Suzette De Ley MacSkimming
Painter and Printmaker
What I find so exciting about making art is the exploratory process – a sort of inner archeology. I map my own interior landscape, seeking fresh discoveries. One day I’ll discover a vibrant new colour relationship. Another day I’ll look at form and space differently, layering materials in a new way. The act of painting takes on a dynamic life of its own. I let traces of that spontaneous process show in the finished painting.
In making art I seek to understand and embrace the impermanence of life, discovering images, symbols and themes that are powerful for me. The resulting artworks are multi-layered, heavily textured and richly coloured. I hope they will evoke in the viewer memories, dreams and reflections and will become a catalyst for pleasure and insight.
I grew up drawing and painting while life made other plans for me. At university I first enrolled in sociology, in order to become a teacher, and then in art, which was what I had always dreamed of doing.
At the University of California at Berkeley, I studied with some of the leading west-coast abstract expressionists. Hassel Smith, Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Hartman all inspired my spontaneous process-oriented approach. As a graduate student I learned printmaking from Karl Kasten, who taught me a reverence for craft and technique. After completing my studies I spent a year travelling through Europe encountering great art: Turner, Monet and Chartres cathedral all stand out. In 1965 I settled in Canada, later studying with Robert Markle and Dennis Burton at the Three Schools of Art in Toronto, and Richard Gorman and Leonard Gherbrandt at the Ottawa School of Art.
Being chosen to exhibit in that public setting was exciting and encouraging for me. My artwork has been exhibited regularly at various galleries in solo and group shows, including the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Snapdragon Gallery, Ottawa, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, Kingston, the Wet Print Gallery in North Adams, Massachusetts, Gallery Perth in Perth, Ontario, the Mill Street Gallery, Almonte, and the Marianne Van Silfhout Gallery at St Lawrence College, Brockville. For many years I have shown at the Perth Autumn Studio Tour. I was recently a finalist for the MERA Award of Excellence in the Fine Arts and Fine Crafts, and in 2014 was accorded Honourable Mention at a juried exhibition at the White Flag Gallery, Brockville.