This week we are pleased to introduce former Disney Animation Artist and close friend to Jeanne Knapp (last week’s blog post) - Susan Iwakoshi. Like Jeanne, Susan is also an artist who has found her home on Etsy. If you aren’t familiar with Etsy, it is an online marketplace for handmade, vintage and artist supplies.
Susan uses vivid colors and fluid strokes, to create beautiful works of art in appreciation of the animal kingdom. Read on to find out more about animal’s inspiration in Susan’s life and work.
Gray and Rabbit
I am a lifelong animal lover. I grew up in the country, and my playmates as a child were animals. We always had a farm dog or dogs. Our first and one of my favorites was Bunny, named Bunny because my parents thought she resembled a baby bunny when she was a small pup. She was half wolf and half German Shepherd. Despite her wild heritage she was the most loyal and loving dog we ever had. She was a gentle family dog, but also a wise protector of our farm and other animals. We also had barn cats. I watched our mama cat raise her kittens every year. She cared for them with great love and responsibility. We can learn a lot from the innate God given instincts of animals. I grew to respect the kind nature of animals and their inborn sense of fairness, truth and loyalty. Our farm was for vegetables and flowers so we did not raise farm animals, but our bunnies and horses were, of course, also part of the mix.
I am rather schizophrenic about the mediums I use. Every medium has its own beauty and quirks. I love watercolors, oils, acrylics, and I love to draw with pen and ink and graphite. My professional background as a Disney Feature Animation artist gave me plenty of time to work with the pencil, and I found that I loved drawing with a passion. Those studio years also gave me good deal of hands-on skill building practice in my quest to become a better draftsman/artist. Even though I work with paint, I think of it more as drawing with a brush instead of a pencil, but with the added delight of color!
I have always been an artist. As a young girl, I loved horses, so I drew them incessantly, galloping across the paper. Just the constant ‘practice’ of pen to paper in my quest to create horses allowed me to develop some skills in art.
I had already mentioned the cats and our dogs on the farm but I also had horses. Horses were my greatest addiction.
My father farmed 40 acres in Arizona. We were surrounded by miles of fruit orchards, a large dairy farm behind us and in the front of the ranch was the Arizona desert mountain. I spent many hours of my childhood riding solo with just my horse through the fields and the Desert Mountains. That really was my time of Zen, just riding down the dirt paths with just my horse as company, just hearing the soft clip clop of the horse’s hooves on rocky dirt roads is heaven to my ears. Speaking of Heaven, God really did look over me and my mount, as through all those years, we never had a mishap (they say he watches over children and idiots-I am one of those (or a little of both)!).
I do not have a favorite piece of artwork. There are parts of pictures that I like, but I am my worst critic. I always feel I can improve or learn from what I have just created. I look at my artwork as a process. The one I have just created is a stepping stone to the next. The art can always be improved. I have so much to learn!
I am very grateful to all the inspirations in my life journey that has allowed me to have a good career surrounding the art field. The greatest inspiration comes from those furry creatures God created that we call animals! Their love and quiet being is what we humans aspire to everyday, the gift being content and in the present. If you do not have one, get a pet! They will teach you so much about life (the good things!) I would also like to encourage any of your readers who have even the smallest interest in creating something, whether it be pen to paper, drawing, writing, sculpting, photography etc. to take the leap and create! Whatever is your art of choice, just do it!
To discover more of Susan’s work, visit her at the following locations:
If you have a poem, artwork, song, photo or other creative animal inspired art
that you have created and would like to share on our blog,
please email to (Mary@outlawkritters.com).