We will be featuring artist Susan Duke.
Susan Duke has been painting all her life. Many of her happiest early memories are of sitting at an easel, looking through the window and painting impressions of the scenery outside. Her father was a highly decorated Marine pilot and photographer with rapidly changing assignments; her mother was a schoolteacher with a sense of adventure -- so the family moved frequently. Both of her parents preferred the freedom of living out in the country to the structure of base quarters, so Duke grew up exploring forests or beaches, wading in streams and following shafts of light into hidden magical places. Serious blood chemistry illnesses during childhood resulted in a prognosis of only a 2% chance of survival, but experimental medical technology coupled with her indomitable will to live eventually triumphed. Duke states that facing death at such an early age gave her an indelible perspective about how precious, beautiful and fleeting our time here on earth is. To occupy the long periods of convalescence, the young girl was encouraged to further her studies in art. She took private lessons and due to her talent, she was even sometimes allowed to enroll in adult classes. She soon began to win awards which resulted in selling her first commissioned painting at 12 years old. After winning a contest at 17, she experienced a whirlwind career as a New York fashion model. By 19 she had married and given birth to a wonderful baby girl. The marriage didn't last, but her child has always been a joy and inspiration for the artist. She says that love and responsibility gave her motivation and strength far beyond anything she had ever imagined.