Featured Artist Susan Christensen

Richly detailed and drawn from memories, Susan Christensen’s mixed media work resonates with imagination and emotion. Visit her website to see more of her art.

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“The Magician’s Assistant Wears a Fascinator” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 8″ x 10″

 

I’ve been an avowed artist since taking my first art class in seventh grade (before that, I’d aspired to be a doctor!)  I had a wonderful teacher who recognized my gift and encouraged me to put my whole heart into making things. I vividly remember one day exclaiming to her, “Mrs. Sater, I love art!” to which she replied “Susan, I think art loves you, too.”

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“Mother Earth Sister Moon” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 7″ x 10″

 

Years later, after attaining my MFA at the University of Washington, I returned home to a small fishing town in southeast Alaska to establish my career as a visual artist and raise my two children. I have exhibited widely over the years in solo and group exhibits throughout Alaska and nationally. My work is included in collections of the Alaska State Art Bank, Clausen Museum and numerous private collectors.

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“Hierophant” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 6″ x 8″

 

Over the years I’ve explored a variety of media, including acrylics, intaglio, monoprint, art quilting and collage. Three years ago, I returned to my first love—watercolor and ink on paper.

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“They Shared What They Had” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 7″ x 10″

 

I’ve found tremendous value in limitations. Restricting myself to one medium has accelerated the growth of my personal style and skill in handling my materials. I work every day, showing up in the studio consistently whether I feel like it or not. I agree with those artists who insist that they don’t wait for inspiration or they’d never get any work done!

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“The Moon Still” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 9″ x 12″

 

My images flow directly from my imagination, guided by intuition in response to a random underpinning of watercolor painting and India ink mark making.

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“The Acolyte” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 9″ x 12″

 

I approach each piece with a limited palette, often reaching across the color wheel to take advantage of the helping hand complementary colors can lend each other. The work is small, and each piece intricately detailed. No doubt this reflects my training as a drafting technician back in pre-CAD times when plans were hand-drawn with ink on Mylar.

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“Walkin’ Man Blues” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 9″ x 12″

 

Although I do no pre-planning or preliminary sketching, I do have an underlying theme when creating a series.

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“Forward Fold with Back Ache” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 8″ x 10″

 

Recently, I have explored imaginary friends, memories of childhood—my mother’s and my own—and my father’s life and memories.

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“The Weary World” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 7″ x 10″

 

In my current work I am wrestling with political issues for the first time as I try to find hope in seemingly hopeless situations, including global climate change, immigration and social justice. The work has taken on a more serious, darker tone as I grapple with these complex problems.

 

abstract mixed media painting by Susan Christensen

“Demons Threaten and Attempt to Devour Lydia” watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 8″ x 10″

 

Currently I make my home and studio in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle with my young dog Sirius Star, who is a very helpful and supportive studio assistant. I exhibit regularly at Gallery 110 in downtown Seattle and have frequent pop-up shows at local coffee houses and other venues. I post studio progress daily on my Instagram account.

 

Artist Susan Christensen invites you to follow her on Instagram.

 

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