Name: Susette Gertsch
Business Name: The Midway Artist
Art Media: oil, acrylic, watercolor
Art Form: Painting
Artist History: More Information about Susette Billedeaux Gertsch" trigclass="colapsomatic_pcpaa"]Susette Billedeaux Gertsch has been involved in drawing and painting as an educator, or producing artist most of her adult life. College and University, fieldwork, private sales, studio work, festivals, museum competitions and personal projects span 35 adult years, and three continents.Susettes higher educated was completed in California and Utah. She painted and taught high school art classes in Australia for 2 years, returned to the U.S. to raise her family, and pursued her art education and private instruction for approximately 15 years. She then developed a professional career as high school art instructor for 17 years. During the years of raising children and teaching, she also participated in numerous art festivals in western states, including Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah (Salt Lake City and the Park City Arts Festivals in particular).Susette also entered the rigors of a masters degree program at Brigham Young University while teaching, and received an M.F.A. in drawing and painting.In 2005 Susette retired from public teaching and focused on painting, and on the founding of the Midway Art Association, of which she presided over, for 7 years. As president she helped establish an annual statewide painting competition, Wasatch Plein Air Paradise, as well as the annual M.A.A., Fall Art Retreat, featuring Russian Impressionism. Her intense interest in Russian Impressionism evolved and grew as a result of many trips to view the impressive collection of Russian paintings at the Springville Art Museum. She has high hopes to travel to Russia one day to see their great art collections. Susette traveled to Western Europe twice on extended trips in 2009 and 2011, while focusing on museum visits and Plein air painting. In 2011 she traveled solo for 8 weeks, driving from one museum to another, through Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Once again she viewed thousands of paintings, comparing and contrasting art styles and themes. These experiences have developed an insatiable appreciation of, and affinity for the landscape and figural impressionists of Western Europe, and Russia. In 2009, following her trip to Europe, Susette undertook an ambitious personal project, The Limness Contract, in which she committed herself to paint 300 en Plein air works, within a year. This personal challenge stretched and enhanced all of her accumulated interests and abilities as she traveled and painted sur la motif, in constantly changing range of temperatures and environmental conditions. Painting continues to a primary force is her life and she shares it with enthusiasm and sincerity.
Artist Statement: Paint and the mysterious process of painting never cease to surprise me. I have immersed myself in it long enough to know that any given session, whether in the studio or en Plein air, may produce something of my own, but may simultaneously connect the literal and immediate moment with sources that are historic, symbolic and even divine. At best there are lucid moments interrupted with emotions and forces that temporarily push me off balance and then bring me back full of energy and more questions. It happens at the most unexpected times and when it does I am enlivened, energized and happily bewildered with the result. I seek the opportunity for this revelatory experience by painting constantly and regularly. I anticipate, but I cannot demand, command or guarantee it will happen. I simply show up at the easel in overgrown, half-hidden corners of gardens, atop mountain and desert vistas, and at various locations with figures and still life subjects. I paint. It happens, or not. But when this extraordinary experience occurs, the voice of something greater than myself later speaks to the viewer and the paintings from these sessions are more impactful than simply technical renderings. Voila! And as Robert Henri is quoted in The Art Spirit, It is not enough to have thought great things before doing the work. The brush stroke at the moment of contact carries inevitably the exact state of being of the artist at that exact moment into the work and there it is, to be seen and read by those who can read such signs, and to be read later by the artist himself, with perhaps some surprise, as a revelation of himself. I am thrilled at that prospect in my work. For me that is the real substance of paint and painting. Susette Billedeaux Gertsch M.F.A. (Brigham Young University)
Name: Susette Gertsch