a pear and a couple of apples very successfully (albeit adding in a couple of colors I wouldn’t have used), she then went down into her basement and came out with a half-dozen life-sized charcoal sketches of perfectly drawn human forms in various positions. I was GOB-SMACKED. “I guess I forgot to tell you I took a few drawing classes in college ...” she said. WHAT???
Susan CONSTANTLY blows me away with this very humble and secret side of her many, many talents, and I just so LOVE HER for doing that!
Susan throws herself 1000 percent into absolutely everything she does, and once she got excited about this, her paintings just went from 0 to infinity and BEYOND, right off the bat. I was completely left in her dust as she easily mastered acrylics and watercolors, then launched into decoupage, collages, encaustic, pen and ink, oils, wood blocks, and combinations of all of the above.
She is absolutely fearless as an artist, which is a very rare thing, and what all of us who love the visual arts aspire to. She has a very loose and unmatchable, yet extremely recognizable and relatable way of creating her art that draws the viewer right into the work, no matter what the subject is - and sometimes it can be the very simplest of things: three lamp posts in the proper light. The viewer always recognizes what the subject is, even in one of her busiest creations: there is either A LOT, or seemingly ‘not that much’, going on there, and you might not get this immediately, but that’s pure Susan. She trusts the viewer: “You will get this later - just keep looking”, which I think is the penultimate joy of all her work.
And she is constantly evolving as an artist - continually challenging herself to try new things the rest of the art world would faint at the mere mention of. AND she teaches and encourages children to express themselves through art, which is SUCH an essential thing in ALL our lives that has been almost completely forgotten. Art helps us all cope with our feelings we can’t other wise express. Art brings us JOY. And Susan is constantly perpetuating that. THAT is what makes a TRULY great artist, in my humble opinion.
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