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Sue Cheney: Athlete Turned Artist

Sue Cheney, a long-time member of the Anderson Artists Guild, has always been athletic. But growing up in a small Nebraska town during a time before girls had opportunities for organized sports, she contented herself with cheerleading. At the University of Northern Colorado, she majored in physical education and participated in intramural gymnastics, igniting a lifelong passion.

After teaching in the school system for half a dozen years, she focused on gymnastics. She owned a private school in Charleston for five years and has worked for Upstate Gymnastics in Pendleton and the Anderson YMCA. But most of her career was as a PE and art teacher and administrative assistant at the Montessori School of Anderson, where she spent 20 years before retiring.

She and her husband now live in an old farmhouse in Fair Play and enjoy traveling with a pop-up camper.

Though she dabbled in art for a long time, it’s only in the last 10 years that she has devoted more time to it. She is drawn to the challenge and versatility of watercolor, often painting animals, mostly from snapshots she’s taken with her phone. Her favorite subject is frogs, and she loves bright colors.

She also enjoys handbuilding with clay, creating fun little creatures like fish.

She and her husband, Phillip, had a two-person show at the arts center in Greenwood eight years ago, she with her paintings and clay work, he with his photographs.

During the pandemic, Cheney has begun experimenting with acrylics and markers and different media. But overall it’s been a struggle artistically. “I have moments when I paint all the time and moments when I don’t feel like doing it,” she said. “It’s hard not to be with other artists at this time.”

In the past few weeks, though, a remedy has materialized. She and some other artists have gotten together outside, painting at a safe distance from one another. “It’s a way to be together again,” she said.

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