Born to be an artist, Susan has, in recent years, become known for her
watercolors of beloved local landmarks in the South Bay of Los Angeles. In
2014 she was the featured artist in the Hermosa Beach Art Walk. She also
loves painting flowers and she has two pieces from a trip to Italy and two
from her hometown in Indiana.
Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, Susan feels very connected to the
people and places she loved as a child. She returns often to Indiana to visit
family and friends and to attend high school reunions. She landed in the
South Bay at age seventeen due to her mother's search for a warmer
climate. Her first look at the Pacific Ocean inspired the high school art
student to do a pen and ink and watercolor of the Redondo Beach
breakwater. As a first year art major in college she painted the local Point
Vicente lighthouse and regretfully gave it away. Fortunately, she has
completed two new Point Vicente pieces.
Susan went on to get her art degree and teaching credential at Long Beach
State University, married, and then started a family. Art was always in her
thoughts, but she quickly learned she was not the type of artist who could
stop to make a peanut butter sandwich. "I put my paints away while I raised
my family." Having a child with special needs led her into a life of advocacy
for families with special needs children and away from the more personal
pursuit of painting.
Twenty years ago, approaching fifty and seeing her children's lives becoming
more independent, Susan went back to college and took a watercolor class.
She was inspired by the instructor as well as the other students who ranged
in age from eighteen to over eighty. She also got a state of the art computer
and digital camera at the same time. Through studying the work of artists she
admired, she discovered that, like many of them, she enjoyed painting in the
studio from her own digital photos.
At the same time, Susan and a friend started a breakfast club for women at
"Polly's on the Pier" in Redondo Beach, California, vowing to eat there every
Tuesday for the rest of their lives. "We take a picture every week and one
day I snapped a photo of the pier itself. I decided to do a painting of it and
it turned out great."
Almost everyone in the breakfast club wanted a copy of the painting and so
did the owners and employees of the restaurant. This prompted her to learn
about Giclee prints. "I did not want to print my work in an inferior medium,
one that would fade and look cheap." She could not believe how close to the
original the Giclee looked and felt as well as being comprised of archival inks
and 100% cotton watercolor paper. So, two days after her daughter got
married in 2002, she opened her business, Watercolors by Sue.
Now,at age 70, Susan looks back fondly at 8 years of setting up an art
display in front of Polly's on the Pier in Redondo Beach, California. "I have
met so many wonderful people from all over the world." Numerous local
friends came to see Susan every week but due to permitting and lease
restrictions she will no longer be able to set up in that location.
Susan is a member of the South Bay Watercolor Society (SBWS), the
Torrance Artist's Guild (TAG).These associations connect her to artists in the
community and offer inspiring demonstrations by talented artists each month.
For over fifteen years, she has headed the committee that volunteers to
coordinate and hang shows in the Armstrong Theater in Torrance, California.
"My biggest challenge now is to find the time to paint and
continue learning the fine art of watercolor. My life is so good at
this stage that I want it all. Travel, special time with my
husband Bob, and adult children Jessica and Andy, precious time
with my grandsons and hopefully lots of wild, fun time with my
friends and extended family. I feel in a hurry to do it all, but I
don't want to forget to stop and smell, as well as paint, the roses."
In 2016 Susan was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Although she is painting less and traveling more she still plans to
sell her prints and meet the public at local shows. She recently
finished a piece depicting a sunset view of Tony's on the Pier
© 2006 Susan Vint-Schilling