From the Westchase Artists Society's June monthly meeting our Artist of the Month is a new member, so this post will help all of us get to know Susan Hawley a little bit better. I hope you enjoy Susan's interview as much as we did! So without further delay...
Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Susan: I grew up in Western New York as the daughter of a farmer and artist mom and one of 5 kids. Growing up on a farm and riding horses across the fields, I gained my love of the outdoors! I have been an extremely active person all my life - am a past professional white water river guide on the Sierra mountain rivers and have hiked and skiied throughout the Sierras and Lake Tahoe and Yosemite as well as the Teton mountains while living in Jackson, Wyoming (having skiied there over 80 days one year!). I have traveled to Europe and lived in Switzerland and then to Colomiba, South America and Mexico.
I am an entrepreneur at heart, creating Hawley Physical Thereapy in San Jose, CA and Lake Tahoe, CA. I have retired from P.T. and have recently moved to Tampa to be closer to my daughter and my 8 month old grandson. I presently own Spencer Morris Investments, LLC, a real estate investment company. I am a proud mom and now grandmom of 8 month old Xavier!
Question: What first made you want to become an artist:
Susan: In spite of loving art of all taypes, I never thought of being an artist myself - not sure why - perhaps I figured I couldn't. I watched my mom paint in oils and watercolors but never thought of painting myself. Then, one Fall day nearly 4 years ago, as I was recovering from a near fatal car accident, I went for a drive to see the Fall colors - wandering and wondering what I was going to do with my life. I was feeling quite lost and happened on a small village art shop and gallery. As I lamented to the owner, she suggested I take a watercolor class that coincidentally was to start the next week! Well... I started... and haven't looked back since!
Question: Describe your creative process.
Susan: Wow! Well, my "process" is ever evolving as I paint more. I love taking classes, going to demonstrations, and just pushing myself to continue to try new things. I find that since I came out of my accident somewhat like a phoenix and since I picked up a brush, I see the world with a different eye - a new eye that enjoys shapes and colors and movement!
I take photos galore, read art books but my favorite is painting outdoors - en plein aire! Sometimes I finish a painting in one sitting, sometimes it takes weeks.
Hey - I just remembered - I, once long ago, enjoyed photography using an SLR! I supposed I pull on these experiences and knowledge base for composition/shapes and color?
Question: Apart from creating art, what do you do?
Susan: - I spend as much time with my grandson as possible.
- I work in my company rehabbing homes and happily am in charge of the landscaping - which I love to design and create!
- I volunteer with groups like Foundation for a Drug-Free World, Youth for Human Rights International and Citizens Commission for Human Rights
Question: Favorite books, movies, websites, groups:
Susan: Books: Harry Potter and Twilight Series, historical novels, some Sci Fi; Movies: Harry Potter, The Devil Wears Prada, Disney; Websites: see above groups; groups: see above groups plus Niagra Frontier Watercolor Society and now- Westchase Artists Society!
Susan thank you so much for taking the time to go through our interview!!! We welcome you to our group of artists and are happy that you made the move to Tampa.
Stay tuned for next month's Artist of the Month interview. Until then, if you're interested in attending a Westchase Artists Society meeting, we meed the 4th Tuesday of the month. Our next meeting will be at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center in the Community Room. Located just off Countryway Blvd. behind the fire station.