Susan Bourdet, Springtime Renewal Judge

Artist’s Statement

Susan Bourdet grew up in a family of nature-lovers and began identifying and drawing wildlife and plants at an early age.  For her, no piece of her artwork has ever seemed complete without an element that could fly or dart from the page.  Her luminous watercolors combine realistically detailed birds and animals with soft, impressionistic backgrounds, a technique that has evolved over many years of painting.

Bourdet discovered the temperamental medium of watercolor at age 12 in a workshop with a local Montana artist.  She loved watercolor’s capacity for fine detail, but was also captivated by the free-flowing, soft-edged effects possible with the wet-into-wet technique.  Having studied both art and biology in her college years, she incorporated her understanding of orinthology and botany into each painting, combining this realism with impressionistic watercolor effects.  Eventually, these techniques allowed her to paint with scientific accuracy in depiction her subjects, while also allowing the free expression of emotion found in abstract art, a characteristic which takes the painting from merely descriptive to expressive. 

Susan and her family live on several acres of wild woodland in western Oregon. They have enhanced the property for wildlife by creating a small pond and waterfall and providing natural vegetation, birdhouses and feeders.  An avid gardener, her plantings are designed to provide food and shelter for resident and migrating birds, a practice which also nourishes her paintings by providing subjects and inspiration.  She uses reference materials personally collected in her travels to wild places, feeling that her own observations are essential to her creative process. 

Susan’s art has been published in many limited editions by Wild Wings. She has created the art for the popular Lang Songbirds calendar for thirty years and her paintings of hummingbirds and cats are also featured in the annual lineup of Lang calendar titles.  Having evolved her own unique method of painting, she has guided many budding artists in the use of this tricky medium.  She is the author of two Northlight instructional books on watercolor, “Painting the Allure of Nature” and “Capturing the Magic of Light”, and has also made several instructional video programs on the medium.  

Susan’s paintings are sought after for their intimate revelations of birds and animals, which reflect not only accurate detail, but the understanding and appreciation she feels for the natural world.

My Jury process will be based on the information I have learned about design in the painting process only.

See more about Susan on her website:

Art by Susan Bourdet