Sue Conner is a second generation native Southern Californian who feels a strong connection to the Inland Empire and High Desert where she has lived and worked her entire life. Sue’s artist mother was a constant source of inspiration and encouraged her creativity by surrounding her with an abundant supply of colorful art supplies, sketch paper, canvases, and books. A graduate from California Polytechnic University in Pomona, California, Sue is proud of her 40-year career as a 6-12 public school teacher where she continued to learn and grow from the rich and challenging experiences that come from working with pre-teens and young adults.
Sue retired from teaching in 2014 and now has the time to more seriously pursue her artistic passion as well as practice the habits of mind she diligently attempted to ingrain in her students. Although she has experience creating with myriad art media and processes, she is inspired by the endless possibilities found when working in mixed media. Sue was blessed to have grown up in a family that loved adventure and travel – instilling in her a wonder and appreciation for her surroundings — the photographs that she has taken along the way have become an important source for her work.
“Many years ago, when visiting the marina on the San Diego Bay, I observed a man patiently and persistently balancing rocks, one on top of the other, sometimes 3-5 rocks high, in seemingly impossible configurations. Standing there transfixed by his process, I considered the idea of balance and what it means in so many aspects of life. To me, the completed structures were a symbol for life itself – the rocks in their tenuous, yet stable positions represented how fragile and unpredictable life can be, and how finding balance is what creates stability amid cacophony and chaos.
I have come to realize that the need to find balance in life is manifested throughout my artwork and is key in my compositional plans. I have spent considerable time reflecting on the people, places, and events that have left memorable impressions on my life – all of which contributed to finding and maintaining that balance. This is now reflected through the intent of my art where I have pushed myself to create work that communicates a more personal and significant meaning.
I instantly fell in love with encaustic after being introduced to the process and medium in 2014. The medium’s rich colors, sculptural qualities, and stunning textures are what I find intriguing and exciting. As I work to master the process and better understand the nuances of the medium, I find satisfaction when, instead of trying to control the medium, I let the spontaneous nature of the wax guide me. I continue to experiment with ways to embed found objects and incorporate images, where the wax becomes the unifying factor.
I have learned that life is essentially about the journey, what we encounter as we move forward, and how we choose to react. This is also how I approach the creative process — I now embrace my failed attempts and flaws, as I think more purposely about the process, deriving more value from the lessons learned along the way than in the final product itself.”