susan parish adam
I am a child of the seventies raised primarily in the suburbs of Hartford, Connecticut. Every summer growing up, I longed to spend time with my grandmother, a painter, who lived on the coast of Maine. Here she taught me a particular way of seeing the world, which was filled with color and beauty, and from that period on, I was determined to live in it. Always creative, I did not start painting until college, where I met my husband of thirty years, also a painter, and haven’t stopped since. From the start of my career, making a living as a full-time painter was a priority, so I developed a commissioned portrait business, and for the past seventeen years, I have run a successful seasonal gallery next to our home.
I draw inspiration from my surroundings,which for most of my career has been the same small Maine village of my childhood summers. I have always been drawn to color in the landscape, chasing red in a sea of blue, burnt umber in a field of green. My works explore the strong graphic potential everywhere I look, such as a curve in the road, a distant island in the bay, a commanding tree in the field, and more recently a cluster of terra cotta rooftops in Champagne-Ardenne and the turquoise water of Bermuda. A quiet scene painted in a bold graphic way invites the viewer to “fill in the blanks.” Similarly, a circle representing a cloud or a rock right in the middle of a painting offset by another carefully selected color or line entices the viewer to focus elsewhere. Nicholas Silk of The Bermuda Royal Gazette described my work as “exploring the relationship of shapes where even inanimate objects seem to possess a story telling potential…form almost shifts and melts before your eyes.”
Painting portraits has taught me the importance of line integrity and color subtlety. Painting landscapes has been an avenue to experiment with shape. My painting career has been a journey filled with twists and turns, trial and error, as my vision has moved away from realism towards a study of curves and color. My process involves a combination of detailed observation and simplification. More recently, the ability to digitally adjust color and shape has produced an ideal platform from which I can more accurately sketch my vision and plan my work toward the finished piece.