Susan Martin Spar Artist Statement
I was born and raised in Yonkers, New York. I can’t remember ever not drawing or painting on something. I recently came upon a nursery book in which I had drawn in crayon on the inside back cover. I don’t recall, but I’m sure I got a tongue lashing for that masterpiece! Trips to the Metropolitan Museum of art while only eight or nine years old, were my earliest inspiration.
I received my early training from The Fashion Institute of Technology in textile design before moving to Southern California in the 1980s where I studied for a while at the Watts Atelier in Encinitas. I worked for 20 years in the graphic arts industry and moved to the Olympic Peninsula in 2004 in order to pursue art full time. In addition to studying with well-known artists and teachers such as David Leffel and Michael Klein, I pursued and finally achieved my dream of studying classical painting. I completed a three-year intensive program of figure drawing and painting at Georgetown Atelier under Master Painter, Tenaya Sims in Seattle in 2012.
The work, for me, boils down to a strong drive to create what I have an emotional attachment to, and to strive to impart some of that emotion into my work so that the viewer can share it. However, my work is not about unrestrained emotion and expression. It’s about feeling that is focused and tempered by the knowledge and command of my materials and craft which in turn allows me to bring a vision to life on a canvas or paper. The subject is immaterial – it does not matter because it is the light that I am painting. While I’m a romantic and landscapes enable me to express grander feelings and drama, it’s still life and the figure that entertain my nature to look at things closely. The hours of meditating on these subjects as I paint them, fill me with wonder at the beauty of simple things that surround and sustain us in our everyday life.
Susan lives, paints and teaches in Port Angeles, WA and has won numerous awards for her work at juried competitions. Working in a classical realist style, Susan employs both Oils and Pastels with equal ability. Her art consists of landscapes, figures and detailed still life and is in the permanent collections of both the Millard Sheets Foundation and the Corona Heritage Park Foundation as well as private collections throughout the US.