Work samples

  • Frightened Bunny
    Frightened Bunny
    Oil on panel
  • Deride
    Graphite on duralar over watercolor on paper
  • Causality
    Graphite on duralar over pastel on paper.
  • Analysis
    Graphite on Duralar over pastel on paper

About Susan

Baltimore County
2019 has been a year of growth. I added new work to three of my ongoing projects and started a new series/project that spins off ideas initiated by the Causality drawing. New drawings have been added to the Consciousness Drawings and the third painting in the Primitive Emotions series has been completed. I continue to add essays to my blog which now has over 75,000 views from over 100 countries. A recent essay on Virtuosity went over 1300 in a matter of months, evidence that there is world-wide… more

Primitive Emotions

The climate of ill will created by the current administration stirs a never-ending stream of outrage and incredulity. In order to not suffer the pathology within, the three paintings in the project “Primitive Emotions” express the trauma of dealing with the assault of brain stem responses. This project is a link between the Visual Commentary and Behind the Scenes work. Specifically, Snarling Puppy is a bridge expressive of the negativity and raw aggression of this time in history and the wish to document the pathology with an artifact. All three of the paintings are oil on panel and try to make the sickness of coping with the current climate visible in a way that will expose the ugliness so it can be recognized as such when those feelings emerge in the future. Hopefully, the expression of arising affliction in these difficult times will console others that struggle with the anger being generated. Like the stitches in Behind the Scenes, the straps and staples signify the ineffective efforts to contain it. In Frightened Bunny the skin has hardened into shell and the shell itself glorified, making a point of the division. All emphasize the unnatural attachment to the surfaces and not the life force pushing from below.
  • Angry Kitten.jpg
    Angry Kitten.jpg
    Oil on panel
  • angrykittendet.jpg
  • angrykittendet2.jpg
  • Snarling Puppy.jpg
    Snarling Puppy.jpg
    Oil on oanel with frame. Part of the frame is illusion painted to give room for the image to bulge.
  • snarlingpuppydet.jpg
  • snarlingpuppydet2.jpg
  • Frightened Bunny.jpg
    Frightened Bunny.jpg
    oil on panel and frame
  • frightenedbunnydet.jpg
  • frightenedbunnydet2.jpg

Behind the Scenes 2019

The new drawings added to Behind the Scenes break down more sophisticated human unkindness. I try to engage the mirror neurons of facial expression without a recognizable face.
  • Deride
    Graphite on duralar over watercolor on paper
  • condemn.jpg
    graphite on duralar over watercolor on paper
  • Withhold
    Graphite on Duralar over watercolor on paper
  • Mock

Rational Limits

There are aspects of understanding that can’t be reached by rational analysis. Too much
breaking down the whole into parts can lead to confusion and the illusion of explanation.
  • Analysis
    Graphite on Duralar over pastel on paper
  • Locate
    Graphite on Duralar over pastel on paper
  • Measure
    Graphite on Duralar over pastel on paper
  • data.jpeg
  • isolate.jpeg
  • hypothesis.jpeg
  • Predict

Consciousness Drawings

Throughout my career, the pastel and colored pencil drawings I use to explore consciousness, reflect on its many levels, and how states of mind are influenced. Exploring the edges  of an emotional state I use clouds to  establish the emotional weather as a boundlessness that we try to pin down. The drawings are philosophical in their intent, questioning the assumption that consciousness is individually localized.
  • Cool Under Fire
    Cool Under Fire
  • Collapse
  • advent.jpg
  • Explication
  • Consciousness
  • Correlation
  • Invasion
  • resonance.jpg
  • Baggage
  • Messages

Visual Commentary

These paintings are oil over collage, a technique that employs the research that went into the subject of the painting, and the hidden influences on our contemporary world. They aim to question misguided values and dangerous trends and have run parallel to my other work for more than thirty years.
  • DomiNation.jpg
  • City Planning  (detail)
    City Planning (detail)
    The collage beneath the road shows satellite imagery of Baltimore and other cities where racial divisions are amplified by major highways dividing the neighborhoods.The collage under the sky shows the difference between rich and poor in the environmental pollution.
  • The Production of a Free Workforce
    The Production of a Free Workforce
    The collage beneath the painting shows articles about private prisons and the emphasis on laws that will increase the number of inmates, and about the racial disparities in the prison population.
  • Frontmen
    Collage and video loop show the faces of those who kept selling war in Iraq with images of nuclear weapons and fear.
  • Enter Fortress America
    Enter Fortress America
    Collage shows corporate influence behind the scenes in politics.
  • Homeland Security 1: Neighborhood
    Homeland Security 1: Neighborhood
    Collage shows local Baltimore neighborhoods to consider the role of the US as aggressor.
  • Homeland Security 3:Park
    Homeland Security 3:Park
    Collage reflects on the vulnerability of nature and the influence of the arms industry on aggression.
  • Rapacity
    Transfers beneath the painting reflect the exploitation of the planet's resources.
  • Avidity Redux
    Avidity Redux
    Transfers beneath the painting show the historic monuments and architecture being destroyed by greed.


During mt 2013 sabbatical I plunged into ideas of material being through work with clay. Painting in oils on stoneware and porcelain I tried to suggest the place where the non- material becomes physical and when the physical begins to shift into spirit.
  • Alchemy
    Oil on partially glazed stoneware bowl.
  • Generation
    Oil on partial glazed stoneware bowl
  • Two Worlds
    Two Worlds
    Oil on partially glazed stoneware
  • Individuating Consciousness
    Individuating Consciousness
    Watercolor and oil on porcelain bowl
  • Stance (side view)
    Stance (side view)
    Watercolor and oil on 18" porcelain figure surrounded by sand.
  • Stance (back view)
    Stance (back view)

Behind the Scenes

Connected to visual ideas in the 3D work, this series uses graphite and duralar stitched together with red thread.
The lower layer is watercolor, the stitching drawing attention to key areas. The illusionistic challenge that propelled me was to get the image to seem to push forward as though a force was growing and swelling behind it. The stitching represents resistance to this growth which creates suffering. Formally, in addition to working against the idea of illusionistic space always opening a window out into space, I also create the illusion of the surface pulling against the stitching.
  • Restraint
  • Heavy Thoughts
    Heavy Thoughts
  • Overload
  • Controlling Flaps
    Controlling Flaps
  • Adaptation