Richmond Native Breaks the Artist’s Mold

By Cindy Reed | September 13th, 2016

Boomers grew up believing anyone could become an artist. And that’s just what Suzanne Morris did. Here’s the secret to her success!

It’s a cool mid-50’s morning at Nags Head, N.C. The air is pleasant…the sun is peeking through the clouds… sunlight sparkling off the ocean waves.

Suzanne Morris is in her Nags Head home, on the ocean. Waves gently kiss the sand. The light scent of white spring flowers budding on trees drifts in the air.

“It’s one of my favorite places to paint,” says Suzanne. “From my back porch here, in my home on the ocean. Many of my paintings that got into the national shows were painted right here.”

Boomers are viewed as the first generation that made it possible for anyone to become an artist…like Richmond native, Suzanne Morris.

Growing up Richmond

“In school I got a ‘C’ in art!” Suzanne reveals. “No one told me drawing was something you had to learn. I just thought I wasn’t good at it.”

So she painted instead. Painted this…painted that…painted lots.  Her parents, while not art collectors, encouraged her that she could do anything in art.

Life Changing Experience

“Then I had a life changing experience,” she describes. “It was in my late 40’s…two dear friends died suddenly, back-to-back. My husband Robbie said ‘Let’s do this now. Let’s pack your paintings and go for it.’ So we did!”

They traveled the country together, showing her paintings in galleries, pursuing Suzanne’s passion in art. “My husband is my biggest supporter,” she affirms.

Painting Her Dream

Suzanne is predominantly self-taught. And, she sought out the best painters in the country. She studied with Kevin Macpherson, Scott Christensen, and Charles Sovek. They are known for Plein Air, play of light, landscapes, and much more.

She tells the story of meeting famed, impressionist, abstractionist painter James Kerr. It was through a workshop on the Outer Banks. “I moved to Delray Beach through the winter to study with him for four months!” says Suzanne.

She recently returned from a trip to Cuba. She was in a group of 100 plein air artists.  Cuba recently opened its borders to tourism. Her group was among the first new visitors to see Cuba.  “As artists, our paintings captured a Cuba that will probably be very different 5 years from now,” she reflects.

Why Plein Air

Suzanne paints “Plein Air” style, which is a French expression for “open air” and painting outdoors. Artists started this practice in the late 1800’s.

“Plein Air style suites my personality” says Suzanne, “it’s outdoors. I love being outdoors. All of the plein air artist’s senses are in the painting. I hear the waves crash, the birds singing, smell the fresh flowers…it’s better than anything I do in a setting. Everything I take in is in my painting.”

This past year, Suzanne has been in 10 plein air competitions. A testament to her passion and that this Boomer is fulfilling her dream as a professional artist.

She loves capturing the surrounding beauty on canvas. “Living on the ocean,” says Suzanne, “it’s different every day.” Suzanne gazes over the ocean. Today the light is hitting the water in such a way that it reflects a crystal clear Caribbean emerald.

Represented in Galleries all over

This Boomer is living the professional artist’s life for 15 years now. Her award-winning art is in galleries throughout the Southeast U.S. – including Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

She belongs to and exhibits with prestigious painting organizations including The American Society of Marine Artists (signature member), Oil Painters of America, The American Impressionist Society, Women Artists of the West, Women Painters of the Southeast, The California Art Club, and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association.

Suzanne teaches students to paint plein air style in workshops in her Outer Banks studio. “The student average age is 65 and they want to paint. You can start a career at age 60 and do it well into your 80’s” says Suzanne. “When our parents were age 60, it was old. Today, Boomers have no mindset toward age.”

Want to see more of Suzanne Morris’ artwork? You can see this award-winning artist’s paintings at Seaside Art Gallery. It’s one of the largest galleries in the Southeast with 55 years of excellence and reputed customer service.

Seaside Art Gallery is at 2716 South Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head, N.C. Their toll free number is (800) ­828 – ­2444.

The gallery has a generous policy of 30­-day refund or 5­-year exchange. They ship anywhere.