34 years ago today, Susan Seddon Boulet’s Shaman: The Paintings of Susan Seddon Boulet was published. Evoking the essences of spiritual shamans, the book showcases Susan’s eye for the mystical with its intricate use of colors and arresting depictions of men, women, and beasts.
Born in Brazil in 1941, Susan’s early childhood was spent on a citrus ranch managed by her father. Here she developed an early connection to the wonders of nature, inspiring her to take up drawing from a young age. She began by drawing the cows and horses on the farm. Also while on the farm, Susan was fascinated by the folk and fairy tales she heard from her father and the other caretakers of the farm, which served as inspiration for her art later on. Though Susan moved to the United States in 1967, she continued to visit Brazil yearly, and her time there in nature and with her family continued to bolster her creativity.
Susan’s early works were of medieval and fantasy characters, which were inspired by the tales she heard as a child. As her style developed, her subjects evolved further into the spiritual, including anthropomorphic animals, Shamans, and Goddesses. Working primarily with oil pastels and inks, the colors in Susan’s paintings are somehow both soft and vivid, taking on a relaxing, dreamlike quality while remaining visually stunning.
Working primarily with oil pastels and inks, the colors in Susan’s paintings are somehow both soft and vivid, taking on a relaxing, dreamlike quality while remaining visually stunning.
Many of Susan’s paintings utilize fine lines which explode outwards, evoking the spiritual power of her subjects. Otherwise they swirl in and around the subjects, depicting what feels like the vast inner world. As FF2 Contributor Reanne Rodriguez puts it, “By blurring the distinction between the subject and object to create spectral auras that permeated the landscape, Susan was able to mesmerize her audience and implore us to look closely. This unique, personal style suffused with detail, texture, and color, is what makes Susan’s work so widely renowned.”
The vivid colors, woven together in great detail, along with the surprising depth in the faces of the people, gods and animals depicted, make Susan’s paintings uniquely mesmerizing. When you look at these paintings, something about them truly stops you in your tracks.
Susan is considered to be one of the most impactful painters in the Visionary Art Movement, which seeks to make art that transcends the visual realm and evokes the spiritual and mystical. Other notable visionary artists are William Blake and Gustave Moreau. In the words of Reanne Rodriguez in her tribute to Susan, “Whether she’s depicting unicorns, mermaids, goddesses, or jesters, Susan’s sensitivity to the interpenetration of seen and unseen worlds creates a sense of awe and wonder. No other artist has ever given us such a clear passage into this mysterious world.” One look at Susan’s paintings and you are sure to agree.
© Julia Lasker (7/1/2023) FF2 Media
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Featured photo & bottom photo: Images from Pomegranate’s two 2022 Susan Seddon Boulet calendars have been provided by Pomegranate and are used here by FF2 Media with their permission. All Rights Reserved by Pomegranate.