Walking through the garden; pruning, dead-heading fading blooms, picking up fallen branches and twigs; I gather the yard waste and create a still life on the picnic table. Recently this practice has moved into the studio where I combine pieces of the yard waste with collected personal treasures. This act evokes in me a sense of play; the objects becoming symbols of identity much the way toys or actors do.

 In the studio I set the objects on a small stage in front of a simple backdrop. The objects are arranged and rearranged until their lines, values, colors and shapes create a composition that has a life of its own. The still life is carefully lit, carefully drawn, then painted in egg tempera using thousands of brush strokes to weave an illusion poised on the threshold of reality. The painting is complete when illusion and reality meet.



Susan McDonnell’s paintings have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries throughout the United States, including Sullivan Goss in Santa Barbara, HAUS Gallery/Brewery Project, the Jose Drudis-Bada Gallery, and Random Gallery in Los Angeles; Gallery Bergelli in Larkspur, Klaudia Marr gallery in Santa Fe; and Artbanque Gallery in Minneapolis. She received a BA and MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She lives in Pasadena.