How did you get started and then develop your career?
Susie Burch: I have loved painting and working with my hands for as long as I can remember; however, my family thought it would be best for me to pursue a career in Business Education. I taught high school for a few years prior to working in the business world, until becoming a homemaker and mother later in life. Although I was an “Executive Wife” for many years, I was never idle. My love of gardening and the joy of growing beautiful flowers and delicious food, being a perpetual volunteer in the community, traveling with my husband, raising our family, and always learning about painting in watercolor, oil, and other mediums, kept me engaged in the world of art. I know through experience, you can learn to do anything if you are willing to invest the energy, because time passes anyway.
I have had the honor of studying watercolor painting with Jill Saur and attending multiple workshops with watercolorists, Tony Couch, Jane Angelhart, and internationally known watercolor artist, the late Charles Reid. Along the way, I enjoyed nine years honing the skill of oil painting in the style of the old masters with Atlanta artist, Chris di Domizio. Each of these well-known artists has shared their special secrets with me, which I incorporate into my own style of painting.
Today, I have a studio in Athens, Georgia, where I spend many hours painting from my field studies created en plein air, or from my photo collection gathered while traveling. My work can be seen in exhibitions locally and nationally, and I show my work in house by appointment or by chance.
How do you describe success?
As an artist, and as in any career, success can be described in different ways. Some would say you’ve reached success when you are financially secure, others say when you’ve been accepted into so many exhibitions or professional organizations, and still others by being a recognized personality among the general population. I feel being a success in anything is when you, alone, are satisfied with the quality of work you are doing and if the work makes your spirit soar. Often, it takes a while for other people to recognize success in an individual; however, if you feel enriched by what you are doing, you are successful regardless of what anyone else thinks.
How do you find inspiration?
“Painting Life’s Simple Pleasures” is the focus of my paintings. When I make art, my soul sings. Through my work, I share with others the joy I find in the simplicity of a flower, the quiet of a long country road, the nostalgia of an old bicycle left behind, as well as the appreciation I have of people working, or playing, or taking care of everyday tasks. Life is what we do, and that is what I wish to capture and preserve.
What is the best thing about being an artist?
An artist has developed a keen insight into the relationship of light vs. dark, and color, or lack thereof, when looking at the world, and has honed the skills necessary to interpret what is seen into an emotional connection between the artist and the viewer. This skill is as if the artist is creating magic, which is, in reality, quite true.
Who do you collect?
Because of limited space in which to hang my collection, it is comprised of local artists from around Athens and Atlanta, Georgia. Nevertheless, I have a vast collection of art books written by notable artists from all over the world from which to draw inspiration.
To see more of Susie’s work, visit: www.susieburch.com