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Why I Paint

Nothing outshines the act of painting.  There is a duality to the work that holds my interest.  Creating is never a constant; it frustrates and it surprises.  Skills wax and wane.  Favored colors come and go.  And, painting's time-warp effect never ceases to amaze me--hours tick away like minutes.  If the end result of this experience is a canvas that seems pleasing, well, that's icing on a cake.

 

When I paint, if I see a glimpse on my canvas that reinforces or reminds me of something I’ve observed, the painting is a confirmation.  Observations are stowed away in my mind, jostling around, and when I see them concretely appearing on the canvas in front of me. . . it’s a grand feeling— that visual memory is now tangible and I can forget it.  Painting clears my mind; it tidies up my brain.

How I Paint

In The Art Spirit, Robert Henri encourages students to "paint like a man going over the top of a hill, singing."  That freedom underpins my work and allows me, with luck, to develop the mood of a piece.  Mood guides my palette.  Brush strokes are important, and removing paint is often just as essential.  I use brushes, palette knives, old socks; I am not neat and rarely have a plan.     

 

And I love the actual work of painting, the different brush shapes, the variety of supports, scraping paint off, applying paint directly from the tube with no brush at all, the smell of the paint, and the glimpse here and there.   

There are times I want to throw wet canvases in the dumpster, but then I get a pleasant one (or portion of one) and think it’s worth it.

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About the Artist

During my senior year at Notre Dame, I had a free elective and took my first studio art class.  That class introduced me to the other side of my brain.  Over the years, I've concentrated on oil painting, studying at The School of the Art Institute, The Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts, and The University of Chicago. 

 

My work has been exhibited at the Schoenherr Gallery (Naperville, IL), Hammer Fine Art (LaGrange, IL), Old Sculpin Gallery (Edgartown, MA), The National University of Health Sciences, and The Elmhurst Art Museum.  My painting, Leaving the Borghese is the cover art for Daniel Burns’ novel, Recalled to Life.

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Purchase and other inquiries - susanjanssen.art@gmail.com

© 2020  Susan Janssen

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