Susan Woolgar – Friday Night Guest – April 22, 2022
(Submitted by Christine Luna)
Susan Woolgar was born in Saskatoon, raised in Calgary, and now resides in Red Deer, Alberta. Her interest in the arts began at a very young age, and she knew she wanted to pursue it as a career by the time she entered high school. Susan says she cannot remember a time when she didn’t have a brush or pencil in her hand. The natural world has always been her inspiration as it supplies an abundant and endless source of material.
Upon graduating from the Alberta College of Art in 1977 (Diploma of Applied Arts), Susan embarked on a career in visual communications. She began by working and freelancing for various advertising firms in Calgary, but soon realized she wanted to focus on creating her own art. In addition to creating her own work, Susan also teaches throughout Alberta and B.C., and continues to teach on Zoom.
Susan began the presentation with a slideshow of her inspirational artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and more contemporary artists such as Joan Eardley, Stephen Court (one of the first abstracted landscape artists), Joan Mitchell, Cy Twombly (particularly for mark making) and Kurt Jackson. She continued by showing us her sketchbook of 6×9 sketches created during her travels and explained that “My sketchbook, a few tubes of gouache and a pencil case of various drawing implements are my only tools at the moment. The muse must be looked after!”
Before beginning her painting demonstration, she outlined her 8 principles of design that she applies in her work: Unity, Conflict, Dominance, Repetition, Alteration, Balance, Harmony, Graduation. She believes that with these principles a painter can think, plan, build, organize, express, and communicate. She also made mention of the Zorn color palette for color references, and the work of Lewis Noble for mark making.
She began her painting demo using Canson cold pressed XL 140 lbs. watercolor paper prepped with acrylic paint and started by explaining the color wheel and tools she uses for mark making, such as a wedge and wooden skewers. Next, she captured basic shapes of her reference photo in a preliminary sketch and continued by painting in large areas, scratching in expressive line (mark making), and pulling paint around the canvas with a large wedge. The finished painting is then mounted on a birch panel (she buys these at Michaels) and coated with a matte varnish (she recommends Nova Color).
Thank you, Susan for an informative and inspiring presentation showing us the beauty of nature expressed in its’ purest form.
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