Although I’ll paint any subject that captures my fancy, my favorite subject is the natural world, especially animals. I work in a traditional oil technique, always striving for a personal, painterly expression. Fieldwork to see my subjects in their own habitat is extremely important. My travels to accomplish this have included trips to Mongolia, Kenya, Canada and Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier National Parks. I take many photos and sketch on location as much as possible. Drawing, for me, is a fundamental part of painting and, fortunately, I love to draw.
I have found that when you take the time to sit and watch animals, as opposed to just mentally checking off seeing them, they inevitably reveal insights into their lives which are totally separate from any relationship, or perceived value, to humans. The chance to record those moments on canvas is one of the things that gets my creative juices flowing. Animals are all individuals just as we are, with their own habits and quirks. It is this individuality of our fellow sentient beings that I always aspire to communicate in my work along with the beauty and intrinsic value of the places where they live.
The planet Earth belongs to all of us together- humans, animals and plants. If there are no good places for them, then ultimately there will be no good places for us either. We are just barely beginning to comprehend how interconnected and mutually dependent our world is. Perhaps one thing my paintings can do is demonstrate how much there is to lose in a world where human pressure is causing more extinctions and habitat destruction than at any time since the age of the dinosaurs. The natural world has an absolute intrinsic value separate from any impermanent human ones. Communicating that value is one of my goals as an artist. One of my fondest hopes for the future of our species is that we will finally grow up and learn to share.
Society of Animal Artists (Signature Member, Board of Directors)
Oil Painters of America
California Art Club
Academy of Art College, BFA Illustration, 1989
Oxford University Christchurch, Summer Session, 1989
The Illustration Academy , 1990, 1991
John Seerey-Lester Master Class, 1997
Beartooth School of Art
John Seerey-Lester, Paco Young, 1999
Paco Young, 2001
John Banovich, 2002
Jackson Hole Art Academy
Jim Wilcox, 2003
Scott Christensen Ten Day Plein Air Intensive, 2004
Simon Combes’ Artist Safari, Kenya, 2004
Artists for Conservation 9th Flag Expedition Grant, 2009- to study Mongolian argali mountain sheep and assist in the creation of a women’s felt crafts cooperative at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve
“Art and the Animal”- Society of Animal Artists, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
“Fall Juried Open Exhibition”- American Academy of Equine Art, 2009, 2011, 2012
“Art and the Animal Kingdom XVI”- Bennington Center for the Arts, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011
“Salon International”- Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, 2011
“The Horse in Fine Art: A Salute to the World Equestrian Games 2010″ – American Academy of Equine Art, 2010
“51st Annual Spring Juried Exhibition” – Redwood Art Association, 2009, Janie Walsh Memorial Award, “Heavy Lies the Head”
“16th Annual Juried Art Competition Show and Sale” – Breckenridge Fine Arts Center, 2008
“Spirit of the Horse” – Palos Verdes Art Center, 2008, Third Place Award
AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for March 2008
“Wild Things” – California Art Club, 2007, Juror’s Choice Award,
“Small Works–Big Impressions” – Society of Animal Artists, The Wildlife Experience, Denver, Colorado, 2007, 2008
“American Artists Abroad” – Bennington Center for the Arts, 2006, 2007
“The Art of the Horse” – New Jersey Equine Artists Association, 2006
“Marine Wildlife” – Mendocino Art Center, 2007
“Art for the Parks – Top 100″ – National Parks Foundation, 2003
“The Art of Seeing: Nature Revealed Through Illustration” – Oakland Museum of California, Natural Sciences Department, 2003, 2006
“Just Outside My Door: Flora and Fauna of Kane Ridge” – Humboldt State University Natural History Museum, June-August 2002
“California Species” juried show – Oakland Museum of California, Natural Sciences Department, September 30, 2000 through May 13, 2001
“Our Excellent Adventure: Three Wildlife Artists on the Road” – William F. Cody Gallery, August, 2000
William F. Cody Gallery Juried Competition – 1999
Humboldt Arts Council Membership Shows – 1998, 1999, 2000
Artist’s Magazine Art Competition (Wildlife) – Finalist, 1991
Susan Fox was born in Los Angeles in 1953, but grew up in the coastal town of Eureka after her parents moved to Humboldt County, California in 1955. Drawing and reading were her two favorite activities as a child. Her first artistic triumph came at age nine when she won second place in an art contest sponsored by a local shoe store which required the entrants to draw a cartoon character wearing Keds sneakers. She drew Pepi LePew wearing bright red ones. The first prize was a live skunk, which she desperately wanted. Second prize was a canvas trampoline, which she accepted as graciously as she could.Her first art lessons at age eleven were through the Redwood Art Association on Saturday mornings. They were held on the ground floor of a very large gingerbread Victorian. She worked in a brand new media, acrylics, often with a palette knife. She had already been drawing, though, since she was old enough to hold a pencil. More often than not, the subject was animals.
Susan attended College of the Redwoods (A.A.1974) and Humboldt State University, taking a variety of art classes at both schools.She got her first job in an art-related field in 1976 when she became an apprentice at a local sign shop. She worked there for five years, learning the sign trade and graphic design. She also became an expert at posthole digging, running power tools, setting up 20 ft. extension ladders and planks and driving a dark blue 1956 Ford pickup truck.
After a move to Napa and then Berkeley, Susan worked as a freelance graphic designer for a variety of clients, including a natural foods store, a brew pub, an oriental rug retailer and a video rental outlet.
She went back to school in 1987 and majored in illustration at the Academy of Art College (now University) in San Francisco. Her courses included up to nine hours of drawing a week plus doing a finished illustration. Susan received her BFA Illustration degree in 1989.
She attended a summer art class at Christchurch College, Oxford University for three weeks in the summer of 1989. Days were spent out on Tom Quad or in the cloisters working on various projects. One day the class was allowed into the Master’s Garden to sketch and paint the gate that Alice went through to go down the rabbit hole and the tree in which she saw the Cheshire Cat. (Lewis Carroll taught at Christ Church and used different parts of it for settings in his classic story, Alice in Wonderland.) On Sunday evenings she could sit in her room in a dormitory building designed by John Ruskin and listen as, one after another, the bells of the various Colleges pealed out on the soft summer air.
She also attended Hall of Fame illustrator Mark English’s summer Illustration Academy in Independence, Missouri in 1990 and 1991, working with nationally known artists like C.F. Payne, Anita Kunz, Jack Unruh and John Collier. In early 1990, she moved back to Eureka and spent the next few years doing freelance design and illustration for local and national clients. For a short time, she combined her studio with running a gallery filled with art created by her friends and colleagues.
Starting in 1995, she studied traditional oil painting for over two years with a local instructor. Since then, Susan has had a number of one person shows and has seen her paintings accepted into a variety of local, regional and national juried shows.She enjoys traveling and has been to Japan, Mongolia, Kenya, England, Germany, Sweden, France, Italy, Portugal and Canada.In January of 1999, Susan spent three weeks in Kenya at a tented camp in the Masai Mara and on an Earthwatch Institute-sponsored project studying Lake Naivasha. In October of 2004, she went back to Kenya on an artist workshop/ safari with the late internationally-known wildlife artist Simon Combes.
In April/May of 2005, Susan journeyed to Mongolia to participate in a new Earthwatch project, “Mongolian Argali”, which was based at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve. She also visited Hustai National Park, where takhi (Przewalski’s horse) have been reintroduced. In the fall of 2006, Susan traveled back to Mongolia for three weeks. She returned to Hustai to see the takhi at a different time of year and visited Ikh Nartiin Chuluu again. New destinations included Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park and the third takhi release site in western Mongolia, Khomiin Tal.
She went to Mongolia again in the fall of 2008, this time accompanied by her husband. Besides Hustai and Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, they stayed at Arburd Sands ger camp and had the privilege of being invited to join the camp owners and their family, nationally known as horse trainers, for the annual branding of the new foals.
In 2009, Susan was awarded a $5000 Flag Expedition grant from Artists for Conservation to travel to Mongolia, observe argali sheep in three locations and to support the creation of a women’s felt crafts cooperative at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu. Her expedition was a success on all counts.
Susan now travels to Mongolia every year, gathering reference for her paintings, which have expanded beyond wildlife subjects to include the Mongol herders and their animals, including the tough little horses on which the Mongols once conquered the largest land empire in history.
Her USA travels have included Montana, Wyoming, Florida, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii.
Susan and her husband, collie dog and cats live on the coast of Northern California in a pleasant rural area called Dow’s Prairie, twenty minutes from Redwood National Park and five minutes from the beach.