Susie grew up near Lake Michigan in northern Illinois, exploring the beaches and ravines near her home. Her love of nature has informed her work, serving as both inspiration and ideation as she has developed from photographer to sketch artist to painter.
Susie’s art training started in earnest in high school. Encouraged by the joy she found in turning natural beauty into something tangible, Susie experimented with a variety of mediums. And while she is primarily a visual artist, her passion for artistic expression included dance, creating shapes and interpreting emotions through movement. She went on to study dance and fashion design at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, continuing her art studies over the years through workshops and local art programs.
After moving to Evergreen, Colorado in 2014, Susie began to paint full-time. Living in Colorado had been her dream ever since her first visit to the mountains on a childhood trip to Estes Park. Susie knew that her home – and her art – were meant to be out West.
Susie continues to draw inspiration from interesting or unusual sights discovered when out in nature, from expansive mountain vistas to small discoveries that are often overlooked.
See more of Susie’s work on her website here.
Meet Susie Drucker
1. Tell us a little about your work and artistic practice?
I have worked in dozens of art forms and mediums but, once I discovered oils, I was hooked. It’s a versatile and difficult medium but the rewards are big when it all comes together. I started painting in oils 6 years ago and have committed nearly every day since to practice and study. My latest discovery was cold wax medium. I took a class at CAE last year and have been incorporating the medium into some of my paintings plus experimenting with abstracts.
2. How has your creative process been impacted or evolved during the pandemic?
I have a tendency to work fast. Eliminating so many outside distractions gave me the opportunity to slow down. There was time to go on more hikes and soak up my surroundings. I look down a lot when I hike so I started to uncover fascinating “gems” hidden beneath the broader landscape. I’ve been painting more pieces of the landscape to highlight these discoveries. All of that detail work takes a lot of time.
3. Where do you find inspiration?
I’m a naturally curious person, always looking at my surroundings and wondering about what I see. If I drive past a rock formation, I wonder about the striations and how it was formed. Or how a tree casts beautiful shadows; how the shadow is distorted by the objects it passes over or how the color changes across the snow. Or the incredible cloud formations over the mountains. There is always a new way to experience life and I never stop looking.
4. Do you have a favorite piece of art that someone else has created?
I have a Michelle Chrisman painting of the Gorge in Taos. It has rich, bold colors and thick impasto. There’s so much joy in that piece. For artwork I wish I owned, T Allen Lawson’s “Burr Canyon Cinema” is a personal favorite. There’s subtlety in the shadows and overall design, and a real sense of the scale of the mountain.
5. Tell us about one of YOUR pieces that you have been the most proud of?
We were visiting our daughter and her family in the Midwest, in late October. It was unseasonably warm so we decided to take a late afternoon walk along the river near their home. The trees had lost their leaves – that’s when the subtle color changes in the shrubs and grasses really stand out. I took a photo, and the memory of a beautiful afternoon with people I love, and painted River Walk. That painting epitomizes what makes artwork so special to me; creating a permanent image filled with the emotion and feelings of a moment in time.
6. Who are your biggest influences?
Growing up near Chicago gave me the opportunity to visit the Art Institute many times over the years and I especially loved the impressionists. I also lived near Ravinia Park, an outdoor music venue that featured everything from rock-and-roll to the symphony to the ballet. I was surrounded by and immersed in the arts.
For artists who have influenced me: I always admired Monet’s use of color to show light and form. I appreciate Van Gogh’s gutsy interpretations of nature. I’m also drawn to Russian artists, like Isaak Levitan and Ivan Shishkin, who painted beautifully emotional snowy landscapes. Current artists, like T Allen Lawson, Tibor Nagy, and Carlos San Millan are some of my favorites. They have a way of pulling beauty out of the simplest of objects or views. That, to me, is a real gift and my goal to achieve as an artist.
See Susie's Work
Theatre To Rent
24 x 16
oil on linen
16 x 20
oil on linen
Field of Sunshine
16 x 22
oil on linen
14 x 20
oil on linen