Photo Credit: Austin Stone
Artist Susan Stone grew up on the East Coast. Fond memories of her dad teaching her to stretch her own canvas, and insisted she do so if she wanted to paint and her mother’s love of museums nurtured her love for art very early on.
The Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island and the Florida Coast contributed greatly to her growth and sensibility as an Artist, learning much about the emotional process of creating. “There wasn’t ever a time in my life that I didn’t know I was an Artist, there were just too many times I got in my own way. It wasn’t until I had a family that I wanted to be true to who I was so they would in fact grow up doing the same.” Taking the long way to family vacation destinations in the summer, made for great exploration all over Talbot County: St. Michaels, and the harbor, Tighlman Island, Easton, and the Maritime Museum, Chincoteague and Assagteague Islands. “Finding old boats in waterways, searching for lighthouses and oh the colors of those sunrises still inspire my work to this day.”
Moving West to the striking California Coast of her present San Diego home, frequent visits to Arizona and New Mexico, heavily influence and greatly contribute to the beautiful, lyrical color in Stone’s work. “To be fortunate enough to have lived on both coasts and travelled the countryside to get here has definitely changed me and there is a maturity in my work that I welcome, I no longer paint what I think people want me to paint. I never understood that whole “”I let the work flow through me kind of thing”” painting, art in general and teaching has always been a spiritual thing for me and I have always felt blessed, but now I get it. I still paint portraits and love a great challenge of still life with reflective surface, but I have definitely found my own voice.” Stone’s paintings are defined by color, allowing the viewer to interpret subject matter.
There is no doubt Stone is inspired by color. She is constantly experimenting with various techniques, mixed mediums and color palettes. Pushing the boundaries as she explores the possibilities of how colors interact with each other, next to each other, light washes, bold color using pure pigment on raw canvas, pouring, scraping, dripping. The process is constantly evolving in hopes of depicting the colors of the incredible land and seascapes she loves so much, and the beautiful places she visits often, always exploring. “I love color and what I can do with it. I love mixing color up in buckets and pouring it out all over the place on my larger pieces. Getting on a ladder at different heights and pouring out the paint, I means it’s just FUN! I love color theory, simultaneous contrast often has me experimenting with color combinations some successful some not. I love to experiment with compliments, shades, tones and values. In a teaching environment, kids and adults always reach for the black to make a color darker experimenting with each color’s compliment gives students the confidence to push themselves creatively.”
Sharing that passion as an art educator, leading many art projects in many communities have all played very important roles in Stone’s continued growth, as well as an even stronger confidence traveling her own path. I can remember as a kid climbing up a ladder to get to the apartment rooftop to watch the sunrise and set even distant storms, but to be this close to the Pacific Ocean AND the desert is such a gift. When working Stone sets out early to capture the colors of the coast. From sunrise to sunset on the beaches long drives in the desert and long hikes on the outskirts of New Mexico, Stone is inspired in search of unfettered sky, land and water free from inhibition. All this reflected in her work: vast horizons symbolic of infinite possibilities, defined by color … boundless – color to evoke a memory and emotion, hopefully joyful with a deep awareness of how beautiful the land, sea and sky are no matter where we are.