Artistic Excellence 2016 | Honorable Mention: Sue Gombus


Sue Gombus, On The Edge: Grevy's Zebra, colored pencil, 12 x 12.

Sue Gombus, On The Edge: Grevy’s Zebra, colored pencil, 12 x 12.

What inspired your winning entry? The documentary “Racing Extinction” inspired my new series, On the Edge, which includes the Grevy’s Zebra piece. I was well aware of the precarious position of so much of our world’s wildlife, but this documentary brought it home for me. I’m now traveling to as many zoos and aquariums as I can to document the endangered species protected there. I arrange each species on the edge of the paper because they are on the edge of extinction in their natural environments.

How would you describe your style?
I would describe all of my work as very realistic. I have been a pastelist for many years, but I chose to do the On the Edge series in colored pencil.

How did you first get interested in art?
I was interested in animals first, and art came much later. The turning point for me was in 2006, when I was chosen to spend two weeks at the Cheetah Conservation Fund with Dr. Laurie Marker in Namibia. I took a lot of photos and, when I got back, I decided I needed to draw or paint the amazing images I had seen.

Where did you study art? I have no formal art training, but I’ve painted with John and Suzie Seerey-Lester, studied wolves with Jan Martin McGuire, and traveled to East Africa with John Banovich.

What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? Getting into the Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum!

When you’re not painting, what do you enjoy doing? When I’m not painting, I’m out in the field. Sometimes I spend more time in the field than in the studio. Observing wildlife in its natural habitat allows me to use all of my senses and to bring that sensory information into my work.

Where can collectors find your work?

This story was featured in the December 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  December 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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