SUSAN N. STEWART is a visual artist with works in corporate and private collections in New York, Tokyo, Paris, London, Melbourne, Toronto, Montreal, Germany and Bermuda.
Susan can be rather non-plussing as she stares at you. She is usually enthralled with a shadow on your cheek or brow. Best to get used to it. Jane Siberry
How I came to Portraiture
I spent several years at an artist’s residence where I worked with many great artists. The American artist Suzanna Coffey had a big influence on me. She paints nothing but self-portraits. Portraits were the antithesis of what I was doing. It required looking closely at the ‘outer’ instead of the ‘inner’ where I spent a lot of curious time. I tried it. It was incredibly difficult.
But I was hooked. Over and over again I tried. I was fascinated by how the same face turned out different every time. After hundreds of self-portraits I started painting other people. First I was drawn to the radiance of the skin of the two year olds. Then I explored the sculpted face of my father and his friends. It has been a wonderful journey since then and my wonder at the beauty of our humanity as expressed by the body and the light upon it deepens daily.
Why Does Colour Make The Heart Beat Faster?
How can a beautiful line or shape take the breath away? Are not these experiences some of the most delicious parts of our existence? Why are we humans moved by such things? Does the right combination of forms and colours mirror our inner world, resonating with that deeper part of our being that gives us a sense of awe?
An Answer. “The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe”
The Bag Lady (Lily Tomlin) in Jane Wagner’s play “The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” explained to the aliens: “Intelligence is just the tip of the iceberg. The more you know, the less knowing the meaning of things means.” Then she:
“stopped to look at the stars. And as usual, I felt in awe. And then I felt even deeper in awe at this capacity we have to be in awe about something.”
“I decided I would set time aside every day to do awe-robics. Because at the moment you are most in awe of all there is about life that you don’t understand, you are closer to understanding it all than at any other time.”
Poetry in Paint
Whether it is a face or a landscape, what is important to me is the poetry in the paint. One ‘Madonna and Child’ painting might be a masterpiece and another just dead paint. Why? Why is one person’s brushstroke different from another’s? I ponder these things as I work and wait for the magic to happen. It comes in the most surprising ways.