Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You're Not Your Hair, A Survivor's Story

I'm back after months on hiatus from blogging! Please check out my blog archives at the right of this page for lots of my art and instructional tips! And be sure to check out my web site at www.susanconeporgesfinearts.com to see what I've been up to. Thanks for stopping by!
11" x 14" , Oil

This is another in my series honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Please see previous post for full story.


I haven't posted anything on my blog since last spring.... life has been good and busy! VERY busy!! So, after 5 art shows, lots of painting commissions, a crazy-busy season of freelance work, hosting a milestone surprise party for my sister, a high school graduation party for my daughter, a wedding shower for my neice, and getting my daughter off to college... Ahhhhhhhhh.. I have some time to myself again!! Please check out my website to see details of what I've been up to.
Thanks for stopping by!
"Rose", oil
11"x14"
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and my recent show of my series entitled,
"You're Not Your Hair, A Survivor's Story",
this is MY story.....

My story began 7 years ago on the eve of my 45th birthday. I had gone in for a routine mammogram the week before, and it showed what the radiologist called a “slight shadow”. Although I was told it was probably nothing, I called my doctor for her opinion. Thank god she told me to go in for further testing, and after a week-long wait, my doctor called to give me the results… I had breast cancer. I remember standing alone in my kitchen, feeling like the air was just sucked out of the room. Getting that diagnosis was something surreal. Over the next months, I went through a whole gamut of emotions… fear for my life; the overwhelming sadness at the thought that I may not be here for my children as they grow into adults, or be here to grow old with my husband; guilty that I had to upset my family with this news, after having gone through it years before with one of my sisters (how could this be happening to me, too?); upset at the way this illness turned my life upside down; shock as I heard the choices I had for treatment; anger that my work and daily routine had to be put on hold so I could focus on my health… and the ultimate salt to the wound, was when I heard after my lumpectomy that I would still need chemotherapy and radiation, and that yes…I would most definitely lose my hair.

The strawberry blonde, curly hair that I had as a child was always the subject of admirers and I was often treated to at-home beauty shop sessions by my two older sisters. As a teenager, I grew it long to my waist (and sat under the hairdryer for hours to make it straight!) and when the blonde started to lose its glow, you can bet I began highlighting it. In college I cut it short (curly was finally cool!), and as an adult, I let the curls grow long again. Although I hate to admit it, and never realized it before, as a woman, my self image was always all about my hair. So, although having cancer meant that I could lose my life, the thought of losing my hair, in the midst of all those other emotions, was something almost unbearable for me.

On the 10th day after my first Chemo treatment, as they said it would, my hair started falling out. It first fell out in a few strands, then bigger clumps, until a few days later when I was so uncomfortable with it; I got in the shower and literally washed it all away. I was so shocked and upset at the sight of the mound of hair in my hands; I stood there and just cried my eyes out. I reluctantly showed my husband the new me, and he said something that was so true and profound, it dried my tears and put everything in perspective for me. He said, “You’re not your hair… You’re a mother and a wife, you’re a sister and a daughter, you’re an aunt, you’re a friend, and you’re an artist. You are so much more than just your hair”. Those words resonated deeply, and I knew he was right. I embraced my baldness and in an odd way, never felt more beautiful. Today I am so thankful for having gone through the experience. It was empowering. I now know for certain that I am not my hair… I am alive, and I am so much more.

This series of paintings is a tribute to all the beautiful women of different ages, races and walks of life, who have also been empowered by the opportunity to see who they really are and what they are truly made of. Cancer does that to you. So does the treatment for it. After all, we‘re not our hair…. we are so much more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Daisy Hill Greenhouse

24" x 24", Oil

Thanks for stopping by!


I'm taking a hiatus from my blog for a few weeks as I complete a group of paintings for an upcoming gallery show. Please feel free to look thru my previous blog entries or visit my eBay store or website, via the links to the right.

My original oil paintings including
landscapes and still lifes
will be featured starting May 15th, 2009 at :

Chentini Gallery
22 North Main Street
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

See you back here soon!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Venice Canal WIP 5 (work in progess)


Here in Step 5 of my watercolor pour painting, I've begun to work back into it with a brush.. the pouring may be over (although one never knows.. I may feel I need to do another pour or two before I am satisfied!). I like how the water in the foreground is coming together, although the rest of it needs a lot of work. My intention when I started this piece was to keep it very loose and abstract, and I've lost that idea somewhere along the way. I'm not crazy about what's happening here, so I am going to attempt to loosen it up again with some large areas of washes and try to play with color and perspective in the buildings and bridge. Stay tuned for the next episode!

"Venice Canal" WIP 4 (work in progress)


Here I removed all the Friskett (using a rubber cement pick up) and this is what I was left with. A lot of the rich colors were sitting on the Friskett, and have now been rubbed away! :-( HOWever, have no fear( I am telling myself), I am now going to work back into the piece with a brush and try to have some fun with it, deepening the colors and putting in some details. I would like to abstract it a little with wide washes of color.... we'll see what happens as I get into it.... stay tuned.
14" x 18" on Arches 140 lb cold press paper

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Venice Canal" WIP 3 (work in progress)



Here is Stage 2 of my watercolor pour painting. Ditto from yesterday... colors getting richer and deeeper, and more Friskett is covering the previous pours. (See windows on building on left) More tomorrow....
14" x 18" on Arches 140 cold press

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Venice Canal" WIP 2 (work in progress)

14" x 18"
Here is Stage 2 of my Venice watercolor pour painting. here I masked out the areas I wanted to remain after the first pour, and did the 2nd pour, wetting my paper with water first, and pouring in the same order of colors as yesterday. Keep in mind, the Friskett can not stay on the paper for too many days or it will be idfficlut to remove, so when I start a pour project, I plan to finish it withina couple of days. I'm liking what's happening in the water in the foreground.... and hope I can keep that pretty close to what it is now by the time I am done. More tomorrow!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Venice Canal" WIP 1 (work in progress) 14" x 18"

Here is the first of a demo I did for my watercolor class. I lightly drew out my design, a canal scene from a photo I took in Venice.. a typical scene, but one I've been wanting to work with in some medium... so i decided this was as good an opportunity as any.
After stapling then taping my Arches 140lb paper to a board, and mapping out my design with pencil, I blocked out the areas I wanted to remain white with Friskett. Then I had fun pouring the paint. I first wet the paper with a wide brush, (I work over my sink) , and then begin the pouring process, starting with DaVinci Hansa Yellow, then Da Vinci Red Rose Deep, and finally Da Vinci Phthalo Blue. (i mix up a small batch of each in plastic cups with water, and in each consecutive pour throughout the process I blend ina little more paint so it's deeper in color). I let them run together, I tip the board in whatever direction necessary to move the paint where I want it to go. I keep a paper towel handy to keep things clean and wipe up drips on the edges of the board. Then I am careful to let the paper dry, first laying it flat, and eventually standing it upright, watching it until I know it's dry enough that it won't run together in places i don't want it to... Stayed tuned for the next stages in the next few days... Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Ode to Matisse"

13" x 18" Watercolor on Arches paper

This was a demo peice I did for the Tuesday morning watercolor class I teach. It was based on a Matisse landscape, which staretd very simple and loose. I sort of went wild with it .. using Friskett to block our areas and just enjoying the process of using transparent washes of "Matisse" colors... hope you enjoy.

Below are the stages as this watercolor evolved.



Stage 1
To get started, I wet the paper, front and back, taped it to my board, and "stained it" .



Stage 2
Here I began to work into the painting with transparent washes, defining the landscape. After the paint dried, I worked into it with Friskett, masking out areas that i wanted to remain light.


Stage 3
At this stage, I had already worked abck into it with paint, and removed the Friskett (a fun process!) and was left with this. I worked back into it to bring in more darks and definition.. but I like how it looked at every stage. Unfortunately, as it is with art.. the early stages are now gone forever, buried under the final painting. Thank God for digital cameras and giclee prints!



















Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Chincoteague Morning"

16" x 20" , Oil

And another from my studio clean -out that I thought I'd share..


Monday, March 16, 2009

"Tuscan Bales"

9" x 12", Oil

This another painting from my recent studio clean-out that's now in a show at the Chentini Gallery, Chagrin Falls, OH. It was a painting that I liked that I liked and thought I'd keep for myself, to remind me of driving through Tuscany, but afte a year or so in my studio, unhung, I decided it was time to offer it for sale. Hope you enkoy.. or contact the gallery for purchase information.


"When in Rome"


This scene is from a trip a couple of summers ago to Rome. The wonderful cafes and umbrellas, not to mention earth tones in the cityscapes are perfect painting subject matter...
20" x 20" , Oil

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"After Mardi Gras"


Just cleaning out my files and found this older painting ... and thought it apropos for this time of year....
For other New Orleans paintings or prints, please check out my eBay store by follwoing the link on the right of this page.
11" x 14" ,Oil

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Alexa" WIP 4 (Work in Progress)

Stage 4
Still working on it (see previous posts!)

"Alexa" WIP 3 (Work in Progress)


Here is the next installment of my portrait of my daughter. I still need to work into the background and decide how to handle the lower portion of her clothing, but you can see the progress I've made since the last blog. I worked into the face to bring in lighter tones, while leaving some of the original darker shadows to show through. I still need to go back in to those shadows just a bit, and still have an "issue" with the eye on the right... but it's starting to be a pretty good likeness of Alexa. The nice thing (and frustrating thing,too) about doing a live portrait of a face you know well, is that whatever is wrong with your painting is clearly evident to you and your family! We all realize that the distance between Alexa's eyes and the length of her nose is a little too long. She is posing for me again starting Monday, so I'll attempt to correct that in the next
portrait.. ya live and ya learn......



18" x 24" pastel on board

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Alexa" WIP (Work in Progress)


18" x 24" Pastel on pastel board


My 18 year old daughter posed for my Monday Portrait painting group, which was especially delightful for me.. it forced her to sit for 3 hours so I could work on a good , long painting of her! She'll sit for three sessions... so I have the chance to take my time and build it up slowly, and get into fairly good detail. Stage one is my charcoal rendering where I simply place the subject on the board, make decisions about composition,and try to accurately render the features. Stage two shows how I layed in color with pastels, working in the dark values, and then beginning to lay in some of the lighter tones, so I can gauge how light and how dark I'll eventually work into the peice. There was a stage in between these two, where after laying down some dark blue and purple tones, simply focusing on the shadows, I took a wet sponge and scrubbed into the painting, lightly smearing the pastels around, giving me a nice smoothe base of shadows that became more permaanant on the board. This allowed me to work back into the sandy-textured board with fresh pastels... ready to accept more pigment into the tooth. Stayed tuned for the next stages... I can't wait for Alexa to sit still again!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

"Chincoteague Fugue"

One more example of a precious little ACEO.. Art Card Edition & Original, that have become highly collectable.. not to mention, affordable in these tough economic times. People still crave art... and these ACEO's provide a way to bring a little something special into your home.

Size: 2.5" x 3.5 " on Arches watercolor paper.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Paris Jewel"

2.5" x 3.5" Watercolor on Arches paper

And another of my ACEO's... a precious little watercolor and pen & ink drawing .. an afforable mini collectable, you can find in my eBay store.



Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Storm over Assateague"


Here is another one of my ACEO's , a mini watercolor (2.5" x 3.5"), These little works of art have become quite popular over recent years for their affordabilty, precious size, and beauty. Click on the link at the right to check out my orrerings in my eBay store.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Assateague Spring


With these tough economisc times, I've been selling more of these precious little collectable ACEO's.. miniature paintings (2.5" x 3.5") which have become very popular. They are mini watercolor versions of some of my larger oil paintings... and are as much fun for me to do as they seem to be for people to collect. Please click on the link on the right to my eBay store to see the ACEO's I have available.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Bourbon Street Balcony"

11" x 14", oil
And another from my New Orleans series. Also available in a giclee print.. feel free to email me for purchase info.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Preservation Hall"

16" x 20", oil
In honor of Mardi Gras...here's another from my French Quarter series. Feel free to email me if you'd like a giclee print of this painting.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Bourbon Street Lampost"

11" x 14" , Oil
Here's another of my French Quarter series, in honor of Mardi Gras '09. I have a couple prints available with a New Orleans theme in my ebay store, but feel free to email me if you are interested in having anything you see here made into a giclee print.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"French Quarter Doorman"

11" x 14" , Oil
I'm digging out some photos of some of my New Orelans paintings I've done over the past few years... I thought it apropos withthe celebration of Mardi Gras. I do have a couple of French Quarter themed giclee prints for sale in my eBay store. Feel free to click on the link to the right to take a look!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"The Big Easy"

16" x 20", Oil
Here's another from my New Orleans series......it's such a fantastic city, and needs (and welcomes!) all the tourists they can get. I hope my paintings inspire you to go and see for yourself what a great town it is. Please visit my ebay store by clicking on the link to the right, for a giclee print similar to this original painting.

"Fat Tuesday in the French Quarter"

11" x 14" ,Oil
Today being Fat Tuesday, I thought it was apropos to show one of my New Orleans paintings. I like the rickety, beat up looking structure... common in the outskirts of the FQ.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jazz Man at the Cafe DuMonde


I've recently had prints made of some of my original oil paintings. With economic times as they are, I thought I'd make these available for people who want to buy art at more affordable prices. I'll be posting them here every day for the next week. If you're interested in purchusing one... free free to click on the link to the right for my ebay store, or contact me directly @ Soozq39@yahoo.com.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, giclee (pronounced Zhee-Clay), they are images taken from high resolution scans of original artwork, and printed with archival quality inks on a variety of surfaces including museum-quailty papers, and textured linen canvas that can be stretched on a frame. My printer specializes in fine art giclee printing, and we work closely together for color accuracy and quality control for each and every piece. The details the giclee can reproduce is incredible, and each piece truly looks like an original. 6"x12" Giclee on paper

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chincoteague Impressions

8" x 10" Giclee print on paper

I've recently had prints made of some of my original oil paintings. With economic times as they are, I thought I'd make these available for people who want to buy art at more affordable prices. I'll be posting them here every day for the next week. If you're interested in purchusing one... free free to click on the link to the right for my ebay store, or contact me directly @ Soozq39@yahoo.com.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, giclee (pronounced Zhee-Clay), they are images taken from high resolution scans of original artwork, and printed with archival quality inks on a variety of surfaces including museum-quailty papers, and textured linen canvas that can be stretched on a frame. My printer specializes in fine art giclee printing, and we work closely together for color accuracy and quality control for each and every piece. The details the giclee can reproduce is incredible, and each piece truly looks like an original


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cabo Arch

8" x 10" Giclee print on paper

I've recently had prints made of some of my original oil paintings. With economic times as they are, I thought I'd make these available for people who want to buy art at more affordable prices. I'll be posting them here every day for the next week. If you're interested in purchusing one... free free to click on the link to the right for my ebay store, or contact me directly @ Soozq39@yahoo.com.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, giclee (pronounced Zhee-Clay), they are images taken from high resolution scans of original artwork, and printed with archival quality inks on a variety of surfaces including museum-quailty papers, and textured linen canvas that can be stretched on a frame. My printer specializes in fine art giclee printing, and we work closely together for color accuracy and quality control for each and every piece. The details the giclee can reproduce is incredible, and each piece truly looks like an original


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wheaton Terrier

8" x 11" Giclee print on paper

I've recently had prints made of some of my original oil paintings. With economic times as they are, I thought I'd make these available for people who want to buy art at more affordable prices. I'll be posting them here every day for the next week. If you're interested in purchusing one... free free to click on the link to the right for my ebay store, or contact me directly @ Soozq39@yahoo.com.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, giclee (pronounced Zhee-Clay), they are images taken from high resolution scans of original artwork, and printed with archival quality inks on a variety of surfaces including museum-quailty papers, and textured linen canvas that can be stretched on a frame. My printer specializes in fine art giclee printing, and we work closely together for color accuracy and quality control for each and every piece. The details the giclee can reproduce is incredible, and each piece truly looks like an original


Monday, February 16, 2009

Tux

6.5" x 8" Giclee on paper

I've recently had prints made of some of my original oil paintings. With economic times as they are, I thought I'd make these available for people who want to buy art at more affordable prices. I'll be posting them here every day for the next week. If you're interested in purchusing one... free free to click on the link to the right for my ebay store, or contact me directly @ Soozq39@yahoo.com.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, giclee (pronounced Zhee-Clay), they are images taken from high resolution scans of original artwork, and printed with archival quality inks on a variety of surfaces including museum-quailty papers, and textured linen canvas that can be stretched on a frame. My printer specializes in fine art giclee printing, and we work closely together for color accuracy and quality control for each and every piece. The details the giclee can reproduce is incredible, and each piece truly looks like an original


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dalmation

7.15 " x 10" Giclee print on paper
I've recently had prints made of some of my original oil paintings. With economic times as they are, I thought I'd make these available for people who want to buy art at more affordable prices. I'll be posting them here every day for the next week. If you're interested in purchusing one... free free to click on the link to the right for my ebay store, or contact me directly @ Soozq39@yahoo.com.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, giclee (pronounced Zhee-Clay), they are images taken from high resolution scans of original artwork, and printed with archival quality inks on a variety of surfaces including museum-quailty papers, and textured linen canvas that can be stretched on a frame. My printer specializes in fine art giclee printing, and we work closely together for color accuracy and quality control for each and every piece. The details the giclee can reproduce is incredible, and each piece truly looks like an original

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Papillon

8" x 8" Gilcee print on paper

I've recently had prints made of some of my original oil paintings. With economic times as they are, I thought I'd make these available for people who want to buy art at more affordable prices. I'll be posting them here every day for the next week. If you're interested in purchusing one... free free to click on the link to the right for my ebay store, or contact me directly @ Soozq39@yahoo.com.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, giclee (pronounced Zhee-Clay), they are images taken from high resolution scans of original artwork, and printed with archival quality inks on a variety of surfaces including museum-quailty papers, and textured linen canvas that can be stretched on a frame. My printer specializes in fine art giclee printing, and we work closely together for color accuracy and quality control for each and every piece. The details the giclee can reproduce is incredible, and each piece truly looks like an original.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Still Life with Teapot

30" x 30" Oil on canvas

Here's something I've had on my easel in my studio for the past couple of weeks... I set up a still life inspired the these wonderful happy looking flowers my hubby brought me home recently(he "surprises me every week with them!) and decided to paint them from a slightly different persepctive. I set it up on a low platform on the floor, close to my easel, so I could look down on them. I'm working on a deep magenta colored canvas, and purposely leaving as much of it showing as I can, without distracting from the subject matter. I think it's making the yellows and greens "sing". Regarding the teapot.. I initially painted it in much more detail, but realized that the perspective was not quite right on it. So, I did what I had to do.. and redrew it in paint right ontop of the original teapot, and have begun to repaint the details. It was bothering me.. but now I think I've got it right! I always say.. you know when a painting is done, when there is nothing more on it that you can correct... there's more to correct on this... but it's at afun stage now to work on... like putting the frosting on the cake. Stayed tuned for finished piece soon......


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Laura in Komono WIP (work in progress)


16" x 20" Pastel on board

Here is the second stage of my portrait of Laura. This week I started to work into her face.. developing the right side almost completely, but needing to go back in to the left side again. It was very much in shadow in the earlier post of this portrait (see below), and I brought the values up much lighter.. too light, in fact. I'll go back in and darken up around the eye on the left, and bring back some of the deeper shadows on that side of her face. I plan to develop the dark background just alittle bit more.. but i do like the "raw" feeling of the unfinished background on the white board. (click on photo for a larger view)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Laura in Kimono", WIP(work in progress)


16" x 20" , pastel on board


Two WIP's (works in progress) from this week of lovely Laura....a model I never get tired of painting. The picture below is the earlier stage, the top one, the later. Next week I'll finish the portrait and post...


Monday, February 2, 2009

"Muse"

8" x 10" Pastel on R-tis-tx Brand board

I loved painting this portrait of my daughter.. my "muse". It's done in pastels.. I use Great American Art Works , as well as Sennelier... both of which produce creamy and luscious pastels. The board I worked on is a new product made by an artist in Texas... it's got a wonderful gritty surface that the pastels can really "bite" in to. This one is NFS... I can't part with it!





Sunday, February 1, 2009

"Chincoteague Marsh"

18" x18", Oil on canvas

I haven't painted a Chincoteague, Virginia, scene for a couple of months....it's always one of my favaorite subjects to revisit.. especially in the winter months, when I'm yearning for summer! To purchase, click on the link to the right to take you to my ebay store. Thx for looking!


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Watercolor "Pour" Painting, WIP(work in progress)





Here are a few of the stages in the process of creating a watercolor "pour" painting. In the top photo, you can see the areas that I masked out with a liquid mask called Friskett. After lightly drawing my design, I first painted the areas I wanted to remain white with the Friskett....that would be the snow on the mailboxes, and the snowflakes falling, which I created by splattering the mask -out with my thumbnail and the end of a stiff brush dipped in Friskett . Then I proceeded to wet my paper with a brush and water at my sink,(which is neccesary before every "pour" , so the paint can move on the paper) and then took watered down watercolors paints which I mixed into separate cups ( first a yellow, then a deep rose, then a deep blue), and one at a time, actually poured the paint onto the paper, and let it cover the paper, in random ways, sometimes tipping the paper one way or another to direct the puddle. After letting the paint run off the paper into the sink... I'd let it dry completely, and then again, mask out the next areas I want to remain as is, before the next pouring of paint. With each subsequent pouring, I darken the paint in the cups.. so with each pour, the paint not only covers over whatever area has been left exposed(areas without the Friskett protecting them), but gets darker from the deeper colors. After the final of 3 to 5 pourings and maskings,, I am ready to peel off the Friskett, using a rubber cement pick -up... and see the almost finsihed product. I can then go back into the painting and carefully add details with a brush, while trying to maintain the fresh look of the poured paint. Next time I do a pour painting I will take pictures of the actual process.... so if this is totally confusing.. stayed tuned!

Friday, January 30, 2009

"Montmartre, Paris"

8" x 10", Watercolor on Arches
This is another watercolor "pour" painting, done using the same technique as my previous listing of the mailboxes. It's a fun way to work, yet a challenge in thinking in advance of the placement of lights building up to darks...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Snow Day

9" x 11" watercolor on Arches paper
This was done with a technique I've been playing around with recently. It's watercolor that's poured on over a series of masking with Frisskett.. a liquid mask that blocks out areas I want to keep white, and then after subsequent watercolor "pours", I can mask other colors to protect them from the next "pour". IT's a fun technique that I am just experimenting with. .. and will soon show step by step photos here of this technique.