Leesburg Woman’s Artwork Illuminates the Richness of Nature’s Palette

1.5 min read| Published On: June 28th, 2024|

By Amanda Valderrama

Leesburg Woman’s Artwork Illuminates the Richness of Nature’s Palette

1.5 min read| Published On: June 28th, 2024|

Susan Wendel is a fast painter, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t take breaks. 

In fact, she encourages artists to embrace taking breaks when creating a piece. 

“Leave it on the easel, walk away and come back to it the next day,” she says. “You see a new perspective on it, whether it really needs more to it or not.” 

The 71-year-old artist from Erie, Pennsylvania who moved to Florida with her husband after a month-long visit, began drawing in third grade.

“I’ve always been a creative person even as a child,” Susan says. “I used to make all the furniture and clothes for my barbie dolls, and I loved decorating.” 

She learned more about drawing with pencil and ink during her high school art classes. After graduating, she shifted her attention away from art to interior design while attending Mercyhurst University. 

Early in her career, she was hired as a designer at Interiors of Erie. She became partner in 1988, then bought out the business in 1990 and turned it into a smaller gallery called Susan Wendel’s Interiors.

For several years, she displayed local artwork as she got to know many artists in the Pennsylvania area. Even with how busy she was, she still tried to doodle occasionally. 

Then, after retiring, she found more time to focus on her art.

Susan and her husband originally moved to the Polk County area, but it started to feel a little too congested for them. A quick Google search of 55-and-up communities resulted in a move to The Plantation at Leesburg. 

There, Susan became a member of the Plantation Art Club, where they encouraged her to start painting. She started out with acrylic paints since she felt they are more forgiving, even though they dry quickly. She soon moved on to doing some oil painting, while also continuing to draw. 

Nature inspires her artwork the most. Susan loves creating pieces with sunsets and animals. 

As a child, she created all kinds of art from scratch. Today, her creative process has changed a bit and draws more from visual inspiration. 

Susan likes to take photos of subjects that spark her creativity, then go back and recreate them. Her artwork has more defined bright and dark colors to enhance how a piece looks visually. 

“Sometimes reality isn’t as good as what you can put down on canvas,” she says. 

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About the Author: Amanda Valderrama

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