Ambassador of the Week: Suzanne Accetta

"The Offering"

Meet Suzanne Accetta, this week’s top American Watercolor Weekly Ambassador!

Suzanne Accetta has been drawing and painting for over forty years. Her award winning paintings are exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally. Her work has been seen in public, private and corporate collections as well as juried exhibitions. Suzanne has illustrated children’s books for Seedlings Publications. She was featured in Columbus Monthly, American Artist Magazine, Watercolorpainting.Com and in The Book The Complete Colored Pencil Book. Calvin J. Goodman Wrote In The July, 1989 Issue Of American Artist Magazine, “Accetta tries to employ some narrative elements in every painting. She is a keen student of faces and human anatomy. As a result, her work shows great empathy for her subjects.” Suzanne is a busy lecturer, demonstrator, juror, and teacher. She teaches drawing and painting at Otterbein University in the Department of Theatre and Dance as well as watercolor at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center.

Accetta has also gained a reputation as a theatrical set designer and director. She finds the principles in visual art easily apply to the theatre venue. She designed her first professional and critically acclaimed set for Columbus Children’s Theatre’s production of The Secret Garden and made her professional directing debut with the musical Snoopy. Other directing and designing credits include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sound of Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Peter Pan, Charlotte’s Web, Once Upon a Mattress, Pinkalicious, and Flat Stanley. Suzanne was the director and the originator of The Kente Project, a unique collaborative program of West African folk tales interpreted through dance, drama, word and song.

My story started six years ago when I was working on paintings about performers. I picked up a small post card with a photograph of a group of dancers. I was drawn to the colors of their costumes and the movement of the dance. I found their web site and discovered they were a local organization called Thiossane West African Dance Institute. I e-mailed the artistic director, Suzan Bradford Kounta and requested to come to a dress rehearsal to sketch and take some photos of her dancers. Even though she know nothing about me, she graciously agreed.

“Mirror to Thee”

Eight years and seventy plus paintings later, I have been embraced by the Thiossane family. I have learned about West Africa, their dances and drumming. I have experienced the classes taught by masters brought in from around the world. I have witnessed the passion and joy on the faces of their dancers and drummers. I have painted during these classes, my drawing board vibrating from the rhythms of the drums. I have learned about their commitment to excellence, respect and education.

It is also important to know I direct and design for theatre. I am keenly aware of the intricacies and nuances on the stage. I see how theatrical lighting creates a painting and a feeling. I have studied how the performer uses the space of the stage and creates a harmony with the others.

I feel this series of paintings, including Mirror to Thee and The Offering, have been the most passionate and successful of my career. Every artist needs to find something inspiring. Thiossane inspires me.

“Dr. Mac”

Although Dr. Mac is not a part of my Thiossane series it is a continuation of painting performers. This is a painting of Dr. Mac Arnold a blues musician. You can hear his music in the opening music of the old TV show Sanford and Son. Mac also played with Muddy Waters, BB King and James Brown. I met him while visiting my daughter in Greenville, South Carolina. We have become friends and I have done a number of paintings of him. Along with being a fabulous musician, he is a character with a wonderful sense of humor. He also lives and works on an organic farm outside of Greenville.

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


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