Painter Sue Martin presents her story and her colorful portfolio. See more from this talented artist by visiting her website.
If I had to label my style, I’d call it “abstracted realism.” I try to “stamp” (literally and/or figuratively) every painting with my particular view or feeling of the world around me. Though I work in all media, I most enjoy working in acrylics, building up many layers and sometimes mixing other media, such as pencil, charcoal or watercolor crayon.
I also make my own stamp designs that I stamp into gesso or acrylic gel, or use with paint, as part of an underpainting. Even when I switch media (i.e., to watercolor or oils) I aim for the same look/feel in my work.
I always work in a series. Most recently, the series is about “The Bleak Midwinter.” The images are mostly inspired by photographs I took from the car window on a cross-country road trip in December 2012.
Most of my work is very colorful, so I find it challenging and exciting to try to capture the beautiful subtlety of the dormant winter landscape while also “pushing” the color a bit to evoke colors past and future in the landscape’s life cycle.
My series often are about memory and the things that trigger memory – a certain flower, a smell, a place, or a memento. I’m intrigued by memory because my father had dementia and struggled with remembering words, even his name.
But when shown a photograph or some sort of memento, he could often recall many details from the past. I wonder if/when my memory fails, if the painting of my memories and stories will somehow help preserve them for me.
Just as memories and stories are layered from generation to generation, I often create compositions using Photoshop to layer photographs in a way that creates a push-pull between present and past. Then I paint the image with layers of transparent, watery acrylic and drawing media, followed by layers of more opaque acrylic in some areas.
I hadn’t painted since high school when, in 1997, I decided to take an art class. My kids were almost grown. My career as a public relations pro was drawing to a close. And I was self-employed with some time to spare.
Then, after my mother died in 2007, I was struck by how short life is and decided it was time to get serious about my art. I joined an artist co-op gallery in Salt Lake City and began selling my work. Then, in 2009, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Art program at the University of Utah. Since I already had two degrees (B.A., and M.A., in Theatre), all the basic class credits transferred and I took just art classes, one or two at a time, until I finally received my B.F.A. degree in December 2012.
My goals are to: 1) Continue improving the quality of my work; 2) Develop 3-5 day workshops to offer in various parts of the country; 3) Find one or more additional galleries that can accommodate my larger (36” – 48”) works.
Sue Martin invites you to connect with her on Facebook.