Susan Hartenhoff

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Susan, a self-described Midwesterner, was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Her interest in art developed at an early age with influence and support from her family and her father, a plein aire painter now living in California. She spent her childhood pondering the vast landscape that surrounded her. Her love of art is matched only by her passion for horses. She remembers learning about great artists as a young child. One of her most poignant early memories is of a piece called “The Horse Fair” by Rosa Bonheur, that hung in her elementary school’s hallway. It is this subject that first brought attention to her own paintings and drawings. Her love of horses was encouraged by her aunt, who helped her purchase her first horse and taught her horsemanship.

She began her formal art education at South Dakota State University in Brookings, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in printmaking. In her senior year she was honored with the Ritz-Caldwell-Young Art Scholarship. Her thirst for knowledge led her to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion where she worked towards her Master of Fine Art degree. Her talent was quickly noticed and she was awarded an apprenticeship at Echo Press, a fine art lithography press in Bloomington, Indiana. There she studied advanced lithographic techniques under the guidance of master printer David Keister and print maker Rudy Pozzatti of Indiana University.

When asked about creative influences, Susan cites print maker Gerald Kruse. “He taught me the beauty of line and the importance of composition. But the most important thing he taught me was to create what I know and what I believe.” While completing her education and in her career afterwards, she has participated in several solo exhibitions and won numerous awards. Her work can be found in private, civic, and corporate collections including the South Dakota Memorial Art Center, the Nobles County Art Center in Worthington, Minnesota, and in Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Susan moved from the heartland of America to the center of the Western Desert in Phoenix, Arizona. “They don’t ride horses to work, but there are bridle paths through the city, and back streets that lead to the nearby desert preserves, and the Arabian horse world revolves around Scottsdale. It’s been an inspiration to be so connected to nature and around such beautiful horses.”

Susan’s primary source of inspiration is derived from the world of nature that surrounds her. It is natural that her work has taken on aspects of her newest influences. Susan now incorporates natural wood veneers and handmade papers into her work. Her love of the outdoors is evident in her color palette, a mix of warm neutrals with splashes of blues and greens. While she is constantly exploring new mediums, it is her affection for nature that is the driving force behind her work.