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Art Bio

Suzanne W. Hellums ~ Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Once a biochemist and molecular biologist, Suzanne now uses a scientific approach to create her paintings. Art has become a way to combine her interests, which allows her to cope with chronic pain and mobility issues from Crohn’s disease and Ankylosing spondylitis. Suzanne often uses resin, acrylics, micas, and polymers; to create new consistencies coupled with traditional art materials. This process informs the line, design, and flow of her paintings. She writes:

“Every painting I make has a scientific process, technique, or inspiration to it. Art connects me to science.”

Suzanne combines her favorite elements of science and nature, as she writes: “I imagine a landscape or object, and what it would look like if it were taken down to its basic scientific components. I find the marriage of science and the beauty of nature most challenging to paint, but also makes for the most interesting pieces.

My autoimmune diseases can limit my painting frequency. I put my joys, love, thoughts, and experiences onto my substrates and canvases. I want the viewer to find my awe towards life, while seeing the hope I carry with me.”

Suzanne received a B.S. degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, from the University of Mississippi, and an M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, from Mississippi State University. While working in Alaska, Suzanne was sent to Albuquerque for training. She fell immediately in love with the area, and after begging her family; the move to the arid climate of New Mexico gave Suzanne the physical relief she sought. She was a medical researcher, until her health prevented her from returning to the lab. Being in New Mexico has allowed her the mobility to resume painting; something she began as watercolorist during her childhood.

Suzanne has lived in diverse locations from California, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Florida to Alaska. As a result of moving often, her family has remodeled seven homes. Suzanne’s current home was designed around a particular piece of granite that now makes up the kitchen counter. Her series “Granite Inspired”, featured at ArtLifting, was inspired by the earthy tones of the stone.

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Unconventional Canvases (Substrates)

In this set, the substrate for the paintings are broken and up-cycled laptop screens. They were both taped around the edges and prepped with spray on gesso/primer! The first one, I tried using dimethicone as a paint additive and resin sand for the beach break in the corner. I wound up going back over a good portion of the painting, because it was too odd for me. I’m not sure if I wound up with what I was going for, but you can at least see my first attempt at these unconventional canvases:

The second attempt worked out wonderfully, because this time, I used my paints on a test canvas first; instead of just “going at it” with the paints. I’m much happier with this next one and the overall effect of the silver “frame” worked out great with these colors. I am tempted to continue to work on this concept, on a larger canvas. See what you think:

For me, this one is a keeper! I’m enjoying it as it sits in my living room right now!

I have a couple of paintings that need some finishing touches (as always), but I am already planning my next piece! I’ve enjoyed sharing my process with you and I hope you are enjoying the final product! Not every piece is a “wall worthy”, as you can see. We all grow from our mistakes and use them to help us work toward being a better version of ourselves!