"The goal of painting is to give the surface a life-force, not just the appearance of the thing." The quote by Wayne Thiebaud, my mentor from UC Davis, sums up my goals as an artist. From my Issaquah studio, I capture moments in and aorund the city whether landscapes, architecture, or people.
MEYLAH INTERVIEW, 2009
Susan E. Walker, pastel and oil painter November 4, 2009
1. As an artist, what is your inspiration?
My desire for each piece is to create beauty with a strong element of curiosity…and I am equally inspired by the ongoing, visible signs of my mastery of technique...finding ‘my mark’ over and over again.
My current body of work has been my exploration into Stillness and Pathways …places I go to listen, look, breathe, and basically not rush around. I am committed to being Still and finding Pathways as I unhinge from my former work as a frantic elementary school principal. It is a joyful experience! I am struck by my own new-found vitality as a human being. I had forgotten how motivating LEARNING is (kind of funny for a school principal to be saying this!).
2. What is your background?
I thrived studying drawing and painting under Wayne Thiebaud as a college student at UC Davis, and earned my B.A. in Studio Art. Have you seen his work? Breathtaking! Combines Beauty and Curiosity!
The scattered attempts to keep my art alive over the years were enjoyable, but not sustainable or truly satisfying. I worked in colored pencil for over ten years because there was no mess and it was easy to pick up the pencils when I had time. Time was limited because of the hours I devoted to being a principal.
Time is not a limit anymore. Onward to being a full-time artist!
3. Do you use any social media?
I have joined Facebook, but hardly ever check it, comment to/about others, or add to my page/wall. In other words: a dud. I hope that Meylah kick starts me into a more vital online presence. Very recently, I started a blog, but have not sent out a broadcast message to my family, friends, or clients yet. So, no one has seen it yet. I am reluctant to start because I know I will need to keep the blog updated often. http://www.susanwalkerstudio.com
4. How do you currently learn or improve your art work?
I made a commitment to myself to join a community of artists and find a great set of teachers. First step: University of Washington’s Certificate Program in the Fundamentals of Drawing & Painting. It was a year of study: seventeen students, unknown to each other initially, who became a learning ‘community', like the guilds of old. Strong instruction in the basic elements of art in the fabled Art Building on the UW campus, coupled with the collegial environment, gave us (students of all ages, professions, and ethnicities) a sense of confidence and excitement about our work as emerging artists.
I am currently enrolled in the UW’s Certificate Program titled “Figure & Portrait Painting”. I am joined by most of my colleagues, my ‘community of artists’, from Year One at the UW.
5. Do you currently teach art classes or have an interest to do so?
I do not currently teach, but would really love to…someday. Aligns nicely with my former skill set. Every school principal starts as a teacher.
6. How do you manage your art business on a daily basis?
I am self-disciplined and intrinsically motivated…good combination! I have gone back to a paper calendar; use one credit card for all art expenses; keep an envelope of every receipt for tax purposes; set aside ‘studio time’ for painting; set aside office time for correspondence and invoicing; and keep paper files of all aspects of the business. My weak area is marketing.
7. What challenges have you found while trying to share/sell your artwork online? What successes?
My website has only been up and running for a few months. I did not choose to have a PayPal system yet, but rather have people contact me if they are interested in more information (prices, commissions, etc.)
Just having a website gives me plenty of credibility. Now, I need to figure out how to do more with it….
Deep breath. Just begin…..