"At this time, I was into papercrafting, creating greeting cards and scrapbook pages with a group of friends. While going through my craft supplies, I found some bottles of Alcohol Ink, which at that time were mainly used for making marbled backgrounds. I wondered what else could be done with them, and searched for different kinds of paper and other surfaces to experiment with. I found I could get amazing effects on glossy, impervious surfaces. I quickly learned that there were many ways of manipulating the inks, and a brush was the least efficient of these. I got much better effects with sprays, sponges, and various household items and techniques." Woodland Creek" is an impressionistic scene reminiscent of our many family vacations in the Smoky Mountains, camping and hiking, tubing and whitewater rafting, and picnicking by a rushing rapids in one of the many crystal clear creeks. I have so many happy memories 0f these beautiful places, it makes me happy now, just to paint them."
- 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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