Artist Spotlight: Susan Lyon

Basket from Guatemala
"My style is realistic with as much impressionistic color as possible. I like to combine wide brushes for sweeping strokes in the background with small, soft brushes for subtle details in my center of interest." ~Susan Lyon

Susan Lyon is one of the most recognized representational painters of our time.  Her work is in premier galleries internationally and her workshops are booked months in advance.  She and artist husband, Scott Burdick, travel extensively capturing the beauty of other cultures in landscapes, portraits, and video.  Yet, graciously, Susan has taken the time to share a bit with us about her brushwork.

Veiled Beauty
Susan's interest in art and painting were inspired by a television show on Georgia O'Keefe where she connected emotionally with the art for the first time.  She went on to study painting at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and the Palette and Chisel Club where she met Scott.  Susan works wet on wet in oils and then wet on dry for the finishing details, thinning her paints if needed to obtain scratchy brushwork against the opaque lighter strokes.  She uses mostly flats and filberts in natural bristle and mongoose, but sometimes uses sable brushes for fine detail.  Even in her drawing, Susan will often use a brush to soften edges.  

Yellow Hat
Susan is very specific about the materials she uses and instructs her students to use what she uses in order to obtain the best results.  "Papers, canvases and paints all have a different feel to them; you must know what kind of effect you want and use the right materials to get that."

I was privileged enough to get to work with Susan in person as she created a DVD that I produced a few years ago, Mastering Portrait DrawingIf you think her work is beautiful here or in person, you should watch her paint.  Click here to reach more of her videos and lessons as well as the DVD mentioned above.  You can see a preview demo of Susan's upcoming online video lesson below.

Susan's work will be in a group exhibit at the Maxwell Alexander Gallery opening this coming Friday in Culver City, California.  If you're anywhere close, the exhibit has a number of fabulous artists participating and a preview can be seen on the Gallery website:

If you are interested in studying with Susan, she will be teaching a workshop in portraiture this coming September in Taos, New Mexico at the E.L. Blumenschein Home.  You can find out more details at her website:  Blumenschein

To see more of Susan's work, you can visit numerous galleries around the country that hold her in their collections or you can visit her website.

Keep Painting,

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.