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 Susan Kauffman Evans  (1952 - )

About: Susan Kauffman Evans


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Lived/Active: Colorado      Known for: still life painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Susan Evans

Photo of Susan Kauffman Evans

Often Known For
still life painting

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Born in 1952, Susan grew up drawing animals, people and the landscape of her rural upbringing near Mooringsport, Louisiana. Her mother was an amateur oil painter and always encouraged her to draw and recognized her daughter's talent. Having a constant supply of sketchbooks, pencils, and a mother who kept paints and easel in the house was Susan's primary source of inspiration in her early years. In addition, the Time/Life series of Art was in the family library. Susan was always fascinated with Rembrandt and Vermeer and the other Dutch Masters of the 17th century and would pore over these books for hours.

With the emphasis on a trade and an education in commercial art, Susan graduated from Commercial College in Shreveport in 1972 completing one diploma program in Commercial Art. For the next 20 years she designed logos and illustrated catalogs and did production art for printers and publishers in Shreveport, Louisiana and later in Houston, Texas.

Settling in Montrose, Colorado, Susan attended Mesa State College of Grand Junction and Western State College of Gunnison. Susan focused on taking art lessons and got to know many professional artists in the area. One day while doing typesetting for a client, she met Malcolm Bryan, another artist who was just beginning a career as an oil painter.

Susan apprenticed with Malcolm in their downtown studios. After five months of intensive learning in this one-on-one method, Susan had her still life paintings accepted by Breckenridge Gallery in Breckenridge, Colorado. Shortly thereafter she was accepted in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Basalt (Aspen), Colorado; and Telluride, Colorado. In order to gain other influences and broaden her skills, Susan took two workshops in Taos, NM, one with Gregg Kreutz and another with David Leffel, both masters of this style of painting and both major influences of her work.

The happenstance meeting with Malcolm Bryan brought Susan back to her love of the Dutch Masters of the 17th century. Susan says of her work, "I love the way humble objects can be dramatized. When choosing objects to paint, I stick with archetypal shapes and images, common things -- the way of the Dutch Northern Baroque period. I am also fascinated with the political and social climate which gave rise to the Still Life as an art form in that area. With the break from the Catholic Church and the King of Spain, the artists were stating clearly that the more humanistic, secular way of life was worthy of paint and canvas and talent. They endowed ordinary objects and people with an elevated status by painting them. They also were clearly saying that the paint was the thing -- not the subjects, but the paint, and therefore the technique. I attempt to subordinate all my objects to my technique and my unique view of the priority of light and shadow."

Chiaroscuro is the term used to describe the light-to-dark effect in her paintings and how it reveals form and depth and space. Susan's commitment to the study of this classic technique is responsible for the rapid rise in her career as an oil painter.

Susan's paintings have been collected by private buyers from all over the world. One piece, Homage to Raku, was purchased by the Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The Raku piece was created by a local potter.

After 5 years of painting professionally, Susan began entering juried shows and auctions in her local region -- a step omitted due to her quick and easy entry into professional galleries. She also donates paintings for fund raising efforts. In February 2002 her work, Tuscan Still Life, brought an auction price equal to its retail price.

In keeping with the old world appeal of her paintings, Susan uses reproduction custom frames. Her husband, professional frame maker Allan Krill, uses Old World techniques, hand gilding, real gold leaf and other antiquing, distressing techniques to make the frames appear similar to the ones used in the 17th century on the Dutch master works. Most are gilded, but many are the black over red style, and some have corner decorations. As a professional, Susan appreciates the value of having her pieces properly framed.

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