By Bonnie Gangelhoff
While some artists find inspiration for landscape paintings with their feet firmly planted on the ground, Colorado painter Susan Schiesser is inspired by views from the air. About four times a year, she rents a helicopter for two hours and flies over the Steamboat Springs area near her home. From her window seat, she experiences moments of introspection. “It’s a form of meditation, punctuated with subliminally perceived crop signs, urban lightshows, endless water, and white noise,” she explains. From this vantage point, Schiesser also shoots dozens of digital images that she uses as reference material back in her studio.
Her abstract oil landscapes, and even her more realistic flower depictions, vibrate with movement and offer viewers the sense that they are, in fact, looking down on the world from the heavens. Schiesser, who once painted more traditional landscapes, says her work began evolving in this new direction about two years ago. “I felt like I was painting to please other people and gain acceptance,” she says. “Then, I started drawing inspiration from within, and suddenly I felt at peace with my work.”
These days she has come to crave the experience of flying. Unlike most travelers, for Schiesser it’s the journey that’s sublime, not the destination. She is represented by TEI Modern Contemporary Gallery, Steamboat Springs, CO.
Featured in “Artists to Watch” November 2005