ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE SUE PRIMEAU. Sue is one of those people you absolutely love to be around – full of energy and creativity, loving life. She’s a wonderful artist. Always full of ideas.  And she has graciously offered to share a lesson with us this week.

So, right off you have to love that name of hers: Sue Primeau. SUPRIMO! She is, indeed, and if you ever have the chance to study with her, you would love the experience.


And now, from Sue:

Inspiration can come in so many forms and sometimes the most common things or life’s simplest activities can provide the spark. Combine that with a little travel away from home and you have all the fodder for exciting new paintings.

There I was in southwestern France, surrounded by medieval architecture, quaint villages and the sprawling Fall countryside; yet I was unable to find that “something” I was longing to paint. I hoped to create an image that spoke of our extraordinary experience, the rich history and so much of it was wrapped up in our cozy studio, delectable meals and comfy surroundings at our home away from home, Le Vieux Couvent (the old convent). After a daylong excursion to yet another breathtaking locale, we returned with the sun low in the sky. As I walked across the grounds to return my gear to the studio, I noticed a wonderful old watering can that was forgotten up against a garden wall and heavily shadowed by fading light. A quick photo and I dreamt of the painting-to-be all night. This old work horse is a well-used, behind-the-scenes character at Le Vieux and I was thrilled to put it on center stage.

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The finished piece is titled, Quencher. I painted all my shadows with a mid-tone of cobalt and permanent magenta. Color and texture were added with a technique called color-sanding, watercolor pencils are literally sanded into waiting pools of water. Once the water evaporates the watercolor granules are adhered to the paper

On a return trip to this magical spot, I noticed this long-loved chair and the wonderful shadows it cast. Color-sanding seemed the best way to render this sweet chair, now titled, Shadowy Sunshine Chair. Old, rickety, everyday common things can be endlessly inspiring.

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I was lucky enough to combine art and travel once again but this time it was Italy, beginning with Venice. This would be my first time in Italy and in preparation I sought a book on the country, hopefully based on historical fact combined with art. Vivaldi’s Virgins was recommended and it was a page-turner!  The story takes place mostly in Venice. Who knew Vivaldi was a red-headed, priest and in this book he taught his music to children who were foundlings at a convent! Well if you’ve been to Venice you know there’s plenty on Vivaldi, including a small museum in his honor.  Being that I played violin oh-so-many years ago, I learned that no one did more for the “strings” than Vivaldi. His music is sublime. Upon exiting the small museum that included forms and parts for building violins along with numerous other vintage musical instruments, I looked at the signage around the doorway and there was a blow up of Vivaldi’s very ancient style of scoring music. Click, had to have a photo of that too, but what to do with it remained a mystery.

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After our glorious stay in Venice, we were off to Umbria and all its hill towns. The flowers were in bloom given the warm May temperatures and most particularly everywhere we went there were the most amazing calla lilies. WELL, that was it…I now had all the ingredients for my next painting, King of Strings.

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Be alert to those things that tickle you or that you find exciting and interesting, no matter how common they may be. Note these items in your journal, sketch them even. Wherever your travels take you, immerse yourself in the stories, rituals and music from the area. The possibilities are endless and you do not have to travel to far flung places to have such inspirations…I just happen to have photos from these events.


Sue refers to her work as abstract realism. She is passionate about the world in which we live and our everyday life. It is this readily available subject where she finds her inspiration. Being that she works primarily in watercolor, a medium which she prefers not to control, she often begins by letting the shapes and colors occur spontaneously with little or no guidance. Sue then studies the resulting image to determine how she will develop the painting. She feels a favorite expression of her mother and grandmother sums up her painting style: “It is the little things that count”.

You can visit her website at:

Check out more of her work, her classes and her full bio.

Thank you, Sue, for taking your precious time to do this post!

I’M HANGING IN THERE – I look like a light bulb right now. Who knew that underneath all that hair was a pristine white scalp? I’m not sure I’m brave enough to post photos. I do have a wig. It’s sitting up on the shelf in the bedroom closet (away from cats) and it scared the life out of Mike one night when he opened the door and thought someone was in there. Poor guy. He’s hanging in there, too.

Thank you for reading!


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