Susan: Fine artist, flautist, pianist and composer, my lifelong inspirations stem from the untamed lands of Canada. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, by two artists/violinists, I grew up spending weekends and summers on a small lake in the Laurentian Mountains, Quebec. I watched my aunt create every type of art imaginable in her downtown Montreal, top floor warehouse apartment, towering windows flooding light on every wall, those, stacked deep with canvases and I grew to love this creative world without boundaries. An avid canoeist, I have paddled many rivers and lakes throughout Quebec, Ontario and Alberta and draw on these memories to create my intuitive, expressionist paintings. In this time away, with the absence of all technology and every day distractions, nature creates space to reflect, contemplate and remind me what is deeply important in this world.
The Artist: In 1998 my new music partner, pianist/artist Valerie Nichol asked me “Why are you not an artist?” and told me to come and paint in her studio (under much coaxing did I go). That day I picked up a palette knife and have never put it down. That day I realized I was as passionate about art as I had been for music. In the first three months, painting ’til 3:00 a.m. most days, I created a large body of work. In May, 1999, I presented my first solo show. My art has evolved and changed directions numerous times, though my strokes and colour palettes can always be recognized.
The Musician: Art was always a part of me, but somewhat destroyed by a professor in first year university. With a BFA specializing in flute performance studies; Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec in 1979, my unique style has evolved throughout 40 years of musical expression. I have enjoyed a diverse musical career: soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, church music director, choral composer, accompanist, choir member, studio musician, private teacher of flute, piano and theory. In recent years, my composing has turned to secular, modern, emotional writing, though sacred sounds are firmly rooted in my chords and melodies. My current composing encorporates electronic sounds.
The Artistry: Art and music are so closely related, in that I strive to create not the exactness of nature or notes, but paint it’s essence. I need nature. I need to be in the wilderness each summer and the experiences it brings. There is time to explore the beauty, the solitude, the thoughts that bubble to the surface as rhythmic strokes of a paddle bring on a mindful state. My most recent work focuses on the human form and the spirit within all of us.
The Meaning Of Life: As life constantly evolves, so does my art subject. I cannot stop this evolution and must embrace the sometimes bold changes. I intuitively paint with the myriad of thoughts that form from the memories and magnificence of my time spent in the wilderness. Each stroke, colour and layer leads the viewer to somewhere haunting, poignant, evocative or simple beauty. Each asks to stay a while, ponder, wander, to feel the connection to within, for even a moment, before the day catches up once more. I compose music in the same way, improvising first, jotting down soundscapes; the feeling in one single note as it floats in the air, or layering melodies to create a tapestry for emotion and experience.
A recent viewer said “There’s always so much to see in your work. It leaves the viewer wanting to come back again…..and again. It is nature itself. “
A recent listener said “Bliss. Thank you for your music. I can feel nature in it. It’s restful, beautiful, calming. I think I shall come to know it well.”