We had the good fortune of connecting with Suzie Baker OPA and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suzie, what do you attribute your success to?
Early in my transition from working in Houston as an Art Director in advertising to a career as a fine artists, I got a great piece of advice from my mentor, who got it from his mentor. “Making it in this business is a two step process; step one, get good – step two, get out there. The better you are at step one, the better step two will go.” To know if I was “good,” I began entering shows and competitions, starting locally and moving to national shows. When I first got a piece into the Oil Painters of America National Show, I decided to travel and attend the opening. Seeing the level of talent on display, I knew I needed to step up my game. I took a sober assessment of my artistic shortcomings and began chipping away at them. This is a practice I continually implement. In this life you can only be truly good at a few things. I’m profoundly gratefully that because of where and when on the planet I was born, I get to have a life and career as an artist.
Please tell us more about your work. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
This is a press release addresses many of these points. Texas Artist Becomes Fourth Woman President of Prestigious National Art Organization This past June, (Shenandoah, TX) Texas-based artist Suzie Greer Baker was named President of the prestigious Oil Painters of America. Baker is only the fourth woman to hold this post in the organization’s 30-year history. Having joined the OPA board in 2013, serving as Vice-President and, for the last five years, co-chair of the annual national exhibition planning committee, she is honored to be taking on the role from outgoing president Kurt Anderson. “Serving on the board with OPA is and will be a highlight of my career, primarily because of the opportunity it gives me to serve fellow artists,” says Baker. Oil Painters of America was founded in 1991 by Shirl Smithson, and is dedicated to preserving and promoting excellence in representational art. Oil Painters of America’s primary mission is to advance the cause of traditional, representational fine art by drawing attention to the lasting value of fine drawing, color, composition, and the appreciation of light. Through national and regional shows, educational programs, scholarships and marketing efforts, OPA has become a leader in the art community and a driving force in the new Renaissance. In recent years, Baker has gained national acclaim, earning a stellar reputation for her versatility as both a plein-air artist as well as a studio painter of still lifes, figurative works, and portraits. In fact, in the Art Renewal Center’s 13th International Salon, she was recognized in both the Plein Air and Figurative Categories, which is a truly remarkable achievement. Among her many other accolades are the Ovation Award at the Laguna Plein Air Invitational (2019), Best in Show and Artists Choice Awards at the Outdoor Painters Society’s Plein Air Southwest (2018), Best in Show at Shadows on the Teche (2018), and the Irvine Museum Award and Montage Award at the Maui Plein Air Invitational (2018). and Artist’s Choice Award at Telluride Plein Air (2017). Interviews with Baker and her award-winning paintings have been featured in such publications as Fine Art Connoisseur, Southwest Art, and on the cover of Plein Air Magazine, April/May 2020. In addition to being a Signature Member of the OPA, Baker has earned Signature Member status in numerous other prestigious art organizations: the American Impressionist Society, the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, the Outdoor Painters Society, the California Art Club, and American Women Artists. Suzie is known as a generous, humorous, and uplifting instructor of national and international workshops. Her popular video, Color Magic for Plein Air painters can be found through Streamline Publishing and her workshops fill quickly.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have taken advantage this “fallow” Covid year of staying at home with no travel to events and destination workshops, to design and build a studio next to my home here in Shenandoah, Texas. The plans are done, approval is given and ground breaks next week! Once the world opens up again and my far flung art buddies can come to visit, I would curate this perfect day:
Morning: I will host a portrait group of painters, where artists set up their easels and paint from a live model.
Lunch: I will take my friend out to any number of the excellent restaurants depending on their taste: Chuy’s for some alarming caloric TexMex, or BellaGreen for lighter fare, or my friend Hanna’s restaurant Sakekawa for some really amazing Sushi.
Afternoon: Drive to the MFAH to visit some old friends, in William Merritt Chase, Frederic Remington, William Bouguereau, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and so many more.
Evening: Home to make dinner – Salmon with fresh produce from my husbands garden and sparkling conversation. and if we are really going to make it a perfect day, a fresh baked gluten free chocolate chip cookie or two.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oil Painters of America – I have served on the board of this organization since 2013 and I am now the President. My Husband – I often point out, the best art supply a working artist can have is a supportive spouse or partner! I could easily name 20 more inspirations -high school and college teachers, invitational event coordinators who believed in me, arts organizations that offered shows and opportunities to gather and grow, magazines editors and publishers who gave me a platform for my work, and fellow artists who’s camaraderie and work inspires me regularly….
Linkedin: Suzie Baker
Facebook: Suzie Greer Baker
Photo of me painting: Photos by Laurie Sermos Photography of artwork: Suzie Baker