About Susan Abell
Visual art has long been an integral part of Susan’s life. Though she considers herself primarily a self-taught artist, she has pursued a passion for the arts throughout her life and visual arts in particular. From earliest childhood, this creative pursuit often involved creating, drawing, painting, and most any activity with her hands. Similarly, being outdoors in nature was a favorite childhood past time. Flash forward to the present and it is seems only natural that a love of art and a love of nature are fused into her development as an artist.
Susan always imagined becoming an artist and often readily accepted any creative art opportunity presented from making posters, painting backdrops for plays, and painting murals. However, it was trips taken as a teen that helped to solidify her artistic passion. Whether it was visiting The National Gallery in Washington D.C., the High Museum in Atlanta, or museums throughout Europe that Susan found a connection with many of the art masters. Recalling those early museum experiences, she was inspired by the French Impressionists, and especially Claude Monet. Learning how he painted the same commonplace subject at different times of day seemed to really resonate with her. American artists also provided inspiration with their interpretations of the natural world, including such well-known artists as Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and Georgia O’Keefe.
Later in college, Susan opted to focus on early childhood education, knowing she could apply her creative abilities in the classroom and foster creativity in her students. During employment with one particular school system in which art education was paramount, she completed a disciplined-based arts education certification program for the visual arts. The summer institute, sponsored by the Getty Center of California, was designed to provide teachers direction for incorporating art education into regular classroom instruction. In the years that followed, she often adapted lessons in a variety subjects to include art history and criticism. It was always exciting to see enthusiasm and curiosity for art such practices generated, especially when a creative project followed.
After retiring from an elementary teaching career teaching in 2014, Susan began to pursue art as a second career. During this time, what had formerly been a weekend and summer painting hobby became a full time pursuit. It wasn’t hard for Susan to find the inspiration for her paintings. It really only took daily walks throughout her neighborhood to find the impetus. Having long been captivated by the sky early in the morning, as well as observing how the light glows at the end of a day, she soon realized inspiration was literally everywhere. In a spiritual sense, these vistas became true gifts from God as she viewed it, providing the motivation for other painting subjects near and far. From those billowy clouds floating above a nearby pasture to the water tumbling over rocks in a local park, every painting came to reflect the varied topography of Georgia. Susan soon found this variety most captivating, and now endeavors to capture the natural beauty of her native state in her paintings. Seizing the observed light and color of various settings into a painting is a limitless quest for her. To that end, she utilizes acrylics and watercolors to apply a variety of techniques in creating her nature-inspired, impressionist paintings.
Some of her favorite places to visit in Georgia have become favorite painting subjects, ranging from the coast of Georgia to the mountains in North Georgia, as well as the Piedmont region of Georgia where she resides.
From the Appalachian foothills to the coast, Georgia’s terrain affords limitless material for future paintings while she endeavors to capture the beauty of the natural world.
Susan resides in Athens, Georgia in the midst of a vibrant art community.
Affliations:Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation, Watkinsville, Georgia
Visual Arts Guild of Athens, Lyndon House Arts Center, Athens, Georgia
Education: B.S & Master's Degrees in Education
Painting is my way of connecting to my surroundings in a spiritual sense, while conveying that visual impression to others. As a result, I seek to connect with viewers by drawing them into a particular setting. Each artwork reflects an experience and recalls a story as the beauty of nature in its varied forms provides limitless opportunity for inspiration.
I am most fascinated with the variation in light and color found in the natural world, and as a result, as I choose to paint landscapes, botanical art, and animals. All paintings begin as photographs and sketches, are often based on daily walks and experiences. Nature teaches us to be patient and to appreciate the here and now.
For me, creating artwork in water-based media affords the ability to implore a variety of techniques, while presenting the subjects favorably. Acrylics are vibrant and quick-drying, while watercolors are useful for achieving impressionistic results. Most importantly, the selection of the type of materials and technique are all considerations when creating a compelling work. Experimenting with a variety of media and styles is one way I endeavor to create paintings that will resonate with the viewer and capture nature's light.
My artwork could be described as any of the following: contemporary art, landscape art,landscape paintings, impressionism,impressionist art, nature-inspired, fine art, acrylic painting,oil painting, watercolor, original art, Georgia art, and certainly Southern art.
Finding Inspiration In the Studio: A Peek Behind the Scenes
Hanging Paintings in Display Spaces