“A Day In The Life” with Painter and Ceramist Suzan Marczak

Suzan Marczak weaves words, colours, textures, forms and brushstrokes into stories. Hailing from Eastern Canada and settling on the West Coast, Suzan carries with her a sense of the land. She has travelled far and wide collecting stories, thoughts, and musings along the way. Suzan brings all that mythology into the studio with her. Suzan has been painting, potting, and creating for as long as she has been dancing with and observing the world around her. Her creativity guides her days. You will see her collecting driftwood and sculpting organic shapes to create lights, writing children’s stories, experimenting with glazes and forms in functional ceramics, painting murals with peek-a-boo animals, and exploring painting through a variety of inspirations; night scenes, industrial yards, nests, wild abstracts, luscious forests, tumbling waterfalls and majestic mountains. Most recently her love of hiking and snowshoeing informs her brushstrokes and makes her colours sing. Once your eye has delighted in the marvellous movements found in Suzan’s paintings be sure to read the title, they always add another glimpse into the lens that Suzan looks through. Take a look, a meander, and enjoy the world that Suzan so beautifully shares with us.

Suzan Marczak
Hiking is where I really feel at home. This is my happy place.
Suzan Marczak
I treasure the time in the studio. It is where I come to explore avenues of creativity and give back to the world what it has bestowed.
First part. I paint this stage quickly, with a big brush and limited palette. Only later will I slow down and look at details. Right now, I will just get the basic structure on the canvas.
The studio fills up and gets pretty chaotic, but you know what they say: A messy studio is a happy studio.
I usually start off with a toned canvas, often in a warm colour. No pristine white canvas staring back at me!
Suzan Marczak
In the studio, I work from a combination of photos and sketches. I make thumbnail drawings to get a sense of composition and structure.
Suzan Marczak
Plein aire on the riverbank. Painting outside has its challenges; it can be cold, hot, buggy, rainy or all of the above, but it is good practice to work quickly and catch the mood of the moment before the light changes. They are not perfect paintings, and that is ok.
I have a little scrap of a garden. It is in a rough neighbourhood, but when people pass by, I can say hi, or offer them a carrot or green bean, and then they remember a garden where they grew up or they think of green places they loved. It makes a difference in this part of town.


Which hood are you in?

I live in Railtown, bordering the downtown eastside. It can be tough, and there is such a contradiction between the gentrification and industry of the railway district and the chaotic street life that surrounds it. I walk to my studio through Strathcona, and in 20 minutes I transition from an uneasy urban stew to a tranquil and leafy city neighbourhood, and then into a busy industrial corridor. This is the city, and whenever I can, I escape to the mountains.

What do you do?

I am a full-time artist, both painting and functional pottery. Sometimes selling paintings and teaching painting pays the bills, sometimes pottery markets and sales. I like the flexibility and the variety, and the time spent in the studio is balanced by public events.

What are you currently working on?

I was away for 5 weeks during the summer, hiking and camping in the bc interior. Now I am painting scenes from some of those hikes, getting ready for the Eastside culture crawl which comes up in November. I am hoping to complete several large paintings and some smaller ones if I hustle. Mountains, mountains and more mountains! As well I am making functional pottery for winter sales. These next couple of months are the busiest time of the year for me.

Where can we find your work?

You can go to my Instagram or visit my website.