Artist Info

Why I Paint

Water, boats, fish, birds, rocks, mountains…these are the subjects that surround my life and invest my art. Working in soft pastel and acrylic, the joy of color and the intensity of unique perspective and composition form the basis of my paintings.

Susan at Tumalo Art Co. in Bend, Oregon during the First Friday Gallery walk opening of her June 2015 show.
Susan at Tumalo Art Co. in Bend, Oregon during the First Friday Gallery walk opening of her June 2015 show.

Almost 25 years ago painting became my creative outlet from a demanding career as an art director and mother of two toddlers. It was clear to me that if I didn’t begin my own path of expression soon, I would never begin. I chose soft pastels as my medium because they were quick to get out and put away. This choice, based on practicality, proved to be a good creative choice as well. The vibrancy, adaptability, and immediacy found in soft pastels fit perfectly my desire to work quickly and intuitively and to throw color around for the joy of it. To make larger canvases that don’t require glass, I have also been perfecting my own technique of painting with acrylics.

In the last several years I have been painting native fish in their underwater world and birds in their environments in a sort of borderless landscape. Capturing the quicksilver flash of fish in the water or a heron in takeoff is part of understanding the mystery their world.

A native Oregonian and 30 year resident of Central Oregon, I love the diversity and drama found in the landscape surrounding me. I’ve been privileged to work in the creative field of graphic design all of my life, but being a working artist has always been my dream. From the years in advertising and publishing I bring a sense of composition and strong design that flavor all of my work. I also developed a love of the printed image and so started a card and print line. My line Homeland Images has produced 28 cards, four open edition prints and one limited edition print as well as many ongoing giclée editions. Original work has been included in many juried shows, both nationally and locally and is in private corporate collections.

My soft pastel paintings have been selected for the prestigious Pastel 100 and juried into shows by such iconic artist/jurors as Wolf Kahn. McCormick & Schmick Seafood Restaurants have included my “chic” fish in their restaurants nationwide, beginning with their Manhattan location. One of my paintings of fish was published in Gray’s Sporting Journal. My paintings are in private and corporate collections.

In the last 12 years another dream has been realized. I am a partner and working member of Tumalo Art Co., a fine art collective in the Old Mill District in Bend. The collective involves some of best artists in Central Oregon and together we support and inspire one another. We also get to meet and talk with people personally who love art, and that’s great fun!

Check out Susan on OPB’s Oregon Art Beat