Hello I am Susan Feniak (follow me on Instagram and Facebook!). It is an honor and pleasure to be a featured artist on Doodlewash. I must thank Charlie for his continued support and for making me feel welcome. He has become a good friend.
I have lived and worked in Salmon Arm and area for most of my life. For those of you that don’t know where that is, Salmon Arm is situated on the shores of Shuswap Lake in the southern interior of British Columbia Canada. I have been married for almost 42 years. Together my husband, I have raised two boys and now we get to enjoy four grandchildren. My day job is bookkeeping. To escape from that, the computer, and the rigors of everyday life, I found art.
In 2009, a daughter-in-law asked for an easel for Christmas. When I came home with it and thought about it for a while, I let my husband know that I would like to have an easel and art supplies too. That is how I got my start in art.
I will have to admit my first attempts were rather dismal. I am a determined person and continued, learning from trial and error. I am a self-taught artist and am not afraid to try different things. Not anymore. I started with acrylics, and thanks to Charlie, I now dabble in watercolours. At 60, one might say I am a late bloomer!
I am inspired by the world around me. Travels, gardens, walks, hours spent observing, photo’s I have taken, photo’s I come across are all just a few examples of what I use as cues, prompts or triggers. Sometimes my imagination takes over and the next thing I know there is a painting, from nowhere.
We own a boat, so a lot of my paintings are of boats and the lake hanging up at our house. The winters are long here, so those paintings give us a friendly reminder that boating season will return. Then there are the walls in our dining room which have become home to the menagerie of animals that I have created.
When I paint with acrylics I don’t often draw the scene or character first unless it is very detailed.
I find I have to draw or at least sketch my idea for a watercolour painting before I start. If I want a very loose feeling painting then I just go in with a brush and have at it.
At first my tools and supplies were inferior. I have since graduated to better quality papers, brushes and paints. And have been amazed by the difference the right tools make in the end results. So believe me the expense is well worth it.
I use Strathmore or Canson Aquarelle cold press paper for my simpler paintings. Recently I picked up some Fabriano hot press paper which I really like. It can take everything I throw at it. Some day I hope to be good enough to try Arches as I hear that is the very best paper. Last year I splurged and bought myself Pure Kolinski watercolour brushes. Sizes 000,0,01 and 9. I LOVE those brushes. My paints are Holbein Artists Watercolors, a set of 12. Owning some Daniel Smith paints is a dream that one day may come true. When we are on the boat I have a travel set of Koi watercolours.
At first, I was a bit timid when it came to watercolours so, I started by using watercolour pencils and crayons. A girl has got to start somewhere!! I still own them and haul them out every now and then. There is a set of oil pastels in my repertoire as well, which I have played with and hope to use again one day soon.
Being a cancer survivor, I am thankful for every day I wake up and for every birthday I get to celebrate. It’s been twenty one years since I was first diagnosed and here I am, still. There is hope. A good positive attitude goes a long way!
There is one more thing I am thankful for every day, and that is discovering art and the joy that world has brought me.