Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times".

My review of 2013 reminds me of that quote from Charles Dickens. 2013 was indeed some of the best of times, as well as some of the worst of times in my life.  If you happen to follow this blog, you know that my father passed away last year, but my career has been on an uphill swing.

Last January my whole family celebrated my mom's 80th birthday in Vail, CO , because she wanted to ski for her birthday.  It was a truly wonderful trip.  My brothers, sister and my mom and dad were all there.  It was a memorable trip, made all the more special because it was the last time we would all be together.

My dad passed away in March, so the next time we were all together in WY, we were saying goodbye.  Oh the memories we all dad lived a wonderful, happy life! I miss him everyday!

When an event like that happens in your life, you tend to regroup.  At least that is what I did.  I was lucky to be included in ArtMrkt San Francisco, at the Modernism booth in May, but an opportunity to change galleries presented itself, and I am now represented by Scott Richards Contemporary Art, and Tangent, both in San Francisco.  It has been great to have my work hanging, and selling!

"Frosting"  SOLD
Then in November, I had an opening at The Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, WY, my hometown, for a retrospective show.  My time spent returning to Casper, including the opening, was truly an amazing experience, and I will always treasure those memories!  The people I have met, and the people I grew up with, have been so supportive of me and my career....I can only say that I am deeply touched.  I love my hometown!  I can't help but think my dad is smiling down on all of us!

As I leave 2013 behind, I feel like I am on the cusp of something wonderful!  My work is evolving in ways that I am very excited about.  I am saving my newest work to post soon....and look forward to a group show my work is included in, at Scott Richards Contemporary Art in San Francisco, this April, featuring Super Heroes! 

Happy New Year to everyone who follows this blog, and to all the people that support me and my work.  Facebook friends have been a wonderful resource, and thank you to all the artists and photographers who inspire me with their amazing work!  Also I would like to thank my models, especially Harmony, who much of my best work would not be possible if not for  her!

"Dia de los Muertos" is now in the permanent collection of the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, WY

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nicolaysen Art Museum Opening

Nov. 8th was the opening of my "retrospective" show at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, WY; my hometown!  The two other shows in the museum also featured WY artists, and the museum was packed.  I was told they had 350 people in attendance!

When my husband and I arrived in Casper, the first place we stopped was The Nic!  The show had already been up a month, and although I was assured by my mother and mother in law, that it looked great, I wanted to make sure that every painting was looking as it should.  (In particular, I had just liquined the background of "Dia de los Muertos", before loading it onto a large truck to travel to the west coast, the northwest coast, and then down to WY. I wasn't 100% sure if the painting had fared well on the trip.)  All was well when we arrived, so we started taking photos.

The next day, I gave a lecture and demonstration at Casper College, (where I went to school to learn to draw), and I think it went really well!  The school is still pretty small, but the turnout was good.  I had asked the painting and drawing instructor; Justin Hayward, if I could speak to his students, because I thought I could teach them something. Especially about my experience with galleries, and "thinking out of the box", throughout my career.  Of course he was delighted, and asked if I would also demonstrate, so I did.  (Above is the painting I demonstrated on, another Harmony, of course.)Justin is a great painter, and the students really seem to like him.  I told them they were lucky to be at Casper College where they were actually learning to draw and paint, just as I had, from such an excellent painter!
Friday night was the opening, and once we arrived, it was a blurr of activity.  The museum was already crowded, and the curator: Eric Wimmer, did an excellent job of hanging all three shows!  Eric is another wonderful addition to Casper, WY, and the art community!  He is himself an accomplished artist, working in many different media. His paintings are incredible, and I am really drawn to his photographs, as they are truly something special!  His excitement for everything he does, and for the community is really a pleasure to witness!  He grew up in New Mexico, and is responsible for encouraging me to finish my "Dia de los Muertos" painting, when I was struggling with it.  One of my favorite things I heard on this trip was when Eric was watching me paint, he said; "It's interesting the way you paint, starting with the figure....(and not the background), you can tell you were not academically trained."  I loved this, because it is so true, having mostly taught myself to paint, and going from watercolor to seems I paint backwards....but it somehow works for me.

The whole trip could not have been more enjoyable!  To go back to my hometown, and see so many friends and relatives who have supported me throughout my life and career, as well as to meet so many new people and young artists, is something I will always treasure!  Of course I wish my father could have been there, but I know he was in spirit.  I was so happy my mother, and mother in law were there, but in our flurry of activity, we forgot to take a photo of my mom and me together....


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Suzy Smith returns home with new exhibit at the Nicolaysen Art Museum

Suzy Smith returns home with new exhibit at the Nicolaysen Art Museum

Here is a link to the article of my exhibition at the Nicolaysen Art Museum, in Casper, WY, in the Casper Star Tribune.  I have added a few more photos of some of the paintings in the show.

"In the Sunlight", oil, 11" x 17"

"White Cattleya Orchids", oil, 24" x 30"

"Gumballs with a Prize", oil, 24" x 24"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dia de los Muertos!

This is just a quick preview of the painting I am currently trying to finish.  (It is hard to photograph because of the light face, and dark background, as well as the shine.)  I started this painting after my dad passed away, because I have always wanted to paint a "Day of the Dead" painting, and it seemed like the time was right.

This Mexican tradition is a beautiful way to remember loved ones who have died.  It is associated with Halloween (in the United States), and All Saints or All Souls Day, in Mexico, and around the world.  It is also celebrated as a holy day in the Catholic church.

The beauty of the holiday is that family and friends gather to pray for, and remember those who have died.  Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.

The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and comments of the living directed to them.  Orange Mexican Marigolds are the flowers most often used in the celebration, as they are believed to attract souls of the dead to the offerings.

Because I live in New Mexico, the tradition is alive and well, and I am fascinated by it!  Two years ago my model Harmony, dressed up in appropriate makeup and dress, and we went to the Dia de los Muertos parade in Albuquerque.

I would say close to half of the people at the parade were dressed in Day of the Dead costumes, and although the parade was not exactly what I had hoped it to be, we had a good time. Perhaps I will attend the celebration this year, as I now have a close experience with death.  I am trying to learn to celebrate my dad's life, as I still muddle through the grief of losing him.
"Dia de los Muertos"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

After the Photo Shoot!

My model of the last three years was in town for the first time since she left, and we had a great photo shoot! These photos were taken after the shoot....

Monday, July 29, 2013

Artist Statement.....

Writing an Artist's Statement is always a daunting task, and I have written variations of it many times, as my work is continuously evolving.  It is hard to condense all that you want to say, and all that has gone into a body of work, or a lifetime of painting into a few paragraphs, but having said that, here is my latest artist statement:

The girl next door, the playmate, and even photographs of women in Vogue magazine, are the images I grew up with in the late 60's and early 70's.  They had a huge influence on me, and what I paint today.  When I choose a model, she has to have that girl next door quality that we have all known (or been) to make the best subject, and hence the best paintings.  When I photograph my model is when the creativity really takes place, and if we are lucky, working as a team, it becomes almost magical.  When I see "it", the "perfect" fleeting moment, I know it, and hopefully capture it on film, which is later translated into oil on canvas.

My current work focuses on the idealized female nude in front of an iconic artwork, which allows me to not only pay homage to my favorite artists, but to paint in different styles, contrasting figures with background.  It may be that the background is painted with thick paint that allows for a difference in textures, or it may be that a complex, or organic design adds to the sensuality or spirituality of the painting.  The women I paint are truly the girls next door, but have come a long way since the 60's, and I find their strength and beauty to be a product of our uniquely  American

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scott Richards Contemporary gallery representation.

My art work is now being represented by Scott Richards Contemporary Art in San Francisco.  It all happened very suddenly, but I am so happy to have my art seen in both of Scott's galleries: Tangent, which is located just off Union Square (street level) at 373 Geary Street, as well as his main location at 251 Post Street. 

I have been going to the galleries at 251 Post Street since I lived in the Bay, 17 years ago, and Scott's galleries definitely do not disappoint!  He and his amazing, and friendly staff show contemporary art by many incredible artists, and I am excited to be a part of it!

"Laura with Narcissa's Last Orchid", oil, 24" x 18", by Suzy Smith

As an artist, people often ask me if I didn't sell my work would I still paint....and of course the answer would be a resounding YES!  It is always an interesting question to me, because there is nothing I would rather do than paint and create....not saying it is always easy, but to me, part of the act of creating is to share your vision with other people.  Sometimes your work is not liked, or people don't understand why you are painting it, and I learned very early on, you need a thick skin sometimes to be in this business.  And make no is not only a creative endeavor, but it is a business.  That is why I am so excited to have my work actually hung and seen!!  Now as far as selling......I would still paint without sales, but selling the work becomes the final act of validation!  It is a bonus of creating to get a nice check in the mail....

"Reverie", oil, 40" x 30, by Suzy Smith

Thursday, May 23, 2013

art MRKT San Francisco

Last weekend was artMRKT San Francisco, held in an old warehouse in Fort Mason.  16 years ago I lived in Fairfield, CA, a 45 minute drive from San Francisco...half way to Sacramento, so I always love returning to the Bay!
Driving into the city is always a thrill for me....maybe because I am from a small town in WY, but I love the sights of the city crossing the Bay Bridge!  What a view!  What a city!

The opening was Thursday night, and after a day of walking in San Francisco, in what I thought were comfortable shoes...but they weren't, I was looking forward to going from door to door as our taxi picked us up at the Union Square Marriott, and dropped us off at the art market.......well, he dropped us off all right, about 5 blocks from the actual building.  The wind was blowing, and it was cold, but eventually we made it to the event.

Shane and me at artMRKT San Francisco
We met up with my niece Mackenzie, and her friend Stephanie, and headed in to the fair. There was a lot of incredible art, and after we got a glass of wine, we headed for the Modernism booth.  There were many beautiful distractions along the way, and many amazing galleries from around the country represented, but we eventually made it to Modernism.  Martin Muller (Modernism's owner, and prestigious dealer) was there, along with Danielle and David.  There was a Mel Ramos hanging as you walked into the booth, with an incredible Gottfried Helnwein as the main attraction.  Then I saw my painting on a side was small, but to be hung along side the other Modernism artists was an amazing feat for me!
Martin Muller and me
I felt like the event was a success, so we left happy, after going through almost every gallery, and went to Lori's Diner for a late night meal.
The next day we went to some of my other favorite galleries on Post Street and Geary, and saw some more incredible art, by some of my favorite artists! 
A perfectly beautiful afternoon of clear skies, wine and cheese, and I'm sure, some of the most beautiful views of San Francisco, the city has to offer, followed.  From Alcatraz to the Golden Gate Bridge, sitting high above the city, we enjoyed the perfect setting, and talked about art.  I don't think life gets much better!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Back to painting!

Since returning from my father's funeral, I have started 4 paintings, and not finished one....yet.  They will be finished, but are each in various drying stages.  I have begun painting a "Circus" series, which promises to be interesting and exhilarating!  Until then here is a glimpse at a painting that is close to being name yet.....will probably work on the hair some didn't photograph too well.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My dad....

Because this blog recounts not only my life in art, but my life as a person in the world, I wanted to write about my dad; David McGonigle Lockhart, who passed away one month ago today.

My dad was a large part of who I am today, and the hardest part of losing him, is that as a daughter, I knew he always had my back, and now he is not there.  (I do believe he still has my back, but in a different way.) 

Friday, March 1, 2013


"Bohemian Rhapsodies"


As I continue to finish paintings that have been in the works for awhile, here are two more that are close to being finished.  I still may refine the hair, especially in Sara, but overall they seem finished.  I am still considering titles for the "Art Nouveau" painting, and I still can't decide whether or not to add a black velvet choker...which she was wearing when I took the photo.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More Cakes!

I have noticed, looking through my blog, that I have posted many photos of this painting in progress, but here is the final finished painting.  I have made a few revisions, and I think I am happy with it now.