I started drawing at the age of five and taught myself perspective drawing at age twelve. I continued to draw until 18. After working in finance at a Los Angeles advertising agency for 7 years, I moved back to my home state of Louisiana where I started painting murals and furniture after having two children, Chloe and Clayton. Life, work and children took over until I reached the age of 40. I then started painting on canvas with the encouragement of another artist, Bobby Cook. I had early success and art collectors of emerging artists began to collect my work from San Francisco to New York.
My style is self-taught and is derived from a number of influences. Most of my work is in the realist style and I continue to explore other styles. I most admire the works of Renaissance master Michelangelo and Rembrandt, photographers Edward Steichen and Ruth Bernhard, and 19th century realist painter George Innis.
After Hurricane Katrina, my husband and I moved to Saluda and renovated a property built in 1897. A few years later, we had a great surprise. We were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Isabella, right before I turned 49. We then purchased an old cabinet shop built in the 50's and renovated it. This building is now home to The Art House Gallery and Studio.
Susan Johnston Olivari