By Peter Vankevich
One day in mid-October, Ocracoke village was suddenly filled with artists from early morning until well into the afternoon.
They were a group of seven artist friends from North Carolina and Virginia who love plein air painting and chose to come to Ocracoke for inspiration. Plein air is French for “in the full air,” or, outdoor.
One of those artists is Suzanne Morris, who lives on the oceanfront in the historic district at Nags Head and has had her works published in several national art magazines, including, recently, in “American Art Collector.”
Suzanne particularly loves painting on Ocracoke.
“It is an artist’s dream with wonderful light effects, varied subject matter and easy access to painting locations,” she said about the island.
She loves painting outdoors from life and is fascinated how light and shadows impact an image.
“There is so much information in the field,” she explains. “A painter is forced to simplify and organize a design in order to tell the story. Light moves very quickly outdoors. So one must ‘lay it down and leave it’.”
There is no time to overwork a piece, she continued about painting outdoors.
“All of a painter’s senses are used to infuse the work with a feeling of the place–the smells, the sounds, the wind, even the people a painter encounters become part of a plein air painting,” she said. “Mother Nature creates color harmonies that would be impossible to make up in the studio. A plein air painting is truly a painter’s impression of the subject.”
While she is predominately self -taught, Suzanne has studied with some of the best painters in the country, including Kevin MacPherson, Scott Christensen and Charles Sovek.
Suzanne belongs to and has exhibited her award-winning paintings with several national painting organizations.
She likes to use the the alla prima technique, which is form of oil painting in which layers of wet paint are applied to previous layers of wet paint.
She is a signature member of The American Society of Marine Artists, an artist member of the California Art Club, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association and Plein Air Painters of Colorado. She is an associate member of Women Artists of the West, Oil Painters of America, the American Impressionist Society and Women Painters of the Southeast.
Last fall, she served as show chair for the American Impressionist Society’s 14th National Exhibition at M Gallery in Charleston, SC.
Suzanne and her fellow artists plan on returning to Ocracoke.
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