© 2019 Susan Z Breyer. All rights reserved.

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"THE ESSENCE OF WHAT I DO IS TO LOOK OUTSIDE AND THEN LET THE MUSIC LEAD ME."

I need to have great music playing when I'm painting.  It is essential to my art.  When I listen to strong, edgy singers, I feel free to take risks in my work.  My brushstrokes come alive with the energy and power I get from music.  Among many who inspire me, some of the artists whose music has lately fueled my painting include: Anderson East, Amos Lee, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlisle, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Buddy Miller, Joss Stone, John Hiatt, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Kacey Musgraves, Dispatch, Dwight Yoakam, Lucky Dube,The Band of Heathens, Xavier Rudd, Tift Merritt, and The War and Treaty.  I am grateful for the honesty and heart these artists bring to their work; it is the undercurrent in each painting I make. 

If music provides the tempo, giving my pictures their life-force, nature is my inspiration and my adored subject. My oil paintings are about vivid color and passionate, clear strokes with my brushes and palette knives. Texture is important to me in my pictures; I want the paintings to have a a sculptural quality. I hope people seeing my art will want to embrace it in way; to feel the sensuality of the nature I am trying to portray. I am interested in capturing the mystery and power of nature in a way that lets my audience know the work is more than an exact representation of what I am seeing. I hope my images convey a sense of my awe about nature.
 

Although I thrive with music on while painting, I am silent, searching for the inner beauty of my subjects. I think my work is about my dreams of nature; my paintings reflect my desire to let the flowers, trees, mountains and oceans in the landscapes have power. The paintings mirror my view that nature cannot be taken for granted--I want to embolden my subjects so people seeing the images will remember and feel their beauty. I want my flowers and my snow and my trees to stand up for themselves and say, "Do not forget me; do not let me go."
 

I live in Woodside, California, a place of great natural beauty; it's rolling hills, trees and sunshine inspire me every day. I appreciate my surroundings more so, having grown up in the cold and snow-laden town of Rochester, New York. Despite its often adverse weather, in the spring and summer, I relished taking in the beauty of our family's large yard with its abundance of flower gardens, lovingly tended by my father Larry. I graduated from Stanford University and cherished my semester overseas in the art heaven of Florence, Italy. I later graduated from Harvard Business School, and although I found my career in marketing intellectually stimulating, I didn’t find it soul-satisfying.

After my children were born, my mother, California impressionist artist Carolyn Zaroff encouraged me to paint. I studied privately for many years with master California painter Ning Hou.


Ning Hou and Carolyn Zaroff are the artists who first inspired me, and whose influence on my work is enormous. I love the strength of Ning's brushwork and I am awed by his ability to bring nature to life. Both Ning and my mother taught me to be fearless in using color. My mother's paintings have also shown me the simple, heartbreaking beauty of a quiet landscape.
 

I paint for me, for the sense of exhilaration and joy that only a few precious things in life can begin to approach. I appreciate this chance, to do what I love, every day.