O Artist: Susan Greaves – ‘Art … a Tribute to the Joys of Life’

This Louisana-bred, West-coast-trained, and Redding-nurtured artist used her university degree in applied art as a basis for subsequent study with outstanding master artists. She was a scholarship student of the acclaimed Sergei Bongart, of Los Angeles.

Greaves’ widely collected oil paintings have been shown in galleries and competitions nationwide. Professional recognition includes invitational membership in Knickerbocker Artists, Alla Prima International, the Society of Master Impressionists, Oil Painters of America and other groups. More than 50 awards have come her way.

In 1996, Greaves established the Good (Art) Works Effort. She donates her proceeds from sales of her work to non-profits and charities, many of them local.

What do you remember about the earliest art you created?

Oh, how I wanted a box of 64 crayons! My mother didn’t believe in giving her children everything they wanted. I didn’t get a pony. I got a watch for my 12th Christmas and, when I was in high school, I never had a mouton coat. (Now, I’m sure that last one has really dated me.)

Just eight or 16 colors was too restrictive in my mind, when I saw so many more vivid ones around me. My desire for all those colors  was a precursor of my focus on color throughout my now 40-plus year painting career.

How would you describe your art?

As a tribute to the joys of life.  Though I paint many subjects — from landscapes, florals, figures and portraits, to equine works — the actual subject is only an excuse to use color to express the feeling I have as I stand before a subject. I chose oil paint as my primary medium many years ago because of the rich colors and wide range of possible effects.

“Gloves and Green Scarf” 14″ x 11″ Oil

Where do you gather most of the influences for your work?

The strongest influences, I’m sure, came from my two master teachers, William F. Reese and Sergei Bongart. The work of both echoed that of the Russian Impressionsts. Those Russians retained the academic excellence of drawing and composition, while exploring the effects of light and color. We also have a bounty of very good contemporary artists who work directly from the subject, outdoors or from a still life or from a live model, and contact with them adds breadth to my own work.

Sunset Spillover, West Redding 24″ x 30″ oil

Of all your artwork, is there a piece that holds more significance, or about which you are most proud?

I’ve hit a few winners over the years, I think. I have recently adopted a slightly different approach and am especially pleased when I produce a new jewel. This happens just a few times a year, normally, but they come more frequently now. Sometimes, because I’ve used my subconscious more and reached a higher level of concentration, I can hardly remember painting the more outstanding works.

Sunriver Color Dance 24″ x 24″ Oil

Name a few of your favorite artists, past or present, and why.

As I mentioned, the Russian Impressionists, like Fechin and Maliavin, because of their use of color and drafting skill. Then, there are Sorolla, Zorn, and Serov, who were astounding portraitists, along with the incomparable John Singer Sargent.

Is there a misconception, or something that you dislike being asked, as an artist?

I listen to everybody. Everyone has an educated eye and knows when something does not look right in a painting. William Reese told of a time that he noticed a 12-year-old equestrian who was looking critically at a sculpture of his of a jumping horse and rider. After demonstrating how easily he could change the clay piece, he asked what was bothering her. “The rider should be looking at the next jump,” she said; and she was right.

Light and Water 14″ x 11″

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

I had one just recently. Up and out early (not so usual for me now). Meet fellow artists. Drive to the morning painting spot. Apply lots of color. Lunch and “art chat” at noon. Then, find an even more inspiring painting spot and paint our hearts out the rest of the afternoon. Ahhhh! (See pictures we posted on Facebook on the “Plein Air Redding” page. Most are O Street Gallery artists.)

Susan Greaves’ website: www.susanfgreaves.com

Susan Greaves’ Facebook pages: Susan Ferguson Greaves and Plein Air Redding

A note from Shelly Shively, curator, O Street Gallery: Welcome to the first column of the series, “O Artist”. As curator of O Street Gallery, I am proud and delighted to periodically feature an artist whose work is on exhibit at O Street Gallery. The current 13-artist exhibit runs from April 13 to July 13. The artists are Kathleen Lawrence-Davis, Chuck Prudhomme, Kathleen Evans, Susan Greaves, Louise Tuthill, Roberta A. Stone, Lynda Nolte, Connie Brown, Eve Berg-Pugh, Denise Granger Kerbs, Bev Corford, Neil Babcock and Connie Murray. The same questions will be presented to all the artists, to offer a glimpse of their passion that is creating art. Perhaps you’ll be inspired by these working artists, and be intrigued enough to experience their art in person at O Street Gallery.

O Street Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. O Street Gallery is located upstairs in the Oregon Street Antique Mall, 1261 Oregon St., Redding, Calif. 96001. For more information, contact Shelly Shively at leinanishively@gmail.com

Shelly Shively lives in Redding. She is Interior re-design network certified.  Among her specialties are real estate staging, furnishing vacation and new homes, and the art of interior “re-design” – where she transforms and refreshes clients’ living spaces using their existing belongings. Shelly is also a freelance artist, illustrator, muralist and a Whiskeytown kayak volunteer.  To inquire about a consultation, she may be reached at  530-276-4656 or leinanishively@gmail.com

Shelly Shively
Shelly Shively lives in Redding. She is Interior re-design network certified. Among her specialties are real estate staging, furnishing vacation and new homes, and the art of interior re-design where she transforms and refreshes clients living spaces using their existing belongings. Shelly is also a freelance artist, illustrator, muralist, Whiskeytown kayak volunteer and curator at O Street Gallery. To inquire about a consultation, she may be reached at 530-276-4656 or leinanishively@gmail.com
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15 Responses

  1. Peggy Elwood says:

    Very nice article Shelly! This is such a great idea, to feature our outstanding local artists on the News Cafe. Susan has so much to offer as an artist, teacher, and community supporter. We are fortunate to have her here in River City!!

  2. Victoria Bernet says:

    I love taking oil classes from Susan. It’s amazing to hear her interpretation of the colors she sees in a landscape, sometimes I think “I’ll just take her word for it”, then the painting magically comes to life. She has a gift of creating light and shares it!

  3. K. Beck says:

    Beautiful paintings, interesting interview. Thanks to the both of you!

  4. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    Thank you for an excellent article Shelly.
    When I first met Susan at the computer store where I worked she said she was an artist. I probably though “Of course you are. I am to. I draw portraits in bars for beer!” I went home opened my newly arrived Artists magazine and there was an entire article about her. It was not the first articl and not the last. If you look at the bio on her web site you will know that her excellence as an artist is not a fluke. She trained and studied to be the artist she is, but she has an vision and a perspective like no other artist. Again, great article Shelly.

  5. Shelly Shively says:

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed O Street Gallery’s first feature of one of our exhibiting artists, Susan Greaves. Susan is an extraordinary woman, artist and teacher, that we are delighted to have in the gallery.

  6. Shelly – Great article about Susan. I’m so glad you spotlighted this lovely artist, student and friend ………… Keep up the good work.

  7. Jerry Stuart says:

    Wonderful article !!! Always learning from great artist like Susan.

  8. Sheryl Bullock says:

    Thanks for keeping us informed about the artists here in our area. The O Street Gallery is a much needed addition and I appreciate all you are doing to advance art in Shasta County.

  9. Thanks to all for your kind words!

  10. Geri Acosta says:

    I have had the pleasure to have been a student and art business partner with Susan before moving away to Tucson. She continues to be a great friend, mentor, and outstanding promoter of the art of painting. My life has been enriched by her. Also, thank you for all you do toward the growing art world in Redding.

  11. James McInnis says:

    I am a 77 year old retired judge in Cameron, LA. I happened upon a News Cafe somehow and noticed article about Susan and her art. I am an artist hacker. The fact that she is from Louisiana prompted me to write her.
    She was so kind as to personally respond to my email. I learned she is not only an artist from Louisiana but she and her husband graduated from LSU. Immediately, I knew she is a kindred spirit.
    I asked Susan if I could use her paintings as inspiration for me to paint something similar and she, graciously, indicated I could. Reading a News Cafe makes me wish I was closer than a couple of thousand miles away from Redding.
    You guys have a nice Day!
    Jim, the imagineer

  12. For years I only knew Susan on the Internet – seeing her work online. Finally got to meet her while showing my work at O Street Gallery and later painting with her on Wednesday night at the O Street workshop. She is charming and very open to discussing anything and she has an “Art Spirit” that is very contageous….. 🙂

  13. Christoper says:

    RockAppRoll es el sitio donde puedes hallar todas aplicaciones para tu móvil tableta y…
    ¡pst, pst!