Johnson County Artist Paints Furry Friends
Distilling emotion from a shadow, a gesture, a turn of the wrist has intrigued Susan P. Wilson for as long as she can remember. Pencil and sketch pad in hand, she loves to capture simple moments. If “art is not what you see, but what you make others see,” as Impressionist Edgar Degas said, then Susan wants you to see the loose, fluid beauty that is all around you.
Watercolors and pastels grace her sketches that interpret mood and transport the viewer into the moment. “It is the softness of a line and the serendipitous journey to bolder and bolder strokes that leads to discovery,” she has said of her own love of drawing.
More recently, Susan’s work has gone to the dogs – literally. She has been exploring watercolor techniques in her new paintings, “Best Friend Series,” now on display at the Images Art Gallery in Overland Park.
“Funny story,” Susan reveals, “our lab used to devour watercolor paper whenever I left it out.” What began as a frustration with their beloved Suede, ironically inspired her first dog portrait. Capturing a pet’s unique personality with color and texture became a thing. As friends and family requested ever more renderings, Susan realized she loved the playfulness and genuinely happy expressions of dogs.
The entire group of playful paintings will be on display through July after which a few paintings can always be found at Images Art Gallery. From boxers to dalmations, poodles to hounds, rescue and mixed breeds alike, Susan loves to paint the dog’s essence. She finds watercolors allow the loose, fun expressions to jump off the page.
“I feel like he is looking at me… it could not be any more perfect,” said one of her most recent commissions. “I look and then I can’t take my eyes away.”
Susan understands. In a military family that moved 18 times in 27 years, dogs and family provided the grounding force for her life and art. She knows what it’s like to have to say goodbye to someone or something and how a painting can be a visual translation of memory. From southern roots to worldwide adventures and now a 10-year resident of Kansas, she also learned how to pare down and adjust her materials to her environment. At this point in her career, watercolors express the fluidity that she has learned to live by.
To view more of Susan’s artwork, visit