Southern born and raised, Susan Gore Gardner grew up hearing Country, Bluegrass, Blues, Jazz, and Rock & Roll. A lifelong love of drawing became a profession upon graduation from Kennesaw State University in 1980. Fast forward to 1990 when the artist encountered the medium of pastels and began creating distinctively Southern landscapes and still lifes. During a personally challenging chapter in her life, the artist found the blessing of comfort, encouragement and creative inspiration in music. A visual fascination with the musicians and instruments bloomed and Susan found her life’s work: capturing on paper the essence of the musicians, that moment they are ‘in the groove’, illuminated by the striking colors of stage lights.
Susan’s devotion to portraying the instruments with affection and accuracy is appreciated by players and listeners alike. She frequents guitar shops and museums as she researches the instruments for future portraits. A connection has been made with an entire new group of people who relate to Susan’s artwork because of the musical subjects.
A statement from the artist:
“You’ve been there… The house lights dim, stage lights brighten, and the touch of fingers to strings coaxes tone, rhythm and soul that connect with the heart of the listener… a singer and song unite to express feelings that everyone recognizes as their own…
Connections are made. Spirits are lifted. And for a moment in time we know we’re not alone on this long road.”
Susan’s musician portraits have provoked many smiles, initiated wonderful music-oriented conversations and garnered numerous awards. Tony Sims’ portrait was chosen Best in Show at a recent Paulding Fine Art Association’s Juried Fall Art Competition. Portraits of Nick Ivey, Paul Martin, Bruce Jeansonne and Brian Cameron have won awards at juried art shows.
Marty Stuart’s portrait was awarded 3rd Place in the prestigious Southeastern Pastel Society’s 2013 Members Show, and also Juror’s Choice at the Artist Guild of Northwest Georgia’s Fine Art Competition in 2015. But Susan will always remember with delight watching Marty’s expression the first time he saw the portrait at Mill Town Music Hall in Bremen, Georgia. He selected it, plus Susan’s portraits of his Fabulous Superlatives band (Kenny Vaughan, Harry Stinson and Paul Martin) as well as Leroy Troy’s portrait, to become part of the country & bluegrass music museum he is building in his hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi. Marty also commissioned Susan to create a portrait of his new bass player Chris Scruggs which will join the other portraits at the museum.
Susan lives with her husband in the countryside near Bremen, Georgia where she works in her private studio. Her artwork can be found at these Georgia galleries: Downtown Gallery in Cartersville, the Courthouse Gallery on the square in Dallas, and the Mercantile Shop in Mill Town Music Hall in Bremen.