Artist Susan Rossiter presents a colorful collection of abstract paintings with a retro palette and style. See more of her inspired portfolio on her website.
I thought that if you were a real artist you had to paint photorealistic representational paintings of families wearing matching shirts sitting fireside, or landscapes with a barn and some old farm equipment at sunset.
Can I paint people, places and things? Yes, but I don’t enjoy painting nouns. Copying a scene or photo doesn’t give me the endorphins that I get from a big colorful abstract painting. Believe me, I tried for many years to do what I thought I was supposed to do or what I thought others would like, and it’s a mistake.
You have to do what you love. Say it out loud: “You have to do what you love.”
When I am painting, it has all the components of an epic movie. There is excitement and curiosity followed by fear and disappointment, and eventually, elation and satisfaction. Yes, sometimes laughing, crying—the whole deal.
In the beginning, I start with much enthusiasm imagining how “this one” is going to go. There are twists and turns and sometimes I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m second guessing my intentions and fighting to stay on track.
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Almost always, I give in because these paintings suddenly get a mind of their own. Sometimes I get really mad, shake my finger and swear at the painting.
There’s always an ugly phase where I’m devastated and just ready to give up. I stare at it for a few days and carry it around the house with me to make decisions—looking at it in different light, different rooms, from different distances and so on.
Eventually, I get it. I know what to do and the excitement is back and I’m happily working away on the next steps. When I’m close to finishing is when those good brain chemicals really kick in and it’s all worth it.
My style can be described as “Mid-Century Modern meets Mixed Media.” I have a wonderful aunt who has been sending me treasures from her travels since I was born. Several years ago, I started researching some kitchen towels she sent and discovered textile designers Lucienne Day and Jacqueline Groag. From there it was a rabbit hole of discovery. I am enamored with the colors, shapes and patterns of the fifties through the seventies.
From a distance you see one thing but as you move closer more detail is revealed. Even closer and you start to see the hours of focus, tedious painting and assemblage of tiny cut papers or collage elements. The highest accolade would be if the viewer wanted to turn around and just fall backwards into a painting and make snow angels or just float in it.
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