"I was born and raised in Florida, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico as a toddler, fishing with my Dad, and going to the beach. This instilled in me a love of Nature, the perfect little details in a seashell, the random patterns of a landscape or the bright red and green feathers of a hummingbird I found with its beak trapped in a porch screen. As I gently freed him and he flew away, I memorized the colors, the feel of his feathers, the whir of his wings. As a child, I tried to draw or paint everything around me that I saw or loved, as I still do. The Coral Reef paintings are inspired by watching a lot of National Geographic documentaries on TV lately. I can actually "feel" in some way the exquisite colors, shapes and movements of this delicate and fragile environment. It causes me great sorrow to think that our environment is in danger, especially in our oceans and waterways. In my younger days, I participated in a lot of groups' "cleanup" projects on our beaches and rivers, and our crystal-clear springs until I became disabled. Now I am compelled to paint the beauty around us, so people will be aware of its value. This painting is made with several types of alcohol-based inks on YUPO, a synthetic paper commonly used by artists in mixed media. This is a favorite medium of mine; I love the bright clear colors and the fluidity with which they move and mix during the painting process."
- Susan Stemple Kubes
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“I love that it [art] carries me away, to another place where pain takes a backseat to creativity.”
Lifelong Florida resident Susan Stemple Kubes has been driven to create art her entire life. Her father always encouraged Susan’s drawing and taught her to observe the world in a thoughtful, careful way. Eventually, Susan opened her own studio, not only would she create her own work there but she also invited artists and beginners into her studio to teach them about art and painting. Susan elaborates, “This became one of the biggest joys of my art career, helping others learn to create.”
While art has provided Susan with many unique and powerful experiences, perhaps none is more powerful than pain management. Susan is living with degenerative osteoarthritis, causing debilitating pain in her joints and spine. Only being able to exert herself for short periods of time before needing to rest has dramatically impacted Susan’s life. She had to close her studio space when it became too difficult to maintain. Susan has been able to continue to paint, which has provided her with much-needed respite from the pain she experiences. “When I am painting, or planning a painting, I honestly can ignore the pain for a while. The happiness of creating helps me immensely to keep going and gives me a feeling of fulfillment, of being competent and useful again.”
There is a strong connection between art and music for Susan, the inspiration for each of her paintings begins with music, she will listen until colors begin to appear in her mind, then Susan begins to paint. For the last few years Susan has exclusively created with alcohol inks, “...just because they are so bright and fluid, moving and mixing in different ways that I find challenging and exciting. I enjoy experimenting with new techniques and materials.” as Susan puts it. Her recent work using alcohol inks has mostly been in an abstract style and enjoys the conversations and connections that are made through her artwork. “As an artist, I still need that validation...to know that others feel personal connections to my work." Susan continues, “I love when they [the viewer] get into a discussion about an abstract, what they think it represents, what it means. I want the viewer to become involved, not just an observer.”
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