Artist Spotlight Series: Susan McAlister

Another southern talent to share…

I am in love with the etherial works of this artist. I am not typically a landscape lover but, I sure am now.  These loose landscapes capture the environment in a modern way. 

I love the closeness of the brushwork and the colors.

Enjoy getting to know….

Susan McAlister

Charlotte, North Carolina


What is your training?

I have always made things. I suppose if you mix enough mud and sticks by the pond, mixing paints becomes intuitive. That with an endless access to art books and museums formed a solid childhood foundation. I then studied at Davidson plus have had the good fortune of learning from several incredible artists such as Russ Warren and Eric Aho.

What inspires you and your designs?

Right now I can’t stop thinking about Richard Serra … how he engages the viewer and shifts their perception of space. I’ld like that … for my to work alter the atmosphere of where it’s placed.

Ultimately, I am inspired by land and am deep into a new body of work which specifically considers old growth forests.

 What is your favorite piece?

Oh I’ve lots for different reasons… usually they are breakthrough pieces. Here are a few:


– Views Forward Oil & Graphite on Canvas 48 x 52 2014


– Ideas & Atmosphere Oil & Mixed Media on Canvas 60×60 2015


– Clouded Hills 48 x 52 Oil & Graphite on Canvas 2015


– September 40×44 Oil & Graphite on Canvas 2015


– A series of studies of marsh grasses … Marsh Grasses 24×12 Mixed Media on Paper 2014

– Any en plein aire studies:


Montana 1 9×12 Oil on linen on board ;


Elk Camp Watercolor & graphite on paper;


Just Beyond The First Gate 12×12 Oil, Graphite & Dirt on board 2015


– My Father Loved Redbuds 60×50 Mixed Media on Canvas 2014


– My new series about old growth forests: Wild Congaree 36×72 tryptic Mixed Media on Canvas 2015 (this will be displayed at 2016 Artfields… a favorite southern art initiative!)


– In the Garden Oil, Wax and Graphite on Canvas 48 x 84 2012

How has your area influenced your work?

Place and topography and geography definitely inspire! In Charlotte it’s lush green canopies. In the Low Country it’s the movement of the marshes. In Montana it’s the vast freeing skies and light.

What is your favorite restaurant?

Five & Ten (Hugh Acheson’s) in Athens, GA.


Custom Shop (Trey Wilson’s) in Charlotte.

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Sunday dinner at The Providores (Peter Gordon’s) in London.


What is your favorite cocktail?

Rob Roy with a twist.


How do you balance personal life and work?

Prayer. Exercise. Family & friends. Not to mention living inspires my work!

Dream trip?

My family loves adventure. New Zealand fly fishing is next on the list … along with Ireland to take in the light and landscape.


Susan’s family in Wyoming…



Fly Fishing in Patagonia


Dream commission?

So many epic views are best seen from private properties. Invitations to capture a loved piece of family land are always special.

Also, I’ve a concept for a large-scale installation related to my old growth forest series … it would be spectacular in a corporate or academic setting.

Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

A plant or book from Charlotte’s beloved WingHaven Gardens.

Anything from Charleston’s Food for the Southern Soul .


Something Italian from The Hidden Countship in Charleston.

Who is your style icon?

Virginia horse country’s elegant outdoorsy women. But also, I never quite got over Virginia McKenna playing Joy Adamson in Born Free. Field clothes and boots … with an edge… Prada boots.


Your favorite artist?

My dear friend Raine Bedsole who is an accomplished galleried artist from New Orleans.


My daughter Anna who is fearless in the studio with her prints & videos. She’s studying landscape architecture and land design. Watch out Maya Lin!

 What is your most treasured possession?

My Grandmother’s everyday pearls.

Arrowheads found walking fields with my father.

A small gilded angel I purchased in Krakow on a trip with my mother. 


What are you reading?

Patti Smith’s M Train;


Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night by Parker, Morgan

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Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings which won the Man Booker Prize


What are you listening to?

At the moment lots of Dylan


& Dave Matthews along with a little bit of everything else.


What are your favorite blogs / publications?



I’m also a serial watcher of Charlie Rose interviews.

Enjoy more of Susan’s dynamic portfolio.










You can purchase and see Susan’s work at Hidell Brooks Gallery in Charlotte.

See more HERE

I would like to ask a favor,  please vote for me DAILY until March 15th in the Trad Home search for the “New Trads Rising Stars in Design.

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You can vote daily until March 15th and I would really appreciate if you popped over after you read my blog each day. It just takes a jiffy.

This opportunity would be a true design dream.  There are so many talented designers and friends in the running. Be sure to check them out too.  


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