Artist Susan Calvert celebrates color and the canine set in her abstract watercolor paintings. Although her severe allergies prevent a lot of outdoor activity, she brings the beauty of nature’s palate indoors where she can always enjoy it.
Although summer is the time for outdoor fun, when you are limited by severe asthma, you have to bring the bright cheerfulness of the outdoors inside. Artist Susan Calvert has done just that. After Susan, formerly a decorative painter, was diagnosed with a severe form of asthma in which the slightest scent of perfumes, surface cleaners and other chemical odors can trigger an attack, she was forced to curtail her life significantly. While others would be daunted, Susan responded to this with a rainbow of watercolor, reinventing herself as a “canine color expressionist,” capturing the emotions and actions of her favorite furry friends engaged in outdoor play.
“I needed an object for my life drawing class that was alive, and although I didn’t have children, I had dogs,” Susan said, from her home in Illinois. “Well, at the time I didn’t really have any dogs. My dog Tenton had passed away, but I took his photos and just started drawing them and painting them.
Soon after, Susan and her husband Steve became the proud owners of another rescued Labrador named Lucy. Lucy became her new inspiration and companion when she was forced to monitor her exposure to the outside world. Susan uses Lucy as the model for her drawings, but paints her in different colors and styles because she wants everyone to see “it can be anybody’s dog. Dogs are potpourris like we are,” and are made up of different breeds, emotions and dreams.
Although Susan admits that her illness can be a set back at times, she has continued to dedicate herself to her paintings and her six-month-old business called Good Girl Designs. “I am a big Oprah fan and when I saw her guests turn negative situations into a positive ones it inspired me to do this,” she said. Her brush meets the canvas, bringing summer’s cheer inside, along with the refreshing splash of the goodness that animals bring to one’s life. www.Good-girl-designs.com.
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