About Susan Colwell



Susan was born at Camp LeJeune, NC, the eldest of three girls. After her father's stint in the military as a Marine Captain, the family moved to Toledo, Ohio. Always drawing, Susan was enrolled in classes at the Toledo Museum of Art at the age of six. She had her first solo exhibition at a Toledo art gallery while still a teenager. 

At the end of her freshman year in high school, the family moved to Zurich, Switzerland. Nearly every weekend, the family traveled throughout Europe and there her love of art was cemented. Susan earned her B.F.A. in painting from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After traveling throughout Europe, she lived in California, working as an artist in an advertising agency. She followed her first husband to Indiana and Rochester, New York working as a social worker and always painting; however, the “college sweetheart marriage" collapsed and Susan moved to Charleston. Nearly every summer, she and her twin sisters spent several weeks visiting her grandparents in downtown Charleston.
The smell of pfluff mud was in her blood, so it seemed only natural to seek refuge in the south. 

Susan soon met and fell in love with her mother's next-door neighbor, Burge. They married. He had custody of his two children, Biff and Kimberly, and together they had Christopher.  When Chris was just one, Susan became a co-founder of Gallery 12; however, her then abstract oil paintings were not well received, and she chose to focus on her family...most likely confidence, or lack thereof, was a factor. When Christopher went off to Furman University, Susan's painting exploded!  She and Burge had moved to Awendaw and her studio overlooked the Wando River...the sun set in their backyard...it was an artist's paradise.  "I could paint from this one spot...it is never the same,” she said. Life was good. 

And then Burge died of a heart attack in December 2001.  Life, as she knew it, collapsed.  "I was committed to a show at Dock Street in February and later I was committed to one at Footlight Player's and somehow, all went as scheduled although I barely remember."  It was a nightmare that never seemed to end and her painting became dark and moody, perhaps even morose. But, slowly, painting gave her the spark... it fulfilled her once again.   

Then she met a man who had a knowledge of art and an innate sense of her work. His critiques, and the fact that he put little hearts in oil paint on the back of her successful paintings, made her smile again. Susan's painting regained the light and the subtle color for which she is known. After selling her home in Awendaw, she lived for months on the Isle of Palms. While listening to the ocean, watching the sunrise, and walking the dogs when the sun is barely up,
she found life and love again, as corny as that may sound!!!  

P.S.  Look for the heart on the back of a painting.


Please click on the article below to read more about Susan