As a true introvert, Susan Wahlrab has always found her sanctuary in nature. “It is where I go to be recharged, nourished and inspired,” she says. “However, I purposely choose this place as one that is universal. It could be anywhere. It’s not important to me if anyone knows where Sanctuary is. Yet, it is my hope it will help in creating someone else’s.”
Susan finds herself particularly drawn to where land and water meet – more specifically, the coast of Maine. Her paintings come from a real place, for who is she, in her own words, “to create something that is already so perfect?” “Nature is so much more creative with variety of shape, color, texture and atmosphere. It is not something to make up. It is something to observe, to reflect and to connect. The pulse of nature has no boundaries. It is interconnected.”
Over the years, Susan has explored many techniques of mark making in an attempt to describe the sensation of her dialogue with nature. “Over time I notice and feel more and more. It’s an ever maddening process of attempting the impossible,” she says in reference to capturing nature. “It’s the artist’s journey to ‘the crazy.’ Sometimes I just cannot stop,” she laughs. “I’m an addict.”
The last year has brought some breakthrough with a process Wahlrab has essentially invented through her own experience and experiments. “I’ve used the information I gained from my MFA in printmaking, my investigating with monoprints and my practice in layered watercolor on paper.” All this led to the discovery of painting watercolor on clay panels that can be varnished. This is uncharted territory. “Well, lets just say it could fit back it the crazy category,” says Wahlrab. Since she started this adventure about 5 years ago, every day has been a dance between materials and vision. “One day I am in love, the next – well, it’s time to take a walk.”
Fortunately, she has time and place for these walks. In addition, she relies on a yoga and meditation practice to keep her balanced, and family to keep her grounded. Then, of course, there is her sanctuary.
“Sanctuary“ represents one of those days, really months, of the pure bliss of connection. Every step I felt guided and clear,” says Wahlrab. Not only did this piece come together, the process just let go. “I was in a relationship with how paint describes how nature is our resource to recharge full lives.” This sensation has stayed with Susan with her work even on the challenging days. “I am able to just let go and allow the painting to come in its own time. The whole process has become my Sanctuary.”
Sanctuary is part of the Choice Art Show, and will be on display at Maine Art Shows, 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk, until June 30th. Please stop in any day between 11 am and 5 pm to see the show in its entirety. The show is also available to view online by clicking here; Choice Art Show.
If you are interested in reading more Susan Wahlrab and her work at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture click here. You may also visit her Artist Page to see our entire collection of Susan Wahlrab paintings.