After beginning the watercolor geometric abstractions that became nanoscapes in 2006, small creatures began to show up in my studio. I was not surprised to see cats, as I provide food-on-demand for two of them, but by 2007 there were moose and roosters. On a trip to France in 2008, I met “Benny the Bunny from Cluny,” and “Bernard from Bayeux.” That both had escaped from famous tapestries centuries ago and were on the lam from Art Historians, should have been a clue that there might be more creatures with intriguing stories in my life.
Since then, a vast menagerie of small friends has come my way: birds, dragons, fish, a Jelly Bear Rug, Robert the Tap Dancing Rooster, the Competitive Frog Teams (synchronized swim, sky diving and square dancing), Mary-Anna Musk-Ox, and many more. The Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul are creatures that I have imagined and excavated from a cave near the Mississippi River. Because we have caves which were famously used by Prohibition-era Bootleggers, it seemed to me that there ought to be an unexplored cave with creatures. They are here now.
Seeing the magic of detail was a gift. When I couldn’t see the blackboard in 6th grade, it was obvious that I needed glasses. Between diagnoses and delivery, my Girl Scout troop had a bird watching trip in Rock Creek Park, and I saw nothing – not a bluebird or a red bird. “Delusional” wasn't in my vocabulary, but I remember that it was an odd excursion. I got the glasses, and could see every leaf on every tree and every blade of grass. It was magic.
About Susan Gainen: I celebrate Chronological Enrichment, and have worked in the wholesale food business, sold cars and auto finance & insurance, practiced law, attended library school, worked as a headhunter for lawyers, and served as a law school career advisor at the University of Minnesota Law School. In addition to painting nanoscapes, I am the proud proprietor of a national career strategies consulting practice (passthebaton.biz) and a modest food blog and creatively re-imagined cooking school (susan-cooks!)