Susie Hyer has been drawing and painting since she was a child. “I remember drawing a pair of ceramic flamingos my mother used to keep on her dining room table when I was four years old”, she says. “I knew from that moment I would be an artist when I grew up.” While the subject matter in much of my work may be distinctly landscape, it is primarily the visual relationships occurring underneath the subject—how large value and color statements relate to each other or talk to each other in a painting, or how the shapes of light and shadow complement and work with each other to make the eye move around the painting. I love to explore how to put the paint down, or what the edges are doing, but what excites me most is the bigger, yet occult abstract design underneath the painting. I’m always experimenting in the studio to keep a fresh eye, chasing an idea I and the many different ways that could look on canvas.
Attending art programs at Moravian College, The Baum School of Art, and the University of West Florida in the 1970’s, she continues to study and expand her repertoire and abilities. Attending the Art Students League of Denver and participating in workshops whenever she can, with artists such as Quang Ho, Kim English, Jay Moore, Ron Hicks, and Kevin Weckbach. In 2001 she completed the Denver Botanical Gardens Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration.
This award winning artist has been working professionally since 1976 and has been the recipient of a number of scholarships, grants, and awards for her work, including two international design awards. Her work has appeared in numerous galleries and national exhibitions, hangs in many private and corporate collections. She has been published in the celebrated books “Art of the National Parks: Historic Connections, Contemporary Interpretations”, “Landscapes of Colorado,” She has been a featured artist in Southwest Art , Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air and Art of the West Magazines. Her work has also appeared on the covers of Art Life, Evergreen Living and Mountain Country Life. The “American Art Collector” and ‘Best of American Art and Artist” series of books has published her work. Susiehyer is a signature member of Oil Painters of America, a signature member of the American Impressionist Society, signature member of Plein Air Artists of Colorado, Plein Air Painters of New Mexico and signature member of Plein Air Painters of Hawaii. She has been a National Vice President of the Women’s Caucus for Art, and past President of the New Orleans Chapter, Her work is represented by a number of galleries along Colorado’s Front Range and the Southwest.
She maintains a home, studio, and multiple gardens in Evergreen, CO where she lives with her husband, sometimes one or two grown children, a dog, 2 cats and numerous elk, deer, and other wildlife. She continues to push herself in new directions and challenge herself artistically, traveling to paint en plein air, and working from sketches, field studies, and photos in the studio. She teaches workshops out of her studio in Evergreen and is an invited juror for local and national exhibits.
I have always been close to the land, felt part of it. As a child, it pained me to tears every time a new housing development went in near our house, or a new road was carved into the ground, destroying the woodlands that I felt connected to and was playground and companion. And while I eventually resigned myself to the fact that this was just the way things go, I never have felt entirely comfortable with it.
The idea that these landscapes are cut up and carved out, and broken down, reflects what has happened to much of our Colorado landscape in sometimes intelligent and many times misguided attempts to make life better in some fashion for its inhabitants. The sometimes unintended, and sometimes intentional consequences have resulted in lands, waterways, and natural features taking a beating….. stamped on, trampled over, bulldozed, cut up by highways, destroyed by drilling, fracking, and abuses. In these pieces I have broken down large landscape pieces into smaller bits, dripped and thrown paint, scratched and scraped back some of the shapes the way I would approach a pure abstract painting, in order to see some of the history of the painting process. I have also erased some of the process in other parts of the painting, very much the way much of our natural history has been erased, not just in Colorado, but everywhere.
These pieces were the result of a lot of studio experimentation and process toward my goal of abstracting the landscape , but I didn’t really see the connection to some very old buried feelings that had surfaced until well after these particular paintings were completed. I didn’t set out to make that statement. But over the course of a lifetime of pursuing art, I would imagine that, all that I feel, all that I experience, and everything that has made me what I am will eventually find its way into the art making process. It is the result of a lifetime of exploring the question as to why I paint.