Saturday, February 05, 2011


I had a wonderful show of my paintings earlier this winter. Tom Mangelsen let me hang my paintings in the loft of his Jackson, Wyoming gallery. I am his assistant and get to travel the world with him. This most recent show consisted of paintings from the past years' travel as well as a few older paintings. It was great to see how the images worked together once they were on the walls. I had only seen them laying around the house. The lines of color ran from one to the other so even though there would be a painting of a jaguar hanging next to a zebra the colors tied them all together. We had a full house the night of the opening reception. Tom was showing some new photographs as well. I did sell quite a few paintings too. That is always nice. Now I am working on ways to market them further. I have a shop on - susiepainter. Here is the link Check out all the animals and the color. WE have so much snow in Wyoming it is nice to have all the color. I have been rehanging images in my house - get them on the walls. This particular painting is from a photo I took of one of 399's (the most famous grizzly in Grand Teton Park) cub. I put it on my wall last night. The eyes of the bear follow you around the room.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Tomorrow we leave to go to Brazil and the Pantanal for three weeks. Getting prepared and packed is always so much work. It is a relief to get on the plane. I applied for out Brazilian visa's nearly a month ago. They said it would take 10-15 days. we got our visa's this morning, Saturday delivery with Fedex. Talk about stress! My last full day at home was good. An early morning hike up Snow King mountain with my dear friend Patricia, then lunch with my daughters, running errands, home to begin the packing process. Oh and I had to mow the lawn in there too. Laundry, laying out clothes, putting other clothes away.....finally about 4:00 I felt I had it mostly under control. My eldest got off work and we had a cocktail in the sun in the backyard. WE have had so much rain lately that my free range grasses in the backyard have taken over the lawn chairs. Thai take out, a really bad movie, a bit of knitting and time for bed and our exciting trip.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Color for Friendship

So far this spring has been rainy and cold. We are tiring of this dismal weather. I have been inspired to do a great deal of painting, one thing about bad weather, it is easier to stay inside and paint. I have always used bright intense color in my work. That helps keep your spirits up when it is dreary outside. I am trying something new, I have made a limited edition print of one of my newest paintings. Two of my dear summer camp friends turned 50 this year. A group of us rendezvoused in Colorado for a weekend celebration. I painted a diptych painting for them. They each got to keep one half of the painting. I put a photo of the entire painting in the back of each half. This painting is kind of the view of the mountains we had from the camp. We had climbed these peaks together as young woman and again as older women. We get together every summer for a 4 day backpack.

This is my tribute to my dear girlfriends and all the fun we have had over the years and the fun we will have in the future. Now we are discussing broadening our hiking trips to overseas...Italy sounds nice and would make for great inspiration for more painting. We have realized that we can't stand to see each other only once a year, we need more goddess rendezvous' over the course of the year.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rite of Spring

Because spring is so slow to arrive in Jackson we have a few things we do every year that at least mean spring will be coming. The "inside road" in Grand Teton National Park is closed every winter. It is the road from Taggart Lake trailhead to Signal Mountain. In March the park service starts plowing the road by the beginning of April the road is open to hiking, biking, roller-blading, walking your dog (on a leash), etc. So when the weather is anywhere above freezing and there is no snow flying everyone flocks to the park to partake in enjoying the "inside road" without cars.

I was up there yesterday. I have never seen so many cars in all my springs, of which there have been about 30. It was a gorgeous day, the warmest we have seen so far this year, I think. My car thermometer said 56 degrees as I left town, it was cooler in the park. I unloaded my bike, put on the bike shoes and headed off. The first mile or so is always mayhem. There are little kids on tricycles and bikes with training wheels, people with there dogs on long leases wandering all over, slightly bigger kids on their two-wheelers careening all over, one must ride with utmost care and paying total attention to what is happening. After a mile or so the crowd thins out and you can truly begin to enjoy the magnificence of the place. When my kids were little I was up in the park as much as possible. I had the required bike trailer, two kids, many books, snacks and juice. I would go with other friends and their kids. We would spend the entire day playing. Today I feel like riding hard and getting the cobwebs out. This is my first ride of the year so I know I will have tender bones tomorrow, my saddle is just not comfortable.

The air is chilly there is a bit of a side-wind as you pass the different canyons. But the sky is bluebird and it feels great to be riding. I get into the rhythmn of the bike, pedaling, breathing.
I ride to the String Lake turn, and head into the lake. I know if I go to Signal Mountain on the first ride it will be too far. Maybe next week. The snow is at least 4' high on the side of the road. It is sort of like riding in a refrigerator. The mountains are spectacular, the snow is so bright it is blinding. There are many small snowslides on every peak, the slides add to the texture. I take some pictures with my point and shoot as I ride.

As I head back south from Slide Lake toward Jenny Lake there is some snow on the road, we did get several inches last week. Skinny tires in the slush are a bit slippery. I stop at the Jenny Lake scenic turnout. There is a stiff, freezing wind coming out of Cascade Canyon. It will be a while before the lake melts out.

I don't stay long, the snow works as a bike rack. Now I know the rest of the ride is mostly downhill, I really get pedaling. Head down and cranking, it feels like I have a whole winter of stale air inside, pedal harder, look up once in awhile to see what is a head - crank harder - there is nothing like the feeling of sailing along on your bike on a beautiful day. Back to the last mile near the parking lot, I must slow down and pay attention, the kids are laughing, parents jogging next to the scooter bike, dogs trotting....another perfect day in GTNP.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Will spring ever arrive?

The past two weeks we have had several feet of new snow fall. We are starting think around here that spring will never arrive. It is spring break for all the kids in town so it is very quiet. But the birds are coming back, red-winged blackbirds calling at the side of the pond. There was a great blue heron the other day. The pair of geese that always nest are here, they are wondering why their island is still covered with snow. A pair of mergansers were here and left.....bluebirds have been seen, but not by me. Grizzly bear tracks have been spotted as well. We are hoping our favorite bear, 399, will show up soon with new cubs in tow. As another few inches of snow fall we must remember that spring has always come before and will come again this year....I just wish it would be sooner. The park road is open for biking, but it needs to be warmer, so for today I guess I will stick to my knitting and the crackling fire....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Anatomy of a painting

Last fall I was in Yellowstone with my partner, Tom. We were photographing a very large and stately bull elk. His antlers were 6 points on one side and 7 on the other. He had a small harem, 10 or so cows. He was hanging out near Madison Junction. He was quite the traffic stopper. At times there would be a hundred or so people watching him. We watched him off and on for 4 days. Our last morning in Yellowstone we were out early hoping to catch him in the morning fog coming off the river as the day warmed. We were in luck. There was an oxbow in the river, he had his girls on the island created by the oxbow. Occasionally one of the cows would wander across the shallow river, the bull would go get the cow each time. Tom and I were set up near the water watching the elk. Tom had his 600 mm lens on the tripod. We had been there for at least an hour when one of the cows crossed over to graze. She wandered along munching on grass, the bull snorted at her, she ignored him, hmmmm....the bull raced over to get the cow back. The cow started running - she headed straight toward us, the bull running full speed behind her. We became very nervous! I grabbed all the bags and extra cameras and ran back. The cow crossed the river right in front of us. We deserted the 600 lens. The bull stopped just short of the tripod, snorting. He gave us the evil eye. Hence the story of this painting.

Stage one of the painting.

Stage two.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mom's Birthday

My Mom turned 75 yesterday. I had knit her a felted bowl for a gift. I found a knitting book in Denver that had a new interesting way to knit. Moebius cast on - Cast onto a circular needle and get a twist in the loop - the top rim of the bowl.

Bowl before felting.

When I put the bowl into the washing machine to felt it one strand of yarn broke and unraveled. There was a big hole in the side of the bowl. I continued to felt it. Once it was felted it had shrunk enough that the hole was not so big. The color in this photograph is much closer to the real color.

Bowl after felting - hole on upper right of rim.

Then the decision - do I still give it as a gift with a hole? I thought, well it could be like the art projects I made when I was little, ceramic bowls that were lopsided and the glaze was uneven. Are we still allowed to make imperfect art projects when grown-up? After the bowl mishap I quickly knit a scarf for my daughter, the pattern was in Cat Bordhi's book, A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting. She was excited to get it, she said she had been thinking about a red scarf.

Note the twist in the scarf.

I decided that a painting would be a better gift. When I was in La Jolla this winter I took a picture of an agave plant. The leaves make the most amazing shapes. The image has been in the back of my head wanting to become a painting. I bought two 10"x10" canvases. I painted the undercoat and got started.
Photo and prepped canvas.

Since my birthday gift will be belated at least I did paint on her birthday.

Technicolor Agave

I painted another to donate to the Art Auction fundraiser at the Jackson Hole Community School.

Agave Too

Now I am ready to do one of these paintings on a much larger canvas. I have a 30"x 30" waiting to be used. I have been afraid to get going on such a large canvas. Doing the little has made me excited to get going.....