No doubt you have heard that Workshops in France is hosting a workshop given by world-renowned contemporary figure and portrait painter Susan Lyon. You won’t want to miss! You can see some of her art here. She not only creates breathtaking paintings, but she is also in high demand as an instructor. Her workshops sell out quickly, as do her many instructional DVDs.

When Susan saw a feature on PBS about the artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, she was inspired to be an artist. This prompted her to enroll in the Art Institute of Chicago. Although she says she really learned nothing at the Institute, Susan considers herself fortunate that her father later steered her toward the American Academy of Art because he knew an instructor there. It was there that her career actually blossomed.

Stepping Stones to Success

It’s no surprise that Susan is valued so highly as an instructor, her teaching style is positive and highly encouraging. She comes by it honestly, as she was impressed by her Life Drawing teacher at the American Academy of Art, Mr. Parks. He inspired her to enter into a career in fine art. She describes Mr. Parks as “like a grandfather—loving, and everyone just melted toward him.” At the time, she was also taking a class in Creative Illustration, and the teacher of that class was quite the opposite. He sought to intimidate students rather than take them under his wing. It’s no surprise then, that she made her career decision based on the work of the kind, nurturing teacher.

Susan went from there to the Palette and Chisel Club, where, at the age of 23, she become the youngest winner of their prestigious gold medal.

It was also there that she met fellow student and her future husband, Scott Burdick. After their marriage they wanted to explore the world, inspired by artists such as John Singer Sargent who traveled extensively, painting faces and figures of many lands. When not traveling, they live in rural North Carolina.

“Curious” and “Peonies” by Susan Lyon

Susan and Scott have certainly made their dreams come true, as can be seen through their collective body of work. Today, they reign as a royal couple of the painting world—and the best-kept secret of Susan Lyon’s upcoming workshop is that her husband Scott Burdick, will also be there to mentor and engage with all the workshop attendees. The workshop includes painting models on the estate, and also in the Provencal countryside. Don’t miss it!

Pictured here: Susan Lyon, programs coordinator for WorkshopsInFrance Julie Snyder, and Scott Burdick in the Piazza della Signoria, Florence where an impromptu meeting led to the creation of the Susan Lyon Workshop in Provence.

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Blogger: Julie Snyder

Julie Snyder is a professional artist and also the programs director of Workshops In France.  A native of Scotland, she is a seasoned traveler who splits her time between California and France.  You can learn more about her role with Workshops in France here.

Check out more blogs about art workshops, tips and hacks for artists traveling in France, Scotland and Italy.

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