In Susan Abbott's view, one thing all artists have in common is a love of "just making things." She grew up in a family that encouraged her early interest in both art and crafts and she dropped out of high school in her hurry to get to art school. Although she never took watercolor classes, she began concentrating on transparent watercolor early in her career, attracted to its vibrant color and spontaneity. During the 1980s and 90s, she focused on large-scale, complex works combining still life, landscape, decorative patterns, and graphic elements into unique compositions that joined intense realism with abstract design.
Susan also uses watercolor in plein air landscape painting. In her words, "Rather than constructing a still life over a span of weeks, a plein air landscape requires immediate decisions, emotion, gesture, and being 'in the moment' with a medium. I love this. In many ways, I find working quickly outdoors more challenging than building a painting slowly in the studio." Although she paints watercolor landscapes on her frequent travels to teach workshops, she is currently doing studio work in oils on a series of multi-panel still lifes and landscapes and finds that her long use of transparent watercolor has changed her approach to oils.
Susan graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA and MFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art and has worked as a professional artist since then -- exhibiting in galleries and museums around the country. She has taught watercolor classes at MICA as well as teaching workshops in Europe, India, and the U.S. Her work has been featured in Watercolor Artist (cover story, October 2009) and The Artist's Magazine (January 2010) in addition to many other publications including The Washington Post, American Artist, International Artist, and Watercolor Magazine; she has also been featured on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show. She has been the recipient of grants from the Vermont and Maryland Arts Councils and of numerous private and public painting commissions, and her work is represented in numerous corporate and individual collections.
Please go to Susan's website for more information on her paintings, workshops, and two popular blogs.