About

Location watercolor painting at Hustai National Park, September 2012

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

I have always been inspired by the natural world, filling dozens of sketchbooks over the years to record wild places and the animals that live there, and then creating paintings and drawings for over twenty years.

I rely on my many years of experience in personal observation, along with sketching and painting in the field and also using photography and video to record what I’ve seen. For me there is no substitute for personally spending time watching my wildlife subjects go about their lives, preferably never knowing that I was there. My paintings begin with observing and recording my subjects during my travels (twelve trips in fourteen years to Mongolia, along with Kenya, northern Canada, England, Romania and a variety of national parks, wildlife refuges and natural places in the USA).

In the studio, I follow a traditional approach to oil painting, first working out the composition in thumbnail sketches, then doing a preliminary drawing and the value and color studies, all of which inform my finished paintings. My palette is a traditional mix of warm and cool versions of primary and secondary colors and earth colors, with the addition of some specific ones that work well for my particular subject matter. I paint mostly with round brushes, which allow me to make calligraphic marks that recall my past work as a lettering artist.

When deciding on a subject I look for strong design possibilities, good patterns of positive/negative shapes, the quality of light and shadow and, for my animal subjects, interesting gestures, poses and behavior that will help communicate the story I want to tell. All of my work begins with direct experience. I don’t paint any subject, animal or otherwise, that I have not seen myself.


I value not only anatomical accuracy, but also accuracy of behavior and habitat, which leads me to consult as needed with field biologists. Having had the privilege of exploring wild places the world over, I have profound respect for animals as fellow sentient beings, and I am always striving to communicate that knowledge and experience in my work.

Mongolia, its animals, land and people, has been a subject of particular interest over the years. Mongolia has influenced me deeply and it is natural that elements of that culture should become an integral part of my work. In recent years, instead of the traditional animal in its habitat, a given painting may combine a realistic, vignetted depiction of my subject with a contemporary, expressive background that can include the use of traditional and historic symbols and motifs from Mongolian culture sometimes combining those elements with Bichig, a vertical script, Mongolia’s first written language, which dates back to Chinggis Khan in the 13th century. My background as a graphic designer, calligrapher, and sign-painter all contribute to this incorporation of text and other decorative elements. Though these pieces are less conventionally realistic than much of my work, they are just as truthful in portraying the relationship between the Mongols, their domestic animals and their country’s wildlife, as well as exploring the symbolic and cultural importance of animal imagery.

My enthusiasm for painting and drawing during my forty years in the arts is stronger now than ever, inspired by my desire to record and help conserve the natural world.

Scratch-That-Itch website page 300

“Scratch That Itch” oil 10×12″ $840

SKETCHWILD is my site dedicated just to nature sketching, mostly in pen and ink. Besides galleries of my fieldwork over the years, it also includes tutorial posts, profiles of great pen and ink artists of the past and more. www.sketchwild.com

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

California Art Club

American Women Artists

Expedition Art

Redwood Art Association

Humboldt Arts Council

The Explorers Club, Fellow (FN’14)

EDUCATION

Academy of Art University, BFA Illustration, 1989

Oxford University Christchurch, Summer Session, 1989

The Illustration Academy , 1990, 1991

John Seerey-Lester Master Class, 1997

Scott Christensen Ten Day Plein Air Intensive, 2004

Simon Combes’ Artist Safari, Kenya, 2004

SPECIAL  HONORS

Sequoia Park Zoo Conservation Lecture Series- “Art and Conservation in the Land of Blue Skies”, 2017

Explorers Club Public Lecture speaker- “Wildlife Art: Field to Studio” group exhibition, 2016

The Explorers Club- Awarded Flag 179 for the 2015 WildArt Mongolia Expedition

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

SELECTED SHOWS/COMPETITIONS/AWARDS

“Focus on Nature XV”- New York State Museum, 2019

“Magnificent Migrations: A Tour of California’s Central Coast- California Art Club and the Pacific Grove Natural History Museum, 2019

“International Exhibit of Nature in Art”, Artists for Conservation- currently on tour to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona and the Lanwan Art Museum, Qingdao City, China, 2018, 2019

“60th The Haggin Museum “National Juried Exhibition”, Stockton Art League. 2018

“3rd Annual Animal Kingdom”- Fusion Art, 2018, 3rd Place, Traditional Painting

“Black and White Show”- Salmagundi Art Club, 2017, 2018

“Members Exhibition”- Salmagundi Art Club, 2017

“Wildlife Treasures”- juried exhibition, Nature Art Gallery and Museum, Sandhurst, UK, 2017

“Thumbox Exhibition”- Salmagundi Art Club, 2015, 2017

“Wildlife Art: Field to Studio”- a group exhibition at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, Connecticut, 2016

The 2013 WildArt Mongolia Expedition group exhibition- Union of Mongolian Artists, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 2014

“My Mongolia: The Paintings of American Artist Susan Fox”- a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, August 2013

“Art and the Animal”- Society of Animal Artists, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016

“Fall Exhibition of Equine Art”- American Academy of Equine Art, 2009, 2011, 2012,, 2014, 2015, 2017

“Art and the Animal Kingdom”- Bennington Center for the Arts, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2015

“Black and White Show”- Salmagundi Art Club, 2016, 2018

“Salon International”- Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, 2011

“51st Annual Spring Juried Exhibition” – Redwood Art Association, 2009, Janie Walsh Memorial Painting Award

“Wild Things” – California Art Club, 2007, Juror’s Choice Award

“American Artists Abroad” – Bennington Center for the Arts, 2006, 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” – Solo exhibition, 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”, three-artist exhibition – William F. Cody Gallery, August, 2000

Humboldt Arts Council Membership Shows – 1998, 1999, 2000

Artist’s Magazine Art Competition (Wildlife) – Finalist, 1991

CONSERVATION

Founder and President, Art Partnerships for Mongolian Conservation

Current projects: 

The WildArt Mongolia Expeditions– a series of expeditions to different areas of Mongolia for the purpose of highlighting a variety of endangered species and habitats through art created on location and afterwards in the studio

Advisory Team Member, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve- art for fundraising; social media support

Argali Wildlife Research Center– research support by providing field photos

EARTHWATCH PROECTS: Kenya’s Wild Heritage, 1999 Roman Fort on Tyne, 2000 Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge, 2002 Mongolian Argali, 2005

MEMBER:

Humboldt State University Natural History Museum
Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation
California Native Plant Society

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