This month you get to meet another current artist--a skilled user of many mediums who also happens to be the mom of my best friend! Her visits to us in Chicago always mean a healthy dose of mom-pampering (the best kind of pampering), engaging artistic discussions, and all-around good times. Subjecting her to my "interview" questionnaire was a fun excuse to talk some more about all that makes her an artist.
Facts to Begin:
Name, where you live, and medium(s)
Susan J. Smith, nee McLemore
Aledo, a small North Texas town
Current mediums include, Acrylic, watercolor, oil pastel, and pencil
More to Know:
What’s your current “jam”?: in the following categories, what is something you recently discovered or are really into right now?
Song – "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead (R.I.P. Lemmy)
Work of Art – Recently wowed by an exhibit of Castiglione monotypes from an exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum
Book/reading – 1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry by Andrew Bridgeford. Poetry Magazine, February issue.
Food – Broiled grapefruit with caramel salted sugar
Movie/video/documentary/etc – The Dreamworks movie Home, the home remodeling show Fixer Upper, and binged on season 1 of Bones
What do you love about the place you live?
As an artist I love living close to the Ft. Worth cultural district. Browsing the Kimbell, Modern, and Amon Carter museums is very soul-filling. There are worse places to be than North Texas for availability to art supplies and art communities. I love the light to work by and only recently found better lighting in Groesbeck, Texas. I am a hometown girl and can comfortably walk to my studio and not die.
However, since my daughter, Katy, moved to Chicago I have been exposed to a whole new environment and have found that I would work anywhere if a piece of my family resides there.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you do?
An humble gardener messing about in the lavender and lilies, feeding my pet chicken the grubs I unearth. It would be fun to have a small nursery.
I cannot make a dime. The dollar sign is missing in my DNA. I work for love.
I get lost in discovering and working leads to more inspiration and more work and more discovering. The cycle is my favorite, only, narcotic.
Took me years to realize other people don’t see the creatures I see inhabiting this earth.
Both my children have surpassed me in maturity. The upside is I get all of their toys.
Silly “would you rather” question:
...be Batman or Spiderman?
I would rather be Spiderman, because he is like Peter Pan and will never quite grow up. I also prefer sarcasm to gloom. I think Spiderman parodies popular songs where Batman writes only blues tunes. Being rich is a burden. Peter Parker is a photographer, closer to being an artist than Bruce Wayne. Spiderman loved and lost, but loved. Batman can’t seem to commit. (However, as a mom, I want to smack them both!)
I do wish the choices had been Wonder Woman or Batgirl.
Susan may describe her mediums as being "acrylic, watercolor, oil pastel, and pencil"...but what always shine through for me are her artist's mediums of the soul: working not with paint and brush but with whimsy and love, with hints of the fantastical and fluid that are somehow still grounded through her nurturing nature. Her work shows us what the Earth and imagination has given us and makes them more--opens them up so we can see the fun, the freedom, and the sympathetic human connection to all things.
Go big or go home--like Susan's work, which can be seen brightening walls in schools of the Fort Worth region of Texas as large-scale murals.
Whether "going big" for you means trying your hand at a mural of your own, using more clay at the wheel, or simply upscaling to a sheet of paper larger than 8.5 x 11, getting out of your comfort zone size-wise is entirely freeing and a great physical learning experience!
Sometimes you get lucky and a business or friend wants you to paint a mural for them--but if not, perhaps the wall of your house could become your next creative canvas!
1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry by Andrew Bridgeford (book, 2004)
Ace of Spades by Motorhead (musical album, 1980)
Amon Carter Museum of American Art (museum, 1961-present) http://www.cartermuseum.org/
"Castiglione: Lost Genius. Masterworks on Paper from the Royal Collection" (museum exhibit, Kimball Art Museum, 2016) https://www.kimbellart.org/exhibition/castiglione-lost-genius-masterworks-paper-royal-collection-0
Bones (television show, 2005-present)
Home (film, 2015)
Fixer Upper (television show, 2014-present)
Kimbell Art Museum (museum, ) http://www.cartermuseum.org/
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (museum, 1987-present) http://themodern.org/