This Chicago area artist does pseudo-realistic and abstract paintings in watercolor and other aqueous media. While they appear realistic, a closer look reveals how the artist incorporates a variety of techniques to create the finished affect. Suzanne's passion is aqueous media as an expression of the world around her. She is interested in the forms of nature combined with the structures of man, and the endless variety they present. Recent works demonstrate a serious attention to patterns created by common objects, and how they integrate with their surroundings and each other. Suzanne states, "I have a genuine attraction for groups of things, and the way they interact visually. It is fascinating how objects can be so similar and so different at the same time." The artist works primarily from life and her imagination, using photographs only as reference.
Suzanne Hetzel was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and has lived and painted throughout the United States. The opportunity to travel has allowed Suzanne to experience a broad variety of environments that have been a source of great inspiration.
Suzanne began painting at the age of 8. She first experienced watercolor through the lessons by her grandmother, Dorothea Mendte Taylor. Her early studies included work at the Wallingford Art Center in Pennsylvania under the tutelage of Cyril Gardner. She later graduated from Moore College of Art and Design where she was privileged to study with Georg Sklar, Charles Fahlen, Edward Shenton, Janette Banks, and Robert Koffler. Recently, Suzanne has been painting in a variety of media (acrylic, pastels), with a focus on people and their life experiences as the thrust of her subject matter. She states, "Artists cannot be defined by a media or a subject. Their inspiration and form of expression must change to keep growing creatively".
In addition to her fine arts endeavors, Suzanne has worked as a commercial artist, written and illustrated a children's book entitled Nony the Pirate, designed textiles for R.A. Briggs, and taught various Commercial Design courses at College of Du Page, Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She currently teaches watercolor, drawing, and studio classes and workshops to adults.
Suzanne has paintings and drawings in collections throughout the United States and Great Britain with works in public and private institutions as well as private collections.
Suzanne is a Board Member of The Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Founder and Past President of the Kendall Arts Guild, Kendall County, Illinois, and Founder and Lifetime Member of the Antioch Fine Arts Foundation, Antioch, Illinois.
Recent Prizes and exhibits:
Signature Member – Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, Illinois Watercolor Society
Louisiana Watercolor Society International Exhibit, 2011, 2010, 2009
Illinois Watercolor Society, 2012,2011, 2010
Pikes Peak International, 2011
Splash 11, 2010, Contributing Artist
California Watercolor Association Exhibit, 2010
Pennsylvania Watercolor Society International Exhibit, 2011, 2010, ‘09, ‘08, ‘07
Merit Award, 2010
Pittsburgh Watercolor Society Aqueous Exhibit 2010, 2006
Cincinnati Art Club Aqueous Exhibit 2010, 2007, 2006
Richeson 75 – Florals, 2009
Society of Watercolor Artists, 2009 – Merit Award
Transparent Watercolor Society National Exhibit, 2008, 2004
Canadian National Society of Watercolor National Exhibit, 2007
Wyoming Watercolor Society National Exhibit, 2007 (Award),
Richeson Art National Landscape Exhibit, 2007
Richeson Art National Artists Choice Exhibit 2007
City of Aurora Exhibit, 2006
Rhode Island Watercolor Society National Exhibit 2006
Plano Arts Center Plano, TX National Exhibit 2006
Lake County Women's Coalition “Woman in the Arts” Award, 2004
College of Lake County Recent Works 2003 (Award)
Urban Edges V - Barrington Area Art Center 2001
Featured Artist - Deer Path Gallery, Lake Forest, Illinois
Women's Works, Northwest Area Arts Council, 2000,2001
Painting with aqueous media is an unpredictable, joyous experience. Each time I put my brush to the paper or canvas I experience freedom and control simultaneously. While many think that aqueous media are unforgiving, I find them to be an inspirational process.
The subject matter I choose is whatever inspires me at the time I open my palette. I could not be constrained by painting one specific thing - people, flowers, whatever. There is too much beauty and interest in our world to limit the way we view it. I am particularly fascinated by how things may be similar and yet different. For this reason, I often paint groups, and their related patterns; groups of fruit, groups of trees, groups of chairs, groups of people, groups in general. By keeping my subject matter unlimited I am forced to continually hone my skills of drawing and composition. This challenge is one of the things that makes me evolve artistically. In addition to varied subjects, I bring to my paintings the unique view I offer as an individual and as a woman. This is my channel for expression of emotion and individuality. You can see my passion in the splatters and sprays, my determination in the fine detail, my curiosity in the surface treatments, my sensitivity in the mixes and glazes. I am the painting.
Paintings, must be the expression of myself at my highest capabilities in the moment I am creating. Inspiration comes from real life, but occasionally I work from photographs that I may take. I compose from my head, occasionally sketching but usually just "diving in". I thrive on viewing the world from a different point of view - seeing things as maybe they had not been seen before, or seeing things that usually go unnoticed. The greatest expression of myself is through color. My palette has only one "brown", no black, no white, no grey. It is with these limitations that I am forced to use the richness of color, and not fall into the dullness of shadows.
I use only the finest materials; pigments from America and England, paper from France and Italy. These materials are intended to endure indefinitely if properly cared for. I want the owners of my paintings to be able to enjoy them for as long as they wish to have them.