Susan Day Paints with Passion
ArborBrook is excited to share the artwork of Susan Day, pastel artist. When we opened our tasting room, one of our ideas was to feature the pieces of local artists and have the artwork be somewhat focused on the wine industry. The purity of color in Susan's pastels is breathtaking and we are thrilled to be displaying some of her pieces. We hope you enjoy them as well!
Susan Day Paints with Passion and Pastels
Susan Day is one of the lucky ones. Whereas many of us struggle with "What do I want to be when I grow up?" for Susan there was never a doubt. Painting was everything, period.
Private lessons began in eighth grade in Westboro, Mass. After high school Susan attended Vesper George School of Art for three years, but spent summers in Provincetown, Mass, with perhaps her greatest influence, Henry Hensche. Susan's love of painting began with Monet, and Hensche could trace a direct lineage to the master.
Hensche came to Provincetown for the light, and light, as Susan learned, is what painting is all about. Under Hensche's tutelage she worked outdoors. She would stack a few wooden blocks, then watch how the light played across them and how the shadows had different qualities: "cast shadows" versus the subtler "form shadows".
Those were summers of intense enjoyment and learning, but an artist has to eat, too. For a time she worked at UPS, later traveling south to New Orleans, where she made her living doing portraits in pastels at Jackson Square.
When a friend told her about the craft market in Portland, Susan came west, quickly establishing herself as a market fixture. She became known as the "slate lady," painting house numbers, names, even portraits on the chunks of stone. It was a lucrative endeavor, but "I was dying creatively," Susan said.
To challenge herself, she switched to painting furniture ~ for example, painting a family's history in a ladder-back chair. It was fold or peasant art, whimsical. Problem was, people too often would admire the work and then ask her to return to slate painting.
Relief came when she saw an exhibit of pastel artist Judith Cunningham and believed it was "fearless" but that she could do it as well. A dozen years later, Susan is a well-known and respected pastel artist in her own right.
(The above borrowed from Arts Alliance of Yamhill County's Summer 2010 Newsletter, written by Steve Long).