Featured artist Sue Dion often depicts flowers in her paintings, a motif inspired by her family’s lineage in the floral industry. Read our interview to learn more about her passion for painting and the important role it has played in her life.
When did art become a pursuit for you?
Although I always enjoyed sketching, the gift of painting came to me rather late in life. It arrived at a time when I needed it most and provided the strength and courage I needed to make necessary changes. I love that the pursuit of art is inexhaustible and all engrossing.
Are you self-taught or formally educated in visual art?
I am primarily a self-taught artist. When I began painting, I attended workshops and took a few classes at RISD. In 2010 I enrolled in an online Graphic Design degree program with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, which I continued for two years. During that program, I enjoyed classes in drawing and painting and gained an appreciation for digital art.
How did you first become involved with ArtsWorcester?
Funny story – I had recently begun painting large abstracts using acrylic paint, and was searching for “how to sell abstract paintings” online when the ArtsWorcester page came up. Unfamiliar with the organization, I asked a former student if she was aware of it and what she thought of the group. She said, “Nothing they do makes any sense to me at all.” Apparently, that was all the endorsement I needed. Pretty much everything they do makes sense to me!
What medium do you currently work in, and how did you choose this medium?
I teach classes in watercolor, acrylics, and oils. I have been painting with watercolor the longest, but lately I would say that 85% of my work is using acrylic. I have enjoyed creating paintings with more texture. I also like the freedom that the opacity of the medium affords me.
What is your creative process?
It took me a very long time to find my voice as an artist. Actually, I feel that I am still looking for it and probably always will be. I read an article recently that said one way to find your unique artistic voice is to stop looking at other people’s work. Unfortunately, looking at other people’s work is a huge part of my creative process. I find other artist’ work so inspiring, kind of like a springboard to my own thoughts and feelings. They provide the catalyst for my attempts at expressing myself with paints on a canvas.
How do you choose your subject matter? Are there themes that recur throughout your work?
In my artist bio I talk about my childhood. I was raised by a third generation wholesale florist and grew up working in the greenhouses alongside my siblings, parents, and grandparents. Flowers are a constant theme in my work. In my few rather unsuccessful attempts at flower arranging, I always found myself frustrated by the stem that turned the wrong way and the blossom that was too small, too large, or too pink. I love that with paint, I can order things more easily into the way I would like them to be.
What living artists are you inspired by?
I love the work of Barbara Flowers, Claire Bassler, and Nancy Franke. They tend to paint flowers and still lifes. Their work has the gestural, whimsical and painterly qualities that I strive to incorporate in my work. They also tend to incorporate the lost edges I am always looking for.
Do you own any art by other artists?
I sell a lot of my watercolor paintings through an online gallery called Daily Paintworks, and I have purchased many pieces of art from other artists on that site. My favorites were painted by Krista Eaton, Sarah Sedwick, and Vahe Yeremyan.
What other media or directions would you like to explore?
I would like to get a handle on pastels one of these days. I love the saturation of color and the effect of light that can be achieved in this medium.