About the artist

Getting ready for an art show.

Meridian Library display of 11 of  my paintings in December 2017

Seeking beauty through watercolor and acrylic painting

Susan Elle Studio


Artist's statement:

Spiders spin webs to catch insects.  Some of the webs are utilitarian and have random form.  Other webs are stunningly beautiful, especially when highlighted with the sparkle of morning dew.  These webs show planning and the artistry of patterns.  I identify with the spiders who create beautiful webs.  I paint seeking beauty, mostly in nature.  My hope is to bring  tranquility to those who see my work.

​Comments from people who have my work in their homes is that the paintings bring feelings of calm.

​I am drawn to scenes or subjects in nature that have radiant color and interesting shadow and light.  Studying under Kathy Dunham in Palm Desert, California taught me the importance of good lighting to define the shapes of any subject.

​I usually begin a painting by taking a photo of the subject or scene.  To make the composition stronger I sometimes change the arrangement of elements of the photo.  I sketch on paper first and decide what will be the center of interest and its location in the composition.  Sometimes I choose and make a sample test strip of the colors I will use in the painting.

​Some subjects call for the softer medium of watercolor.  In some of my acrylic paintings I use  layering with transparent, diluted pigment, so the effect is like watercolor.  The acrylic texture mediums are fun to use.  Acrylic paint can be heavy or light depending on the subject or my mood.  I must be making lots of endorphins when I paint because of the positive feelings I have with a brush in my hand.


I have been painting since my college years in the 60's. My first art class was held in the evening in a pathology lab on the campus of Oregon Health Sciences University.  I was a nursing student and wanted to have an extra- curricular activity apart from science. The teacher was a Northwest watercolor artist who offered the art class to people on the campus.  We painted on black slate tables surrounded by shelves full of lab specimens in glass jars. The teacher, Charles Mulvey, taught us to paint seascapes and landscapes using simple strokes of our brushes.

Over the years I have had other teachers in classes and workshops.  One workshop introduced me to acrylics.  The texture possible with acrylics is intriguing.  I treasure the insights other artists and teachers have shared with me.

Painting has been a way for me to preserve memories and interpret the beauty around me.  Nursing has taken me around the world.  From 1969 to 1971 I was a missionary nurse in Viet Nam.  I have worked as a nurse in seven states.  As a New Yorker, I met my husband, and we brought two sons into the world.    Each location has inspired me to paint.  Creating art was my respite when I was a hospice nurse for 15 years.  Maternity nursing in Palm Springs was my most recent job, and I have been retired since 2011.

California was my home for seven years, now I live in Idaho.    I am a member of the  Desert Art Center in Palm Springs and the Boise Art Source Gallery.  I have sold work in galleries in Palm Desert and Sun Valley.  My paintings have been selected for various juried shows including the Palm Springs Art Museum annual Artists' Council Exhibition (six times).  Two of my paintings have been chosen by the city of Meridian, Idaho to be displayed on traffic boxes.
In the summer I enjoy setting up my canopy in juried art festivals.  I love to meet people, share ideas with other artists, and I have sold my work in these settings in California, Oregon and Washington.