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How did I get here?

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My journey into being an artist has been very organic. As a child, I was always making things, working with my hands. At that time, I was more crafty, not as much into drawing. There was a pivotal point in junior high school where we had to do a color drawing from a still life. The fact that the objects in my drawing appeared three-dimensional surprised and excited me. It felt like magic that I was able to create that illusion of reality on a flat piece of paper. That was the hook and I moved forward from there.

My Passion

watercolr painting of watering can & flower pots on garden cart

Turquoise & Terra Cotta,  watercolor

That fascination with making objects in a drawing or painting look real, was the start of my passion for realism. Art school followed high school and then a 30+ year career teaching art on the high school level, all the while working on creating my own art.  I began as a watercolor artist, taking classes under a prominent watercolor artist, but knowing I had to find my own path and style. During a summer grad class for my teaching certification, we were painting en plein air on an Amish farm in 90 degree heat and high humidity. My watercolors were not behaving as I was used to in the field (literally in a corn field!). We had been instructed to purchase pastels as well for the class, so I thought, why not give them a try. That first pastel painting flipped a switch for me. Pastels were so immediate.  I was holding the pigment directly in my hand. I found myself being bolder and more expressive with my marks, knowing I could brush it off if I wasn’t happy with it. I was hooked.  I continued with watercolor for a while, but gradually was painting more pastels until soft pastel became my primary medium. That said, my many years of teaching had me teaching many different mediums and styles, so to this day, I occasionally switch over to oils or acrylics and from realism to abstract to feed the other side of my artist personality.

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Sentry at Hawk Watch, pastel

My Bio

Artist, Susan Klinger began painting in watercolor, but made the transition to pastel many years ago.  “The first time I worked in pastel, I was intrigued by the direct application of pigment to the surface.” Realism has always been her primary focus, but pastel has allowed her to be more expressive and bold in her use of color.  “I enjoy the challenge of manipulating color and value to create the illusion of reality on the two-dimensional surface.”  Susan also continues to work in other media from time to time and has been exploring abstraction as a way to express a different side of her artist personality. The two styles of working are quite different, yet each fulfills a need to express her artistic vision in a different way. 

Her work has been exhibited in shows throughout the eastern U.S. including the Pastel Society of America Annual Juried Exhibition, the Northeast National Pastel Exhibition, the Shades of Pastel National Exhibition, and the Grand National Exhibitions of the American Artists Professional League.  She is represented by Avra Art Gallery in Margate City, NJ, Kingsway Gallery in Yellow Springs, PA and by Regina Marie Designs Fine Art & Crafts Gallery in Skippack, PA.   She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including awards in several national exhibitions.  She was also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Perkiomen Valley School District Foundation for promotion of the arts. She is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, the American Artists Professional League, the Maryland Pastel Society, the Philadelphia Pastel Society and a Member of Excellence of the Southeastern Pastel Society and a member of the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club in addition to local art organizations.

 

Ms. Klinger taught fine art at Perkiomen Valley High School in Collegeville, PA, for 34 years, until her retirement. During her tenure at Perkiomen Valley, she served as the chairperson of the fine arts department for 14 years and was the dual credit instructor in drawing and painting for Montgomery County Community College. She also has served as an adjunct instructor at Cabrini College and she has taught painting workshops for adults.  Currently, in addition to creating her art, she is teaching art privately.  She received a bachelor’s degree in art from Millersville University, and a master’s degree (M.Ed. Art) from Kutztown University.

Artist Susan Klinger, teaching

"...the best art teacher ever! You were hard on us and I realized when I went to college that that is what pushed me to my full potential. ...Thank you for always pushing me!"                                Stephanie F

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