Emerging Artists | Suzie Baker

Expressive scenes of life

Suzie Baker, Khayt and Ralph in the Shade, oil, 16 x 20.

Suzie Baker, Khayt and Ralph in the Shade, oil, 16 x 20.

This story was featured in the December 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

When Suzie Baker was a young girl, she watched Olympic ice skaters glide gracefully across the ice. The skaters made it look so easy. But then Baker strapped on a pair of skates herself and soon learned “the wobbly truth.” Today the Texas-based artist considers painting to be similar to Olympic skating: “To make something that is hard look effortless takes a great deal of focused attention,” she says. “One has to draw, draw, draw; paint, paint, paint; and when in doubt, squint.”

Baker has, in fact, been drawing and painting like crazy lately. This past year alone she has participated in 10 shows and juried competitions, including the American Impressionist Society National Juried Exhibition, the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational, and Telluride Plein Air. She is winning awards, too. At this year’s Oil Painters of America Western Regional Exhibition, she won a merit award, and at a recent Portrait Society of America competition, she took home second-place honors.

Baker graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine art and advertising from Louisiana Tech University and spent a number of years working as a designer and art director at advertising agencies. About eight years ago she traded in her Pantone swatches for paintbrushes, and she hasn’t looked back. In the interim years she has taken workshops with an array of painters she refers to as modern masters, including Rob Liberace, Dan Gerhartz, and Clayton J. Beck III.

An artist who is at ease in all genres, Baker favors whatever work sits on her easel at the moment. The inspiration for her loose, expressive pieces can spring from anywhere, the artist says—from a bunch of oily sardines at the seafood counter in her local grocery store to a lovely model in her weekly figurative drawing sessions at the Woodlands Art League in the Houston area. “I look for what interests me and try to keep that communicated all the way through until the end of the painting,” Baker says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff

Reflection Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

Featured in the December 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art December 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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