Despite her love of art, West followed her mom into the nursing profession in Rochester, New York, and later worked as a medical paralegal, all while continuing to paint for fun. It wasn’t until she and her husband, Jerry, and their two daughters moved to Chicago that she turned to art full time. She took classes at the Chicago Art Institute and began giving private watercolor lessons. She was also employed for 10 years by Young Rembrandts, a children’s drawing program.
Influenced by Matisse, Monet, and Renoir, West describes her work as impressionistic and whimsical and full of expressive color. Her favorite subjects are women, flowers, and landscapes. She has studied with Robert Burridge (acrylics), Jeannie McGuire (watercolors), and George Shipperley (oil pastels). More recently, she has been taking oil painting landscape classes in Greenville. “I want to do everything,” she said.
When West and her husband retired to Anderson, she became involved with the local arts community as a member of the Anderson Artists Guild and as an instructor. When she taught a "Corkscrews, Corks and Canvas" series at the Anderson Arts Center, the atmosphere, in which participants enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres and the instructor paints along with the class, “made for a lively evening,” she said. She has also taught mixed media, watercolor, and oil painting at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in Clemson.
Three years ago, West was part of a three-person show at the Anderson Arts Center. She exhibited 35 pieces, 16 of which sold.
She used to enter her artwork in a lot of shows, but nowadays, she said, “I just do it because I love it. I love observing things, and when I observe things it triggers something and I have to go create something.”
Sue West’s paintings will be featured in the AAG display case on the first floor of the Anderson Arts Center from November 8 to January 14. For more information about West, visit http://sue-west.squarespace.com/.