Sue Kelley Harkey

An Introduction to Artist Susan Kelley-Harkey by Karin Sousa-Racicot

Acrylic on cold press illustration board

Detail of acrylic painting of Hollis on cold press illustration board

What words would you use to describe your art and yourself as an artist?

Community, hope, essence, energy exchange, and sustainability; these are just a few terms that describe Susan Kelley Harkey’s feelings about her art. A resident of Vermont for the past 12 years, Susan, an experienced portrait artist, commercial illustrator, and photographer finds inspiration in people, nature, Vermont farm life, local wildlife, and the landscape. However, her first love is portraiture, and many of her earlier works were of her children, and some of her commercial commissions relate to portraits of people and animals.  In Susan’s own words, when someone sits for a portrait she experiences “feelings of hope.”  There is an energy exchange between artist and model that “feeds my soul.”

Susan believes that art in all its forms consists of many layers. Painting, sketching, photography, and Digital Compositing all require a multitude of steps to produce the final image. In the future, with Susan’s input, I will be discussing in more detail the actual process that goes into these seemingly “effortless” images. Susan’s goal is to explain the artistic process and give some insight into the “nuts and bolts” of what this process entails.

Mixed media on cold press illustration board

Detail of mixed media of Shannon on cold press illustration board

Art is an avenue, an outlet for personal expression, of emotions, beliefs, and lifestyle choices.  It can be a medium used for healing, to get a point across, or just to have fun!  However, being an artist is not only about creating, there is also the business aspect to consider such as marketing and promotion. Therefore, my goals are not only to develop and refine your artistic eye, explore ways to inspire you, and share an artist’s world through the eyes of a non-artist, but also to touch on topics such as ways to support your community through art, careers for artists in the techno age, and the different avenues that are available to you to promote and market your work.

As an artist, aspiring artist, or non-artist like me, take some time and ruminate on what words describe your feelings about what art is and what it means to you.  Perhaps this will inspire you in your art and in your life.  When looking at your community and its people, what would you portray?

We welcome any comments, suggestions, and questions from our readers.  We are eager to meet you!

Artist Bio: Susan Kelley-Harkey holds an M.A. in Fine Arts with an emphasis on portraiture. She is an avid supporter of the Farm-to-Table movement and living a healthy lifestyle.  She and her husband, Kevin, enjoy swimming, hiking, and cross-country skiing.  You can check out more specific life work and art at her website

Blogger Bio: Karin Sousa-Racicot majored in Environmental Science. Though most of her background is in science and medicine, the majority of her friends are artists and writers.  She enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, archery, and a simple country lifestyle.  She lives with her husband, George, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Walnut ink wash on cold press illustration board

Walnut ink wash on cold press illustration board (commissioned work)