All she wanted to do upon retiring was grow a garden and paint. Susan Walker pruned back the gardening a little since, but the painting has been blooming.
Walker, who moved to River Hills in 2003, always enjoyed painting watercolors but took her mother’s advice not to make a career of it. When Walker retired in 2001, she found the time to put her visions to canvas.
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“It’s scary at first because everybody’s different,” Walker said. “One person might like something but somebody else might not.”
Walker began with watercolors, thinking she’d do floral scenes.
“I was a very tight painter,” she said. “I always tried to paint a more traditional watercolor. I’m still learning.”
Now her work includes different mediums, and different surfaces and subject matters. A quick scan of her River Hills home studio shows scenes of a plain wooden door in Greece, a Tuscan building and a Mexican dancer. Walker’s work generally is more abstract now, though she has no favorite style.
“I don’t have any preference, because I’m still having fun,” she said. “I’m trying a lot of things, and I probably always will.”
A native of Idaho, Walker grew up in Missouri, but also spent time with husband Ed in New Jersey, California, Texas and Puerto Rico. She also worked with Allstate Insurance as a casualty adjuster, claims adjuster and human resources manager.
A couple of years after she began painting, a friendship with Visions of Art exhibit organizer Deitrah Smith led to Walker participating in the talent showcase. Now Walker not only attends painting classes and workshops, but also meets with other local artists to critique whatever works group members bring.
Walker quickly learned how talented her community is.
“We’re all retired,” she said of the high population of community artists, “and everybody wants to do something.”
The only problem Walker has with painting is admiring her own work. She can look at pieces from years past and see progress compared to later versions, but that’s about all the credit she allows herself.
“I am never proud of any of my pieces,” she said. “I’m never comfortable saying anything that I have is that good.”
She is, however, proud to say she’ll try all sorts of things in her artwork, which is more than she can say for the flower and vegetable gardening.
“I was going to do that and paint,” Walker said. “I don’t think I’ll ever get painting out of my system.”
Want to see more?
The popular “Visions of Art” exhibit, showcasing local artistic talent, will be held Sept. 24-25 at the River Hills Country Club. Organizers invite artists living in Lake Wylie and the surrounding communities to participate by calling Deitrah Smith at 803-831-9180 or Deborah Naber at 803-831-6297.
Visions of Art is a non-juried show, limited to the display of framed work (painting and photography) or sculpture.
Kicking off the event will be a preview party 7-9:30 p.m. Sept. 24. The event is open to the public. Reservations are required for an evening of heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at a cost of $22.The exhibit will continue for viewing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 25.