How did you get started and then develop your career?
Susan Hediger Matteson: As I child I used to stay with a lady who loved to do watercolors and drawings, and I was fascinated, and it became a huge influence on me. I had some wonderful art teachers in middle and high school, and these teachers pushed us as students, to create in various mediums plus public works and murals. This approach promoted a wide range of disciplines, and I feel I was very lucky to have been a part of that. I find it sad now that most public schools don’t support the arts like they used to; it is truly a loss for everyone and a lost opportunity for some.
When I started attending Southern Illinois University, I declared my art major in the first semester. I earned my fine arts degree and continued on to earn a second degree in graphic design and Illustration to pay the bills garnering a strong sense of discipline along the way. I felt the rigors of graphics and illustration — meeting deadlines, having a good work ethic, were all something I thought were missing in the fine art section of my education. In my design career, I competed in various shows and earned awards in Print magazine and ADDYS.
After 20 years in the design field, I wanted to explore more of the fine art side of my training. I signed up for classes and studied with artists whose work I admired: David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, Scott Christensen, Brian Blood, Kim English, Robert Liberace, Susan Lyons, Scott Burdick and Huihan Liu.
How do you find inspiration?
I love how light plays across a scene — whether a person or a place. Snow scenes are a constant favorite, especially when it is snowing.
What is the best thing about being an artist?
I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love going outside to paint en plein air but also like working in the studio. It is a lot like fishing — you are always going for the next big catch.
Who do you collect?
(Looking across my living room) – Anne Blair Brown, Jane Hunt, Hollis Williford, Veryl Goodnight, David Grossman, Scott Christensen, Brian Blood, Tiffany Stevenson, Kim English, Bill Gallen, Susan Lyons, John Poon, a couple of favorite local artists: Jerry Cohoe and Ed Singer.
To see more of Susan’s work, visit: www.susanmatteson.com