“Be present, and stay present.”
For painter Susan Cary, the artistic flame was first stoked while attending Saint Catherine’s School. “I’m a maker. All my life I’ve been painting, and I’ve always had a studio.” Now running a child care center, Susan says she enjoys teaching early childhood education.
When school is out, Susan spends her time in the Virginia countryside, painting the pastoral scenes which she calls home. “Within each artwork you will not only see painting, but also drawing and printmaking.” Most of Susan’s paintings start on either gessoed canvas or wood, then she will make the paint and draw the subject with oil stick. “I have huge sketchbooks filled with notes that I’ll often thumb through to get my inspiration first, then I will get started.” Each painting takes about a month to complete, though Susan is often working on at least 5 at a time.
You might notice a common theme in Susan’s paintings – lively animals often take front stage nestled in a setting of lush farmland. “I’m going for peaceful yet full of energy. I want movement, calm, and happiness.” Susan often prefers to switch between figure drawings, and landscapes. “Being out in the country I am endlessly inspired by my surroundings. I love painting our animals, the cows, and chickens.” While animals are typically the focal point, Susan’s paintings often have symbolism in numbers. “Four is my magic number, and I grew up in a family of six, so you might see four cows or a group of six in a painting. I’m thinking of my family when I’m painting.”
For Susan, her family and the different landscapes of Virginia provide endless inspiration. “My children have always been my muses. I recently did a bunch of paintings from drawings, when my daughters and I went on a hike.” Most importantly, like her paintings suggest, is to stay present within your surroundings and see the joy in everything.