B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science, University of Mississippi, 1995
M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mississippi State University, 2000
1984 – Mary Ann Sutter, Ripley, Tennessee; watercolor, watercolor pencils, pastels, and gouache. I continued painting in watercolor for many years after Mrs. Sutter passed away. In 1989, I started taking art classes offered by The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science’s Mississippi University for Women’s art department. I learned multiple mediums. Alas, while I was hospitalized for the initial diagnosis of Crohn’s disease; my paints and brushes were stolen from the MUW art department closet! This was in March of 1990. I was deeply saddened to be parted from my major art supplies. It would take me years to obtain the amount that was lost to me.
During this time, of little to no art media, my husband and I began buying places/homes to remodel while we lived in them. The remodeling brought along another skill set, that would serve me well when I did return to painting. After several moves, finishing college, and settling in Alaska; I was finally able to replace the paints and brushes that I had spent a decade of my childhood trying to obtain! This time, I stocked up on acrylics, oil, pastels, charcoal, watercolor, gouache, canvases, papers, brushes, and whatever medium I could get my hands on! While I like oil painting and completed 2 or 3 oil pieces, I found that acrylic techniques reminded me most of watercolor. Eventually, I downsized to watercolor, gouache, acrylic, ink, watercolor pencils, charcoal/pastels, and pencils. This was in 1999.
I continued to grow my technique as much as possible, with a full-time laboratory career. I spent my days off painting landscapes inspired by the Alaskan beauty that surrounded me. After a bad turn with my health, I put down my brushes for a number of years, again. My love of painting would have to wait on the back burner, in order for me to get well. Immediately, (after an ablation surgery), we were able to conceive our one and only child! I had just been diagnosed with osteopenia, from all of the prednisone I had been treated with over the years!
As a family, we continued to remodel and build homes. And, I would get whatever book I could; to learn the latest painting techniques. I have spent years honing my painting skills, and still learn more with each passing day.
We moved back to Mississippi, with our son, to be closer to family and to give me time to heal (again). I found out in 2005, that I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. While my health problems do feel like a full-time job that I will never earn vacation days for; I use art and home design to allow myself the self-expression I often crave, under such limiting circumstances.
In 2010, our family moved to beautiful New Mexico. I still love to paint with acrylics, resin, and watercolor. Lately, I have been working on a resin series; with my art as therapy for my illness. My health problems may slow me down, but I refuse to give in! At times, I have more limited use of my body, however, find ways to use my limitations to fuel my art!
My work was accepted by ArtLifting, in Boston, MA in 2017. There are 10 paintings of mine available for purchase on their website – https://www.artlifting.com/collections/suzanne-hellums
In 2018, my work was recognized by Masterworks of New Mexico. The resin painting, Zephyr Tide, was part of their 20th Annual Masterworks show. I joined The MasterWorks of New Mexico Steering Committee, as a result. I have been a member of The Rio Grande Art Association since 2016.
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