Susan Wester Perez

Sometimes I paint from memory: a night, a lake, the way moonlight spilled out of the sky and onto some trees. Much of my work represents cities; the ones I've been to, and the ones that I have only imagined.

I paint ordinary objects found in nature, for a series I call "Accidental Abstractions", where I colorize the objects to the point where they are familiar, yet not identifiable. I exaggerate the nooks and crannies of sponges, the cracks of rocks, the smooth grooves in a piece of driftwood, even threads on a decaying piece of celery. I want to elevate the little things, often overlooked, to illustrate that everything on our earth is exquisite and should be celebrated.

Lately nature has been a strong theme in my work. Living in the high desert on the border of Texas, so close to Juarez and New Mexico, has revealed in me a profound love of this unique area. From the incredible skies I can see from my home on the side of a mountain, to the flowers and cacti native to the Mexican deserts, to the mountains of New Mexico, there is no shortage of inspiration.

Watercolor is my main medium, the way it blends and bleeds suits me well. I sketch out an idea, and bring in washes of paint. I like to take my cues on what direction to take the painting from the way the watercolor changes as it dries. Some areas lighten and previously unseen textures are revealed. Next, layers of color are added to create shadows and forms. Then I smooth out the lines, using lots of black for emphasis and drama. The last step is to add other media such as; colored pencil, pastel, ink and acrylics. This is sometimes necessary to achieve other textures and opacity and to bring the piece across the finish line.