I was so excited when artist Sue Orchant agreed to be interviewed for my blog! I have been a huge fan of her work for years. Her silk painting is luxe, elegant, and saturated with rich color. It’s evident that she loves what she does!
She said, “When people walk into my booth at an art festival, I tell them, ‘It was all white silk before I got a hold of it and I had a little fun!’ Color makes everything better. Truth be told, I have a lot of fun. I love what I do! I have been painting on silk since 1999. I have studied many processes of painting on silk including gutta serti, shibori, and soy wax techniques. The intensity of the colors you can achieve and the sinuous, illustrative quality of the resist lines draws me in! Watching the dye flow from the brush across the silk is a wonder! Each piece I create is an original design hand painted on 100% silk.”
Check out what she has to say about her work, how she got started and don’t forget to go to her website to see more of her work!
Have you always been creative?
Yes, I have always known I wanted to be an artist. When I was little, my friends and I would have “art shows”. We would display our drawings on the evergreen trees in my neighbors yard for 25 cents a piece!:)
When did you start silk painting?
I started painting on silk in 1999.
Are you self-taught?
A dear friend, Kathy Ball, told me of a three hour silk painting class she was giving, and asked me if I would like to attend. I thought to myself, sure, always good to learn a new medium. If anyone told me I would be doing this for my livelihood I would laugh- I don’t care to sew, I don’t care to iron, and I don’t care to hand wash things. BUT, I LOVE brilliant color. So, silk painting sucked me right in! I took the three hour class and have been painting on silk ever since! I did attend Syracuse University, and UNM majoring in illustration, & painting.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get a lot of inspiration from the garden and from music.
Is this a full time business for you?
Yes, it has been for the last 12 years.
How hard was it to get started and were there hurdles you had to overcome?
Well, I just jumped on in. Twelve years ago I was just starting to show my work in galleries. I had always created art, but I never had to put food on the table. All that changed when my husband Marc, died suddenly. Besides being a wonderful person, he was pretty much the sole provider for our family. I had to figure things out pretty quickly as to how I was going to provide for my family and myself.
What part of making and selling your work has been easy?
I love what I do. Not everyone is as fortunate to be able to say that. I am a social person, so interacting with people on a weekly basis at art shows comes easily to me.
How did you decide to display your work?
Well, in the beginning I made do with displays that I purchased from another artist. As time went on doing shows, I observed many booth set ups and decided on what worked better for me. It was an evolution.
What are your favorite shows/events?
Showing my work at the Santa Fe Artists Market, at the Railyard in Santa Fe weekly from March through December, and the Rio Grande Balloon Fiesta shows. You meet people from all over!
What advise would you give to someone starting out?
Don’t be discouraged. Keep going, you can do it!
What has been your biggest achievement?
My children.:) They are my finest creations and being able to support myself with my art.
Do you have any great marketing suggestions?
I post on Facebook and Instagram every day while I paint. It generates interest!
Places you sell your work besides shows.
Besides doing juried art shows (38 of them last year), I have a website, www.sueorchant.com