She welcomes commissions of a variety of themes enjoying the challenges they demand of her, favoring paintings of children playing, adults dancing and beach scenes. In the fall of 2010 a new series of giant vegetables and decadent food began as a direct result of illustrating The Homeport Cookbook, by Will Holtham which was released in 2011.
One of my most asked questions is, “Why no faces?” My answer: I realized it was not necessary. My dancers are about the motion, the emotion and the colors and patterns of dance. The added benefit is that by having faceless people it allows the viewer to see themselves in the painting.
Another question is. Why dance?” I have learned that my best paintings come from the heart. NO, I am not a dancer, but give me good music, a large canvas and paint…guaranteed… dancers will appear. I often begin my painting by pouring colors on the canvas, layering them until I begin seeing the forms of the dancers. Then I will draw to define the images, add color with a brush, perhaps pour again then define with brush, palette knife or fingers. It is a constant work of balance.
I took a break from the Dance series. It was harvest season. The lush vegetables were everywhere. The first painting I did of my Veggie series was a 4’x5’ of five onions. Then I painted another 4×4 that I titled The Elegant Eggplants. Since then tomatoes, peppers, blueberries, raspberries, garlic have all been welcome subjects.
Many wonder about the variety of techniques I use. The answer is simple. I was trained as an art teacher learning to use many tools and processes. I feel that each theme is a new problem to solve and often lends itself to a unique technique.
I often begin with an idea and have learned I must give into the process…and accept my original idea may not be the outcome.
I am constantly struck with how fortunate I am to be a painter.
Susan Tobey White defines herself as artist and educator.
As an artist she is best known for her colorful, energetic paintings of dancers which inspire smiles and laughter from the viewer. Scenes of impassioned dancers in crowded dance halls, swinging to their own rhythms summon nostalgic times and practically dance right off the canvas. From professional dancers to dancers at heart Susan’s work is continually praised for the feeling of well being it evokes.
Her love of Maine and the area she lives is evident in her quieter paintings oflandscapes, seascapes and paintings of people working and playing.
She has designed the 2004 and 2007 North Atlantic Blues Festival Poster and the 2008-2012 Maine Celtic Festival Poster.
In the summer of 2002 after having taught elementary art for 15 years, Susan opened High Street Studio & Gallery in a historic building of downtown Belfast where she has a seasonal gallery and teaches painting workshops.
Her work is in private collections throughout the United States, in Canada, Europe and Australia. Her work has been in numerous galleries in Maine, and in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.
As an educator she respects the individual needs of her students.
“Athough I do demonstrate, the focus is a hands on experience. I do not like to paint on a students work. I feel strongly that we are all unique. We see and create things in our own ways. My hope is that I will give tools to all that will help my students in their own creative process.”
Having taught elementary art for 15 years she has the ability to bring concepts to their simplest form yet gains amazing results from her adult students. Her acrylic and watercolor workshops are for beginning students as well as those with more experience. Her teaching has been enhanced by having become certified as a Golden Artist Educator through Golden Artists Colors a well respected manufacturer of acrylic paints.