Just For Fun

Charlotte Center City has an event where locally donated and artistically refurbished pianos are place in uptown public places. People living, working, and visiting Uptown Charlotte are encouraged to sit down and show-off their piano skills for the public’s enjoyment. This annual, experiential, performing art exhibition takes musical experiences to unexpected places for the enjoyment of everyone.

Just for fun, I took the opportunity to help paint one of the pianos for this year’s event! Usually, I work alone in my studio and had been wondering if I even knew HOW to collaborate with another artist!! It was an interesting experience, one where I relinquished my control instincts and went with the flow…

In a warehouse with no air conditioning, on a day when my car thermometer read 100 degrees when I left at 2:00, I painted alongside a delightful artist, Natalya Fedkiv and her son Peter. She and I are both members of Charlotte Art League.

They had arrived first, chosen the piano and the theme ‘classical,’ and Natalya had started on the front graphic while Peter began painting the keys. I immediately began decorating the back of the piano. The photo above shows the front of the piano when Natalya and Peter had to leave.

I still had some time and added details to the piano and painted the bench:

Honestly? It turned out beautifully, don’t you think??

I enjoyed the collaboration-on-a-time-schedule!!!  I’m looking forward to seeing the pianos placed in Charlotte and will jump at the chance again next year…

Creative Living

I am so fortunate an artist friend (Thank you, Terry Whye!!) recently mentioned a book to me. As usual, my first recourse was to check my local libary system. With luck, they had Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert in book, large-print, e-book, CD audiobook, and downloadable audiobook forms! I chose the downloadable audiobook because it’s read by the author and I could listen to it in my studio.


I had heard Elizabeth Gilbert speak at Davidson College maybe four years ago and was thrilled to feel that same connection as I’ve listened to her read Big Magic. Her message of living with curiosity and the willingness to take chances is pushing all the right buttons. In fact, I believe it’s exactly the ‘big magic’ Elizabeth talks about that sat me alongside this book at the table of Life at this moment in time.

Seeing Creativity as the bearer of ideas that want to take shape encourages me to be open to her impulses and leanings. If she presents an idea that resonates, I’ll be courageous in gestating and birthing that idea. I’ve been reminded to have FUN and to experiment, to take a ‘channeling’ role instead of always being the know-it-all ‘director’. What freedom in creating! What freedom in life! To live to the fullest nourishing our souls by pursuing what calls us!

Gilbert wisely suggests not putting the burden of financial dependency on Creativity. She warns that Creativity is more likely to turn in another direction where she can flow more easily. She tells of people who keep Creativity at their sides by spending 15-30 minutes together each day  which reminds me of the adage “To have a friend… Be a friend.” Just as my dog, Nell, needs a daily minimum of petting and attention to stay healthy, Creativity also needs to know that I’m there for her every day.

I want Creativity to be my lifelong friend! I want our friendship to deepen and become a more and more intimate one.

And what about the ‘fear’ mentioned in the title? Gilbert speaks of a personified Fear: the pesky, bad-influence-friend one can never get rid of. She wisely suggests we acknowledge Fear but that we give it very specific instructions about it’s role each time we start a new project. In fact, each day we enter our studio or approach our typewriter/computer, we should direct Fear to the backseat/observer role and never let it get in the driver’s seat.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear will be a resource I return to time and time again for the rest of my life. I heartily encourage all my friends be inspired to live fully through whatever pursuit calls and nourishes them. To live among other positive, inspired people is a dream, yes??

What’s calling you? What keeps you going?

Experimenting With Encaustic on Paper

I was fortunate to be awarded a Regional Artists Project Grant* by the Arts & Science Council in January 2016. I had submitted a request to obtain a heated palette larger than the one I had been using. After waiting during a disappointing backordered period, my 22″x32″ HotBox finally arrived!

HotBox heated palette

HotBox heated palette

I don’t know about you, but the acquisition of any new tool spurs my need for additional materials! I then assembled larger sheets of paper, various types of paper, newsprint, barrens, rollers, digital surface thermometers and a roll of heat-resistant Duralar, to name just some. And of course, more wax and resin and colors!!!


Duralar, papers, barrens, thermometers, rollers, wax, COLORS!!!

I’ve been experimenting with getting the temperature settings just right; how different types of paper absorb medium; the flexibility of various paper weights; how much medium to apply; monotype methods; mono print methods; and some collagraphic ideas.


I will continue learning and having fun, occasionally posting some images on my Susan Andre Art Facebook page. I’ve also recently scheduled a solo exhibit at Mooresville Artist Guild for September 2017 which will have some larger encaustic prints as well as some encaustic sculptural pieces I have in mind…

😉 SuzA


*This project was made possible by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, the Blumenthal Endowment and the arts council of Mecklenburg County.

Cocoons as Symbols

In May, I will have the Featured Artist Wall at Charlotte Art League and have been working on two, larger paintings (24″Wx46″T) for that show. Also a couple smaller ones (16″x24″) that may be ready in time. The themes of transformation, change, and metamorphosis are still driving much of my art  probably because those are the issues that predominate in my thoughts and spiritual musings as I intentionally move through my life journey.

I’m again using the title “contemplation: cocoon” for this show because it’s a continuation of my solo exhibit at Mooresville Arts in September 2014. But I was moved to write this new description to hang near my paintings:

contemplation: cocoon

 A constant flow of change characterizes all of Life.

Some of that change is out of our control. However…

We can influence some changes with conscious intention.

For me, cocoons have become symbols of

those opportunities for conscious, spiritual evolution

offered in each and every moment.

To ‘grow up,’ or ‘grow down.’

To close into the status quo, or open into possibility.

 Cocoons offer respite and nourishment for emergence into

Increased personal awareness and growth, as well as

Greater intrapersonal uplifting and connection.

 Soften. Open. Breathe.

Allow these cocoon images to remind you of the limitless

transformative path we are all traveling.

 –Susan Andre´, May 2015

New Location, New Energy

Well, I have found a new studio space!!! And it’s only because I mustered the courage to approach another artist and ASK how much she used her studio space and if she was willing to share!! I had to overcome my fear of rejection and recognize I had nothing to lose and only something to gain.

It’s an incredible improvement over my studio of the past year. This one has HEAT and AC, natural LIGHT, Wi-Fi, a clean bathroom and utility sink, clean tile floors, refrigerator, microwave, electric teakettle … and it’s walkable for me, in my own neighborhood, and my dog Nell is welcome there too.

I’m in love and energized!

time flies, and the mind empties

© Susan Andre, Genesis 4: Blue II, 10"x20"x1.5”  acrylic mixed media on gallery wrap

it’s only been since april that i took the four sessions on how to build a wordpress website. guess i didn’t take the best notes because i am stumped today as i start to load images for the new show, contemplation: cocoon. please be patient and know that i WILL have them posted soon.