With portraiture, I’m fascinated that an essentially formulaic structure can yield so much individuality and emotion. With each piece, I’m investigating structure, symmetry/asymmetry, light and shadow, color, etc. But most importantly, I’m exploring the reflection of one’s inner world as reflected in the human face. Each piece is a collaboration of human emotion – the model’s, mine projected onto my subject, the viewer’s projected onto my work.
And each piece is a map of emotions. Not easy to decipher, but all the information is there. I work in layers – drawing, underpainting, color blocking and glazing, transitional layers, final layers – always with the hope that each has its own revelations.
My art also reflects of our collective state of mind. I believe that the artist and the viewer are collaborators. I make an interpretation of what I see and then give it over to the audience. The beholder then sees what I have made and absorbs that information to merge with their personal experiences and story. They become emotionally connected to the piece. And in the space between my work and the viewer’s own experiences, a new piece of art is made that is ephemeral and unique to the beholder.
I see my work as beginning a conversation with the viewer. The initial impression of the piece opens a dialogue. The viewer brings their own world view and experience to the piece. A second look draws the viewer in a little further, and together we co-create a visual exchange that has a personal emotional meaning.
I have always worked with a limited amount of colors on my palette. I prefer to mix my own colors as much as possible to get the right hue and temperature, so I stick to a pretty basic palette made up mostly of earth pigments. I will bring in other colors as needed for an individual piece, but I’ve developed my “core” palette through a lot of experimentation and it’s like a dear friend – supportive and comforting!
Susannah Fisher didn’t think she could draw portraits, so for years she drew everything but the face. Then defying her inner critic, she took a portrait painting workshop and has been making portraits ever since. She draws and paints from life, photographs and video – sometimes using all three together as reference. Susannah is a self-taught artist in the classical realist tradition and works primarily with oils or pastel. Her work is held in private collections.