'After the Storm', for the soul of Robin Williams and all those who also struggle.

You will get it or you won't.  I painted this in about 2004, from a photo I took during a group camping trip to Fall Creek Falls Park in Tennessee.  Horrible storms raged all night long and there was little sleep to be had in the little cabins we were assigned.  You could clearly hear mothers comforting frightened children, the teenagers telling scary stories, couples trying to play board games by candlelight.  All struggled in various ways to 'make it through the night'.  I woke early before anyone else, as usual. The sun was just coming up.  The camp was peaceful and relatively quiet but for the stentorian chorus of apneic snorers and the delightful chirping of the birds.  I went for a long walk with my camera and later painted this scene, where a tree top had broken and cast a shadow, held up from falling by stronger trees on the other side of the path. 

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Suzanne Gaudette Way

About Suzanne Gaudette Way

I'm a late bloomer, only having started my art career in 1993.  When I was a little kid and said I wanted to be an artist, I was told to get a real job. So for many years I was an office manager, executive,  magazine editor, writer, livestock judge (oh ya),   Many times I would be told I had creative ways of problem solving.  I did think of myself as a creative crafter.    I taught myself a lot of skills in handcrafts and started teaching crochet, knitting and sewing part time in the late '90's.  My art was mainly pen & inks on canvas (self taught) but I 'graduated' to painting in about 2000. After about 6-7 years of just detailed pen & ink on canvas commissions of historic buildings and pets, I was still rather afraid to try paint and colour and was pleasantly surprised when I found it so easy!  I just hadn't known that I was learning to use a full range of values in my pen & inks.  I didn't know until much later that I had actually started with the hardest thing of all.... not pencil that can be corrected, not even pen & ink on paper.... oh no, for some crazy reason, I started with pen & inks ONLY ON CANVAS.  I came to love the look of the texture and liked very much that I did not have to frame them under glass since they were India ink on stretched canvas.  It is my personal preference that there is nothing to come between the image and the viewer and I encourage people to touch them.  The impetus for starting to paint in oil and acrylic came when a friend wanted to commission me to paint her husband's dog as his birthday gift,  then she wanted her child painted, then her home.   In 2001 a number of friends asked for lessons so I started teaching drawing and perspective. I often say that judging livestock for 20 years taught me how to see the most minute differences in a line up of animals. I did like geometry in school so I guess that and the judging just all of a sudden, clicked with me.  In 2002 I entered some competitions and won quite a few prizes. In 2005 I went full time and opened my own modest commercial retail gallery.  My students are long term and become very accomplished.  I encourage them to teach others, enter competitions (many winners!) and set up their own booths at art shows with me.  Katie, soon to be 18, has been with me 8 years and is a great role model to the other junior students.  We are putting together her art portfolio for college and it is very impressive.  The adults have been with me for 5, 6 and 9 years.  I keep small classes of 6 or less.  I do think my real talent is in connecting with people and finding their true inner artist.  All of my students have been led and encouraged to develop their own personal styles and that is the thing that I am happiest  about, that their art reflects their individuality. The sweet thing is that when I judge art shows now, my livestock experience makes me want to explain all my placings and give positive feedback but few art shows allow for that kind of exchange.  I do a lot of public painting and drawing demonstrations for educational reasons and to promote my art.  I personally feel that the tracing, copying and transfer of photos onto canvas to paint over is unacceptable as real original art but rather than be negative, I prefer to show people how truly original art is conceived, drawn, created and painted.  It's always a crowd pleaser and people love to watch the process.