Susan Lyon - Biography
Click here to see some of Susan's father's drawings.

Susan Lyon grew up in Oak Park, Illinois. Her initial interest in art was sparked by a television show on Georgia O'Keefe. "I hadn't seen art like that before. Her work touched me emotionally and seemed so personal -- I saw a television program on her life and that inspired me to take drawing classes. Lyon studied painting at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and was an active participant in Chicago's 100 year-old Palette and Chisel Club. It is there she first began exhibiting and selling her work; at twenty-three she was the youngest winner of the prestigious Gold Medal which she won two consecutive years in the annual Oil Painting show plus a third place in the Silver Medal Watercolor show. She entered the Oil Painters of America show once and got 7th place. In 1998 and 2000 she won an artist choice award in the Northwest Rendezvous Show.

Susan is a member of  the Northwest Rendezvous Group in Helena, MT and was one of 50 artists who participated in the Laguna Plein Air painting competition in 2000.  The shows are great to meet other artists and make contacts but the stress of painting on the spot is too much for her. She has been apart of numerous group shows but mainly exhibits with her husband in two person shows each year.

Susan draws much inspiration from painters such as Zorn, Fechin, Sorolla, and Celia Beaux. Lyon's technique is to paint wet on wet to start and then wet on dry for her finishing touches. She occasionally thins her oils with mineral spirits to obtain a balance of scratchy brush work against thick opaque strokes for the lights. "My style is realistic with as much impressionistic color as possible. I like to combine wide brushes for sweeping strokes in the background with small, soft brushes for subtle details in my center of interest."

Many of her ideas come from the everyday objects that surround her such as stuffed animals, dolls or the occasional curious kitten playfully exploring her studio. "What I hope to accomplish is to convey the whimsical beauty I see around me as well as to make the viewer smile when they look at my work. When I started out as an artist, I struggled against my own more feminine tastes. I feared people would not take a painting of stuffed animals or dolls seriously. Once I overcame this self-consciousness, I was happy to find that what I enjoy looking at day after day also reaches others. Even when I'm painting fairly traditional things, my greatest joy is figuring out original ways of setting up the most common of still life objects so that they appear dynamic.

Susan Lyon lives in a rural area of North Carolina with her husband, artist Scott Burdick, whom she met at the Palette and Chisel in 1989 and married in 1993. She moved there to escape the hectic pace of city life as well as to experience an entirely different part of the country. Surrounded by nature, Susan's studio allows her the space and privacy to grow as an artist. It also serves as a perfect home-base for her painting trips and travels which have included most of Europe, Turkey, Greece, Mexico, Canada, Nepal, Thailand, China and Africa. "The excitement of traveling, seeing so many new sights, and incredible works in museums; combined with the challenge of painting on the spot make me a travel addict! Even before I go on a trip I'm planning the one after."

Susan's mediums of choice are oil and charcoal, with occasional forays into watercolor.

Selected Publications

March issue of "Art Talk", 1997; 
July/August "Art of the West" 1998, 
January issue of Southwest Art 2000, 
June / July issue of "International Artist" 2000, 
U.S. Art fall of 2001 
June/July issue of "Art Talk" 2002 
May issue of Southwest art 2004 
The Artist's Sketch Book, August of 2004 
The Artist's Magazine "Most likely to Succeed" October 2005  
Southwest art, Dispatches Painting in France  Aug 2006  January 2008
The Artist's Magazine  July/August 2008

Visions and Voyages - The 
Art of Susan Lyon  
 Published 2008

Honors and Awards

1992 First Place in the Gold Medal Show - Palette and Chisel, Chicago 
First Place in the Gold Medal Show - Palette and Chisel, Chicago 
1998 Western Rendezvous of Art, 
Helena Montana - Honorable Mention 
2001 Western Rendezvous of Art, 
Helena Montana - Honorable Mention 
2003 Honorable Mention for Figurative - International Artist Magazine 
2004 Second Prize for Figurative - International Artist Magazine  
2004 Montgomery frame award -  
Masters of the American West, Los Angeles 
2007  Salon Show  Greenhouse Gallery - Honorable mention
2008 - Honorable mention

Selected Exhibitions

1998 - 2008 Western Rendezvous of Art, Helena Montana 
2003 - 2005 Masters of the American West, 
Los Ange


Check out our events page to see the several miniature shows that she participates in through the year

Susan painting at the Laguna Plein Air Painters of America show, Laguna Beach, CA -- 2000

Susan and a local girl named Rita in Backtapur, Nepal -- 2001.

Nepal, 2001.

Laguna Beach, CA -- 2000.

Susan painting in the Forbidden City, China -- 1999

NWR Quick Draw - Montana - 1999

Me painting Hope Clure in my studio 2006

This photo was taken by a fellow volunteer Deby Wallach from California. It was taken in Feb 2007 in Tanzania while staying in a Masaai camp.