Category Archives: Studio paintings

Who Are You? Show at Red Head Gallery for Nuit Blanche 2017

I’m delighted to be part of Red Head Gallery‘s Nuit Blanche exhibit this year, called Who Are You?

There are two pieces, part of a series I have planned called “The Cinderella Stories.” Here’s the artist’s statement I provided to the gallery:

“The Cinderella Stories” is a series that explores the mythology, culture and experience of corporate capitalism through my personal lens of a female participant. 

After I left a corporate career in 2001, I spent a lot of time re-evaluating my beliefs about myself and about the world of business. Art was a natural way for me to tackle working through these thoughts and emotions. This work started as individual artist trading cards, created by laminating a set of casino playing cards with old book pages, then collaging and painting on them, while preserving meaningful words.

Mounting them together in the form of ‘quilts’ provided a feminine form to contrast with the comments on corporate capitalism embedded in the small pieces. The addition of objects of personal significance provides a dimensional and archival quality to the pieces. The links evoke for me the need for personal armor in the organizational context.

Each of these quilts is conceived of as a chapter in a book that charts the indoctrination and path to enlightenment of the artist.

The “Who Are You” exhibition is the first time these very personal pieces have been shown in public. They were created over a period of time, then mounted together as you see here.

The Cinderella Stories Chapter 5: I am Enlightened – Copyright 2006 Susan G Abbott, All Rights Reserved

Mounting these artist trading cards was a tricky process. I created this form, which I call a “quilt” because of the way pieces are assembled.

I no longer use the casino playing cards as a substrate, because they warp easily, even after being laminated. So now I use heavy watercolor paper as the starting point. The images collaged onto the cards come from a wide variety of sources, including my own photographs and rubber stamps I have created.

I do love making these, but have gotten away from them in recent years. In part because I was not sure I would ever be able to show them. When I saw the opportunity with Red Head Gallery, it seemed like a perfect fit. So I may now be inspired to do a few more in the series.

Thanks for stopping by!





Below Ritchie Falls, Spring – making a painting

One of my favorite places in Haliburton is Ritchie Falls, a small waterfall park where you can scramble among the rocks and trees. Looking up at the falls or down at the swirling water below the falls are both very pleasurable activities, especially on a hot day.

Lots of people use the spot for picnics, and even swimming. And with so many great places to set up on the rocks, in some shade, it is also a popular spot for plein air painting.

I took several pictures there in the spring, and made some charcoal sketches from them.  This one had a design and value structure I liked a lot, so I also sketched some possible colors for the painting.

I was focusing on the value structure in the scene, reducing the complexity of the environment to big shapes, with a combination of hard and soft edges. The brushwork is lively, expressive of a moment in time with bright light in some places, deep shadow in others, and constant changes of wind, leaves, and water.

I was very pleased with this painting, which is currently hanging in my home, but will be included in some fall shows in the local area. I don’t expect I will have it long, and will be sorry to see this one find a new home.

Thanks for stopping by.

Scotts Dam Road in Spring

I spent two weeks this spring working in a shared studio in Haliburton, at the art school there. A wonderful and inspiring time spent with other advanced artists, it was just heavenly.

A good friend, also an artist, had invited me to stay at her home in the area. One rainy Saturday, I roamed around the county taking pictures.

There is a wonderful little country road leading to Scott’s Dam that had a large number of trilliums blooming at the side of the road. That was the inspiration for this painting.

The trilliums started out looking like a flower, but as I kept working the painting, I ultimately decided to paint them out and simply leave the suggestion of the white amid the dark emerging greenery, and deep shade of the trees.

Non-artists sometimes think that abstract painting must be quite easy. My own experience has been that it is much more challenging than painting in a naturalistic or realistic manner. I very much enjoy abstract art, but do not often finish something quite this removed from the original inspiration.

I hope you enjoy it too. Thanks for stopping by.

Clouds on Tamarack Lake

A few years ago I stayed at a lovely cottage lodge on Tamarack Lake. I really liked the little island that could be easily seen from our cottage, and created a plein air painting while I was there. I was never totally happy with the painting, and decided to tackle it again from a fresh start.

To refresh my memory of the lodge, I pulled out my own photos, and also looked through the wonderful gallery of images on the lodge site.  Reiner Arnold and Barbara Kraus, the proprietors, are also professional photographers.

Freshly inspired, I reinterpreted the scene according to my own ideas of the place. The island is still there, perhaps a little more distant than in real life, so that the clouds can take on a bigger role.

I actually painted this a couple of times this year, in different styles, but this is the one I like best. The variations in the blue of the water, the pinks and oranges in the clouds, and the haziness in the sky are all effects I was working to achieve.

This painting is currently hanging in my home, but I will be showing it in the next few months at local group shows in Toronto.

Thanks for stopping by!



Landscapes from my studio

acrylic painting of red cedar trees with light effects on plants

Light Through the Trees

The majority of the paintings on this site are plein air paintings, meaning the painting was started and finished outdoors on site.

I often take photos of things when I am on walks in the country that I hope to paint later. One such example is below. This was a walk near the Collingwood area, and I thought the light coming through the dark tree canopy was beautiful on the low plants below. The plants have organized themselves to catch the light, filtering down both warm and cool.

The ground always has a lot of red in a cedar forest, and this makes a beautiful contrast with the green-blue of the plants. This is an acrylic on panel painting called Light Through the Trees.