A Balanced Life: Interview with Susan Colwell
In a house full of green plants and neutral landscape paintings of her own and her artist contemporaries as well as the sound of water trickling from her pool waterfall, Susan Colwell’s home exudes feelings of natural stillness and quietude. However, upon greeting me at her door, I was not received by the pensive person I thought I was about to meet. Susan is energetic and full of life, stories and questions. She began painting early in her life and left her conservative family for college in the pre-hippy days where she and her fellow classmates posed nude for each other in attempts to master the challenging painting skill of foreshortening. From there, Susan traveled, married and had children and grandchildren. Leading an exciting and fast-paced life, the balance Susan aims to achieve with her slower more serene art began to make sense. With a cheese platter in between us and a glass of milk for herself, Susan and I talked about her home, life path and artistic inspiration.
Q: You have been an artist since you were a young girl. In what ways has your work evolved since your early days of painting?
A: Ever since I was a munchkin, I have loved color. Whether painting an abstract or a realistic rendering, for me it’s all about the color and mood and that has always been the case. You asked how my work has evolved….I have gone up and down, sideways, all over and hopefully, I will continue to do just that until they roll me off to the Home!
Q: You have lived in the midwest, south and in Europe. How have the different places you’ve lived and traveled to influenced your work?
A: Every place that I have lived influenced me but I suppose that living in Europe when I was an impressionable teenager had the most profound influence. The family lived in a little town outside of Zurich and every weekend we travelled….I was enthralled and completely in awe. It cemented my love of art.
Q: Your paintings evoke feelings of serenity and peace. Would you say these are some of your personality characteristics as well?
A: This question made me chuckle because no one, absolutely no one, would say that my personality traits included “serenity and peace”, although those are qualities I hope to achieve in my work. I’m all about the atmosphere, the subtle nuances of color…I am an intuitive painter.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not painting?
A: Read, anything on the water, travel, spending time with the most precious grandchildren!
Q: You are friendly with many local artists. How do your contemporaries influence your work? How do you influence them?
A: Every artist that I know is supportive, encouraging. I think artists are walking contradictions…on one hand there is a fragile sensitivity, perhaps even insecurity and then on the other hand there has to be a bit of narcisstic ego to feel we are “good enough” to put our work out for all to see. Artists “love” art, all periods of art, and I admire my contemporaries and I’d like to think they’d give me a nod in that same direction!
To see more of Susan’s work, visit us in the gallery or shop her works on our website.