Whether painting a commissioned portrait, a figurative piece, or a “portrait” of a single rose, Suzann has the unique ability to capture the essence and spirit of a subject and combine it with masterful likeness. Her inspiration and passion comes from the classical old masters, and she is particularly influenced by the Russian painters of the 19th century. Intrigued and motivated by the depth and craft of masterworks hundreds of years old, Suzann works to understand classical methods and disciplines and leverage them with contemporary practices and sensibilities to create representational realism.
Suzann Beck holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Moorhead State University, Moorhead MN, and studied portraiture with atelier-trained painter Judith Anthony, Plymouth, MN, and classical glazing technique portraiture with Jeffery Hurinenko, St. Paul, MN.
Suzann serves as the Minnesota Ambassador for the Portrait Society of America, and teaches portrait painting and drawing classes in her Northeast Minneapolis studio, White Bear Center for the Arts, Wet Paint in St. Paul, and the Paramount Center for the Visual Arts, St. Cloud, MN.
Does this portrait make you want to guess what the subject is thinking?
To me, a simple "yes" to that question tells me if a portrait is a success. How many times have you seen a “so what?” painting? — a painting that’s realistic, accurate, but essentially dead? Now think about a portrait where you swear the subject is about to take a breath —not because it’s painted perfectly, but because the spirit of the person painted somehow made it into the painting. That’s the kind of painting I aspire to paint.
I believe what the sitter brings to the portrait is as essential as the brushstrokes I put on the canvas. I look for the beauty inside of humanity, the beauty that resides in a person’s identity and spirit — the kind of beauty that has nothing to do with nose shape or the smoothness of one’s skin. I invite you to look at my work and discover the uniqueness and beauty that I've discovered in my subjects.
As an oil portraiture teacher, I enjoy the process of helping students combine their own unique style with a principled approach to painting. I revel in their successes and in seeing them grow as artists.