Susan Sterber returns to the cover of Dan’s Papers‘ January 14, 2022 issue with another stunning snowy painting. Here, she discusses her art style, inspiring young artists and more.
What inspired this week’s cover art, “Snow Day?”
Across the street from my house there’s a big hill — perfect for sledding. I love to watch the kids come flying down on all sorts of sleds, tubes, toboggans and some very unique creations. Adults charging back up the hill with the kids — I had done the same many times with my daughter in years gone by. The last few years have been so hard on our children that finding joy in a fresh snow and having so much fun is great for them and us.
How was this piece created?
I saw this little group of sledders running up the hill and couldn’t resist a quick pencil sketch from my front door. The sketch blossomed into a colorful watercolor sketch in my sketch pad where I worked out the figures and the surrounding landscape. I drew the scene up on cold press watercolor paper and then completed the painting with watercolor paints. I spattered some white gauche paint to create the falling snow effect.
What makes “Snow Day” an ideal fit for a Dan’s Papers cover?
This piece reflects the joy and carefree spirit of a snow day, and Dan’s Papers serves up support and positivity to the community — something we all need right now. It’s also a seasonal timely scene typical of Long Island this time of year.
How would you describe your art style, and how did you develop it?
My style is a loose interpretation of the natural world. Watercolor lends itself to that purpose as it is such a fluid medium. I have been working in watercolors since high school.
For 36 years I worked as an art teacher and taught and learned from my students. Always looking for inspiration, I try to paint en plein air when possible and to simplify shapes and create exciting color. I have studied with many well-known artists learning different techniques that I can apply to my work. Joining art leagues, exhibiting in local galleries and winning awards are all part of creating a rich art environment.
What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?
Recently, I have been seeing the work of former students being exhibited, and it is gratifying to know that I was able to inspire them and give them the tools to express themselves through their art. I think it’s so great that I was able to share art with the kids and create appreciation and interest that will stay with them as they go through life.
What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?
For me, painting is like eating or drinking — I need to do it to be happy. My quest for subject matter takes me to all the most amazing gardens, arboretums, preserves and beaches. Sometimes I paint onsite, and sometimes I walk and photograph for later studio painting. When I paint, I am completely focused and engaged. It’s my form of meditation. It’s great to capture a moment in time and be able to share it in a painting.
Where can your work be seen in the coming weeks, both online and up close?
I have a painting on display in the 60th Long Island Artists Exhibition at the Art league of Long Island, Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery, 107 East Deer Park Road, Dix Hills through January 21. Another painting, also at the Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery, will be in the Members Exhibition 2022, March 19 to April 8.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts?
I hope that sharing my paintings fosters appreciation for and exploration of the beautiful natural world around us. The more we get out and enjoy it, especially now, the more we will want to share and conserve it for our children. A walk in the woods or on the seashore can be so peaceful and calming.
I have painted not only from my exploration on Long Island, but also from my travels to Arizona, Massachusetts, Florida, New York City, Upstate New York, Montreal and Europe.
For more information about the 60th Long Island Artists Exhibition, visit artleagueli.org/exhibitions.