Susan Elkins


...And Victory Goes To The Flowers***


After the lengthy winter cold stretches in Western Canada the rebirth of spring is always completely welcome. So, we have gathered a wonderful grouping of flowers in paint and in clay to embrace the glory of spring. As Mary-Beth Laviolette states "flowers continue to inspire new interpretations (A Delicate Art, p.9)." Our April flower show includes ceramic work by Ruth Chambers, oil paintings by local Banff artist Susan Elkins, and watercolours by D. Helen Mackie RCA (1926-2018).

The brilliance found in gardens of flowers offers Susan Elkins the possibility of working with both dramatic and subtle shifts of colour and light. With these works, she communicates a freedom and exuberance of expression.

The majority of the Impressionists applied paint in small touches of pure colour rather than broader, blended strokes, thus making pictures which seemed dazzlingly brighter....also believed in painting out of doors, and in trying to catch a particular fleeting impression of colour and light rather than making a synthesis in the studio (Dictionary of Art Terms).

Susan Elkins’ skill with light and color is recognizable. For fifty years she has painted plein air (directly from nature) with some additions in studio for larger works; her intent is to express the beauty and subtleties of nature. She handles colour to express arrangements and harmonies with a concern for layering, strength of light and balance. The appearance of a spontaneous approach belies the constructed quality. She seeks to capture mountain peaks, still life or sun-filled flower gardens by concentrating on the color and light in front of her easel.

"I was taught to see colour first, then the object…"

Born in Montreal, Susan Elkins studied at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Sir George Williams School of Art (Montreal) and the Cape School of Art (Provincetown, Massachusetts) in the late 1960s through the 1970s, where she dedicated herself to impressionist technique. She moved to Banff more than forty years ago.

“…it is light and atmosphere that create the color key in nature – the most important element in a painting…”

Over the years Elkins has exhibited in solo and group shows across Canada and the USA. Her work is in a number of private collections in Canada, USA, Korea, China, the United Kingdom, and Australia as well as corporate and public collections, including the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff), the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Calgary Petroleum Club, Gulf, Shell and Texaco.