Week Five: Artist Susan Davis

“family skate”

While wrapping Christmas presents, I came across a roll of Caspari’s “Christmas Skaters” paper that I’d carefully stored away. (I was reluctantly using up my stash in anticipation of our move.)

“christmas skaters” wrap (my instagram photo)

Along the edge of the roll was the artist’s name, Susan Davis. I decided to do a Google search and see if she had other work  (or gift wrap) available, and was delighted to discover a website devoted to her artwork. A self-taught artist, Davis was visibly influenced and inspired by nature. Though I’m most drawn to Davis’ soft watercolor scenes, including quite a few covers for The New Yorker, I’m quite moved by the story behind her artwork in 1998-99. Diagnosed in 1997 with a malignant brain tumor, use of her right (painting) arm was lost to paralysis. Undaunted, Davis proceeded to teach herself to paint with her left hand and continued to practice her art in oils, pastels and small watercolor illustrations.

I am grateful that her husband, Bob Barkin, has kept her art and spirit alive through the website. Have a look through her portfolio of work at susandavisart.com.

susan’s first new yorker cover | june 13, 1983


new yorker cover | december 24, 1990

images courtesy of robert barkin