Creators: Susan WickSerendipity first entered the picture—literally—via old family photo albums inherited through a second cousin. “Those picture became the grist of a lot of my early painting,” she says. Brown is fascinated with “what home photographers catch,” images that are often casual, “non-reverential,” people captured mid-sentence instead of elegantly posed. More photos have come to Brown through gifts, antique sales, even “dumpster diving” friends; when traveling, she snaps shots of her own. Sometimes the photographic images are adopted in their entirety, but more often Brown edits them, completely controlling her painted compositions by adding and eliminating elements. The results are situations, faces and places in which we all find some resonance.

Beginning with either colored gesso or acrylic under-painting, the finished images that we see are worked in oil over these preparatory surfaces, which often glow through from beneath the glazed-on oil. These layers of textural color are a fitting parallel for the layers of potential interpretation open to the viewer.

Born in Cleveland in 1946, as a child Brown spent hours poring over her favorite book,Famous Paintings for Young People(edited by family friend Roberta Yerkes) and took classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Further art training came during high school and at Lawrence University (1964-66) before taking a degree in sociology from Case Western Reserve University (1968). Eventually, after years of working in human services, feeling “exhausted and frustrated” with that field, Brown left to make major changes. She spent two years as a professional gardener and the “color and shape and beauty” she found there gradually brought her back, at age forty, to her “first love, painting.”