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Work Samples

Circles

Susan Dorsey_Circles
Circles/ Watercolor, Cut Paper, Tissue Paper/ 14.5" X 22"

Lake Michigan

Susan Dorsey_Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan/ Fabric, Handmade Paper, Thread, Watercolor/ 15" X 11"

Coral Abstract

Susan Dorsey_Coral Abstract
Coral Abstract/ Watercolor, Cut Paper, Tissue Paper/ 8" X 22"

Black Oak Savanna

Susan Dorsey_Black Oak Savanna
Black Oak Savanna/ Handmade Paper, Thread, Watercolor/ 8" X 11"

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About Susan

Baltimore City

Susan Dorsey's picture
Susan graduated with a Masters in Biology from Miami University (Oxford, OH) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She combines her art and science backgrounds as a means of storytelling, while building partnerships to create innovative, interdisciplinary curricula that empowers the next generation of changemakers. She maintains a reflective teaching practice informed by equity research, and has exhibited in galleries throughout Maryland. Susan was selected for a... more

Patterns, Shapes, and Textures

As an artist with a background in environmental and fine arts education, I am constantly looking for ways to merge my interests in art and science by combining the scientific method with the creative process. I use art making as research into the often unnoticed patterns, shapes, and textures of our natural world.

  • Coral Abstract

    Susan Dorsey_Coral Abstract
    Media: Watercolor, Cut Paper, Tissue Paper/ Size: 8" X 22"
  • Coral Abstract II

    Susan Dorsey_Coral Abstract II
    Media: Watercolor, Cut Paper, Tissue Paper/ Size: 8" X 22"
  • Tropical Seas

    Susan Dorsey_Tropical Seas
    Media: Cellophane, Thread, Watercolor/ Size: 31.5" X 14"
  • Snowfall Patterns

    Susan Dorsey_Snowfall Patterns
    Media: cut paper, tissue paper, watercolor/ Size: 14" X 22"/ Summary: This piece was inspired by snowflake patterns when observed up close. I broke up the shapes and used collage techniques to create an abstract landscape.
  • Circles

    Susan Dorsey_Circles
    Media: Watercolor, Cut Paper/ Size: 14.5" X 22"
  • Collage

    Susan Dorsey_Collage
    Media: Watercolor, Cut Paper, Tissue Paper/ Size: 10" X 10"
  • Kaleidoscope

    Susan Dorsey_Kaleidoscope
    Media: Cut Paper, Tissue Paper, Watercolor/ Size: 22" X 22"
  • Motion

    Susan Dorsey_Motion
    Media: Watercolor, Cut Paper, Tissue Paper/ Size: 14" X 20"
  • Layers

    Susan Dorsey_Layers
    Media: Watercolor, Cut Paper, Tissue Paper/ Size: 10" X 15"
  • Layers II

    Susan Dorsey_Layers II
    Media: Watercolor, Cut Paper, Tissue Paper/ Size: 10" X 15"

Nature Inspired Art as Research

As a child I fell in love with nature through curiosity. The more and more observations I made the more curious I became. This inquisitiveness led me to discover answers to questions like, why do potato bugs curl up into little balls when I pick them up, and why do fireflies have lights? The more I discovered about the natural world around me, the more I began to feel a connection to it and a responsibility to care for it. This collection represents my research of the natural world through art.

  • Black Oak Savanna Forest

    Susan Dorsey_Black Oak Savanna Forest
    Media: Handmade Paper, Thread, Watercolor/ Size: 15" X 13"/ Summary: In 2016, I was selected to participate in the Artist in Residence Program at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. During this two week residence, I spent time hiking and exploring black oak savanna habitats, wetlands, dry prairies, and the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan. This work was created in response to my observation of the black oak savanna forest.
  • Lake Michigan

    Susan Dorsey_Lake Michigan
    Media: Fabric, Handmade Paper, Thread, Watercolor/ Size: 15" X 11"/ Summary: During my two week Artist in Residence at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, I was drawn to the cristal clear torquious waters of Lake Michigan. This piece was inspired by the tints, hues, patterns, and movements of the lake.
  • Sand Dunes

    Susan Dorsey_Sand Dunes
    Media: Fabric, Thread, Watercolor/ Size: 18" X 18"/ Summary: While hiking through terrestrial shrublands, I was struck by texture contrasts between dune grasses, oak and conifer trees. I completed this work while participating in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Artist in Residence Program.
  • Black Oak Savanna Forest II

    Susan Dorsey_Black Oak Savanna Forest II
    Media: Handmade Paper, Thread, Watercolor/ Size: 8" X 11"/ Summary: The black oak savanna is an endangered ecosystem consisting of sparsely growing hardwood forests and tall prairie grasses. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore hosts some of the last surviving oak savannas. This collage was created during my participation in the Artist in Residence Program with the National Park Service.
  • Birch Trees

    Susan Dorsey_Birch Trees
    Media: Rice Paper, Watercolor, Tissue Paper, Thread/ Size: 24" X 45"/ Summary: I was drawn to the birch tree because of it's patterned light and dark stripes. A unique feature is the light-colored bark which reflects sunlight on cold days allowing it to avoid damage due to rapid cooling and heating.
  • The Vine

    Susan Dorsey_The Vine
    Media: Vellum, Watercolor, Thread, Ink/ Size: 18" X 24"
  • Marshland

    Susan Dorsey_Marshland
    Media: Watercolor/ Size: 22.5" X 15"/ Summary: To create this plein air painting in one sitting, I observed the habitat for five hours. During that time the birds of the marshlands made themselves known. I watched ruby-throated hummingbirds, red-headed woodpeckers, blue herons, and more. It was a joy to watch the landscape change throughout the day in sound, light, and color as I became more aware of the active life all around me.
  • Pieces

    Susan Dorsey_Pieces
    Media: Tracing Paper, Thread, Watercolor/ Size: 40" X 35.5"/ Summary: Goliath moths, giant leaf insects, dragonflies, butterflies and luna moths inspired this piece. These insects and many others often hide in plain sight amongst the patterns, shapes, and textures of the landscape. Once your eyes are trained to notice these creatures, another world comes to life.
  • Forest Embroidery

    Susan Dorsey_Forest Embroidery
    Media: Handmade Paper, Thread, Watercolor/ Size: 30" X 22"
  • Vacant

    Susan Dorsey_Vacant
    Media: Shells, Cement, Glue/ Summary: While visiting the seaside I am constantly inspired by the rich, rough texture of the sand, the smooth silky blanket of the ocean, and the hundreds of patterns and shapes that can be found in one seashell. These vacant shells are a reminder of a complex ecosystem that needs protection. Mussels, clams, and oysters give life to the ocean as they improve water quality by filtering bacteria, algae, and other small particiles. Without them the balance of the ecosystem is thrown off. This piece is a reminder of the strength and fragility of nature.

All About Birds

There is always beauty where one least expects it, and I often find it in the presence of the birds. Watching them fly and travel together lifts my mind, body, and spirit as I imagine where they have been, and the freedom that must come from having wings. These birds remind me to look for the beauty in the mundane, because it is everywhere when I allow myself to see it.

  • Flying

    Susan Dorsey_Flying
    Media: Rice Paper, Thread, Watercolor/ Size: 39.5" X 42"
  • Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

    Susan Dorsey_Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
    Media: Cellophane, Paper, Watercolor, Wood/ Summary: First appearing to be an insect in rapid flight, the green and red twinkle reveals its true nature. It is a special moment whenever I come across a hummingbird, a moment I never forget. It's amazing to think these small creatures depart for Central America each fall, some crossing the Gulf of Mexico in a single flight.
  • Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird (detail)

    Susan Dorsey_Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird (detail)
    Media: Cellophane, Paper, Watercolor, Wood
  • Rufous Hummingbird

    Susan Dorsey_Rufous Hummingbird
    Media: Cellophane, Paper, Watercolor, Wood, Wire/ Summary: The 3 inch Rufous Hummingbird is on my wish list of animals to observe in the wild. This small bird migrates from Alaska to Mexico with a wingbeat frequency of 52-62 beats per second.
  • Emerald Hummingbird

    Susan Dorsey_Emerald Hummingbird
    Media: Cellophane, Paper, Watercolor, Wire, Wood/ Summary: The Emerald Hummingbird of Central America is endangered. Due to habitat loss this species has only 10 percent of its former range to search for food, which has caused a decline in population. However there are people and organizations (World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy) fighting to keep this natural beauty alive and thriving.
  • Wren

    Susan Dorsey_Wren
    Media: Cork, Paper, Watercolor, Wood/ Summary: I have often observed the Carolina wren in Baltimore with its cinnamon plumage and long curved beak. They move up and down tree trunks in a circular pattern looking for insects.
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker

    Susan Dorsey_Red-bellied Woodpecker
    Media: Cellophane, Cork, Paper, Watercolor, Wood/ Summary: Whenever I happen upon a woodpecker, I always stop to watch. Their patterns, sounds, and behaviors each unique to different species. They are challenging to locate in my neighborhood, until I hear the sound of repetative knocking. Their strong necks and padded brains are specially adapted to absorb the shock of wood pecking.
  • Saw-whet Owl

    Susan Dorsey_Saw-whet Owl
    Media: Cellophane, Paper, Watercolor, Wood/ Summary: One evening while camping at Deep Creek Lake State Park, I noticed a tree branch occupied by several noisy birds. It was dark and difficult to identify them, so I grabbed my head lamp and waited for one to descend to eye level. My patience paid off as a northern saw-whet owl swooped down to hunt!

Work created while enrolled in MICA's undergraduate program

This is a small sample of work from my schooling at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Polar Bear Interactive for the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

I worked with a design company to create illustrations for an education interactive, which was permanently installed for visitors to use while learning about the lives of polar bears at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. The maze challenges visitors to help a polar bear catch a seal. I created eight illustrations displayed throughout the maze as visual representations of the challenges of hunting.