Susan Lyon

Painting Americana and Looking Deeper, with Susan Lyon

Photo of Artist Susan Lyon Interview | SavvyPainter Podcast


Have you found artists who paint Americana inspiring? Are you drawn to the romanticism and grandeur of the genre? How do artists who focus on painting Americana feel about their genre of work? I was thrilled to sit down with the talented and generous artist, Susan Lyon. In our conversation, Susan opened up about what led her to her career as an artist, why she decides to change things up, her dream of mentoring young artists, and much more. I can’t wait for you to get to know Susan’s inspiring story!

A captured imagination

When you look back at your start as an artist, who do you point to for inspiration? Was your imagination captured by the likes of Georgia O’Keeffe and N. C. Wyeth? Susan Lyon’s imagination was ignited by a whole range of artists, including O’Keeffe and Wyeth. Today, Susan finds herself encouraged and inspired by her peers who paint Americana. Susan also enjoys studying and painting the faces of people she loves. Listening to Susan, you really get the sense that her heart is poured out into her artwork.

Practicing meditation

How do you deal with all the stress and challenges of life as an artist? What practices help you focus and unlock your creativity? For years Susan Lyon would practice meditation, but it wasn’t until the last couple of years when everything started to “Click.” By practicing meditation, Susan has learned how to calm her nervous system and ask open-ended questions. Meditation has given Susan the gift of perspective and peace – key elements for a healthy career as an artist! What can you learn from Susan’s story? What practices have helped you in your career?

Don’t chase perfection!

Have you been caught up in the perfection game? Some artists learn quickly how detrimental the pursuit of perfection can be – for others, it can take years. We’ve all been there – you have a particular idea of how you want your artwork to turn out but reality jumps in and messes everything up. It’s at that point where you need to decide if you are going to keep pouring in your time and energy or cut your losses and start something new. Susan recalls how challenging it can be to realize that you’ve sunk way too much time into a project that needs to end. I hope you find her advice and insights as helpful as I did!

The power of group energy

When was the last time you got so caught up in the electric energy and positive influence of your fellow artists? Some artists love to get alone with their canvas and explore the depths of their creativity while others feed off of and thrive in a more communal environment. Beyond personal preferences – Susan makes an excellent point about the power of group energy, especially when it comes to artists. In her experience, when like-minded artists gather and encourage one another – powerful energy is unlocked. Have you experienced that time group energy?

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] I introduce my guest, Susan Lyon.
  • [3:05] What led Susan to her career as an artist.
  • [12:00] Susan talks about changing things up.
  • [17:15] Reverting back to a safety zone.
  • [19:50] Susan shares the benefit of practicing meditation.
  • [29:30] Why Susan enjoys painting the image of people she loves.
  • [35:00] The challenge of chasing perfection.
  • [40:10] What is Susan’s process like in the studio?
  • [45:30] Susan’s dream of mentoring younger artists.
  • [50:10] The power of group energy.
  • [53:30] Branching out with a one-person show and teaching.
  • [1:06:00] The power of vulnerability.

This episode sponsored by FASO:

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