What makes a painter, a painter? The accumulated spices of many generations go into that recipe. Sensitivity plays a part. Being a third child of a Mother who did not want to have a third child, my birth was the “accident” of two extremely talented, intense, brilliant and determined parents whose forebears worked their brains and hands to death. Perhaps being descended from diary farmers, cattlemen, craftsmen, musicians, orphans, immigrants, cultural aesthetes, Rabbis, sages, domestic goddesses and balabustas, added to the mix and maybe all the kvass and schnapps and chicken soup my ancestors drank to stay alive, to dilute and wash away their suffering, heated my genes and forged my artistic passion. All I know is I have been making art since I was a toddler, before I could walk.

The urge to create is part of me. Like so many painters, who have to sit or stand and be with their work until it’s done, the physical price that comes from spending hour after hour in a studio, is a stiff bone-glassy, brittle feeling that finally envelopes me as I stand at my sink washing up brushes alone at the end of the day. Yet, often there is great spiritual elation, though my bones may ache. Painting gives me a feeling of being in connection with divine inspiration, a gift given by some higher power. Painting has been my saving grace. It has kept me productive, earnest and filled with gratitude. It has given me an outlet for self-expression. This artistic intensity, ceaseless, mysterious, contrarian, is a form of emotional witnessing and ordains my everyday life with magic. When I was young, I made drawing after drawing. My first drawing tool was a red crayon and then a pencil or a ballpoint pen, then, later, oil and acrylic paint. I have spent countless hours teaching myself how to paint and getting better at accessing my visions. My style developed as a mix of personal interpretations confronted with outer influences, visual and emotional, the unexpected woven through historic references, irony and holiness existing together. Alert, spontaneous, my journey is forged by shape and color and an ascending spirit. Making art is nothing more and nothing less than eye-body coordination plus intent. While painting, my goals are to manipulate shape and color to create a dynamic, to bring forth my emotions, to communicate with the viewer and to tell a story. During the painting process, intoxicating enjoyment comes from utilizing the brilliance of color, the play of shapes, and projections of emotion to create magic on a canvas. I was born to paint.


December 28, 2013

Susan Schiffer