Susan Cook

When asked to describe myself as an artist, I will typically say that I am an oil painter.  Oil paint is a timeless, often frustrating, but flexible and sensuous medium. Its saving grace is allowing infinite, subtle color variations which have become a key element in my paintings.  They begin with a chaotic underpainting of bright, high-contrasting hues.  The initial image is quickly drawn and then goes through many stages and transformations with the addition of new and unexpected color variations in my signature brushwork.  In order to minimize detail and maximize freshness, I work on several large-scale canvasses simultaneously.

Along the way, every painting has taught me something.  Technically speaking, it has given me the opportunity to advance as an artist, experimenting with the rhythms and meaning of figuration, shape and color.  Inwardly speaking, I continually return to the challenge and reward of painting the human figure, particularly the face.  These paintings are an invitation to search for shared, universal human aspects and to find something of ourselves.

In my studio, I will often return to charcoal or pastel drawing.  The act of drawing is the lure.  It brings the subject closer to me, requiring a finer motion, yielding more intimate detail.  

I have always been an observer, inspired by the infinite shapes of light reflected off figures and the natural world around me.

My first official steps into the study of art were in drawing.  It was something I needed to learn, and it made me confident in my draftsmanship as it would apply not only to drawing but also to painting.  It is the foundation of all my work and allows me to express my appreciation of traditional and modern art in my artwork.