Scottsdale native Suzy Almblade has been an artist for as long as she can remember. She and her twin sister spent hours of their childhood surrounded by art supplies and it became a hobby they could lose themselves in for hours. There was no doubt that art was the path for them.
Suzy dabbled in other mediums, but ultimately found her voice in watercolor. She loves the element of freedom and surprise it provides. Most of her work is inspired by local scenes of horses and Western landscapes, and regardless of the subject, her goal is to capture a sense of calm in her paintings. She often does this by painting small studies on the scene (en plein air) to capture the light and the colors that are often not relayed through a camera lens.
Captivated by the energy and creativity at the Celebration of Fine Art, Suzy set a goal after her first visit to enter the show in five years. And sure enough, five years later, she made that a reality.
Read on or watch the video interview below for more of Suzy’s story.
When did you know art was your calling?
From an early age. I have a twin sister and I can’t ever talk about art without talking about her. We both were creative from an early age. When we were little kids, my mom would put down art supplies to keep us busy and we would be at it for hours. From very early on, we knew that art was something that we loved. As time passed, we realized this is the career that we wanted.
What do you love most about creating art?
With watercolor, it’s the surprise. With oil, you have a very controlled method of putting the paint down. But with watercolor, there’s a freedom that happens because you put the paint down and then it does its own thing. You never exactly know what it’s going to look like. It’s always surprising and fun.
What challenges you the most about your work?
If I mess it up, then there’s no going back. You get one shot and if it doesn’t work, then you just have to get a clean slate and start over with a fresh piece of paper. I’ve gotten to the point now where I’m pretty good at getting the watercolor to do what I would like it to do while still being surprised and happy with the results.
What do you hope your work inspires in others?
There’s a calm that I try to capture from the locations I paint. When I get my references, I try to go there in person and take pictures. I might do a little study with the colors because there are colors that the camera can’t capture, but the eyes remember. I try to get those done within a short period of time of being there in person and then capturing that moment on paper.
What drew you to the Celebration of Fine Art?
I grew up here in Scottsdale, but I had no idea this was a thing. The Celebration of Fine Art has been around since I was a baby. I’ve been around for 32 years and the Celebration has been around for 32 years! I decided to check it out and when I walked in the doors, I thought it was Disneyland. The first time I walked in, I must have been here for five hours just absorbing the creativity and talking to the artists and getting inspiration. I was buzzing when I got home and had to paint. I came back multiple times, I brought my friends and my sister, and I set a goal that first day that I wanted to get into the show within the next five to ten years. It’s five years now. I got in five years after I found this place and that’s just wonderful.