The Awarding Judge for the 2020 Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival will Suzie Baker!
“Representational, painterly, impressionistic, and inspiring—these are all perfect ways to describe Suzie Greer Baker’s paintings. Yet, what matters most to the artist is recording her response to her subjects in a fresh, direct way. “I aim to create paintings that communicate truth without telling the whole story,” says the artist, “and it’s so satisfying when a viewer tells me that one of my paintings conveys the spirit of the subject in a truthful way.” Whether she’s painting a lush landscape on location, creating an evocative still life in the studio, or completing a commissioned portrait, Suzie paints with a loose, alla prima technique that is always evolving as she experiments with new approaches.
“I first landed on my preference for direct painting in college,” she recalls. “Although we explored many styles, I can point to one assignment that had a profound effect on me. My professor, Peter Jones, arranged two still lifes of simple flower cuttings in glass jars. Once our palettes were loaded and brushes were ready, we had 30 minutes to finish each painting, one right after the other. I didn’t have time to overthink, I just painted. The result was a revelation of free and expressive mark-making that I strive for even to this day.” One of Suzie’s favorite childhood recollections of making art involved her own very creative idea to make brown crayon shavings with a pair of safety scissors and glue them to a drawing of an owl. “I’m sure my teacher thought I was making a big mess,” she laughs, adding playfully, “and I’ve been making messes ever since.” Her high school art teacher, Ken Tracy, and several college painting professors encouraged her passion for painting, yet Suzie’s pragmatic side led her to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and Fine Arts from Louisiana Tech University. Following her degree program, she worked as an ad agency Art Director before trading in her Pantone swatches for a brush and palette in 2008. The change was prompted by a move to the Middle East to pursue the next phase in her husband’s career, which created an opportunity for Suzie to devote herself full time to “the things that matter most,” including her fine art. Honing her craft in those early days as a professional involved several workshops and an ongoing study of the great masters, past and present. “The best teachers are like great counselors,” she notes. “They don’t do it for you—they help you to do it for yourself.”
In recent years, Suzie has gained national acclaim, earning a stellar reputation for her versatility as both a plein-air landscape artist as well as a studio painter of still lifes, figurative works, and portraits. In fact, in the Art Renewal Center’s 13th International Salon, she was recognized in both the Plein Air and Figurative Categories, which is a truly remarkable achievement. Among the many other awards she’s received recently are Best in Show and Artists Choice Awards at the Outdoor Painters Society’s Plein Air Southwest (2018), Best in Show at Shadows on the Teche (2018), the Irvine Museum Award and Montage Award at the 2018 Maui Plein Air Invitational, an Award of Excellence from American Women Artists’ Tucson Desert Art Museum Exhibition (2017), and the Artists’ Choice award at the 2017 Telluride Plein Air Festival. Her award-winning paintings have been featured in such publications as Plein Air Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur, and Southwest Art. Also known as a generous and uplifting teacher, Suzie has just produced her first art instruction video with Streamline Publishing.” – from Suzie Baker, Fine Artist at https://www.suziebaker.com/info/suzie