Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Spotlight on Suhita of Sketch Away

I've decided to start trying to do theme weeks, where each of the five posts on Monday through Friday will all tie in together a bit.  This week is 'art' week and I'm starting out with an interview with Suhita, an amazing artists I met through my treasury team.  She's been the inspiration for quite a few of my treasuries with her watercolor illustrations.  Suhita lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a self-described obsessive sketcher, doodler and graphic designer.

Orange Temple and Flags

Tell us three other things about yourself.
I am one of those people that grew up loving to draw, forgot about it along the way, and came back to it only a couple of years ago.
I am inspired by travel, both to faraway places, and in taking a fresh look at the everyday world around me.
I had a pet tortoise for more than 20 years. I had to give him to the friend when I moved across the world and couldn't take him with me...

That's really cool.  Turtles and tortoises are some of my favorite creatures.  What’s your medium and how did you get into it?
My medium of the moment is pen, ink and watercolor. I love the simplicity and immediacy of the medium and that watercolor has a mind of it's own. It helps me keep it light and loose and let go.

When I'm painting, I have the same choice of medium, but for different reasons.  What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
My favorite works are always sets of sketches that remind me of a trip, like this set from a recent trip to India.

From where do you take inspiration?
From travel, both near and far. And when I'm not literally traveling, I like to look at everything around me as a newcomer would... it makes the everyday and mundane interesting. Like the ferris wheel my kids rode while I made the sketch below or this one of poppies growing by a fire hydrant.
Ferris Wheel A Summer Carnival

You make beautiful art of your own, but name one piece of art you wish you’d created and why?
This is hard! There are just so many, many artists who's work I love, it's hard to pick just one. Or even just 10!

What are you doing when you’re not crafting?
I am a graphic designer, illustrator and have a 4 and a 6 year old who are threatening to bring in a pet into the family. Between it all, I have my hands and days full.

Even though you've already got a full plate what would you take up if you had to give up your medium and pursue another?
I think I'd enjoy acrylics just because they're great for the bright, bright colors I enjoy using. And, they're relatively easy to cleanup... One reason I shy away from oils is the cleanup involved!

You should try them.  Acrylics are really fun and can have that same immediacy, because they dry quickly and can force you to work the same way.  Tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened.
I'm constantly surprised by which of my pieces works and which doesn't: I work very quickly, often reacting and sketching without premeditated ideas. So its always interesting to see what I end up capturing.

Empire State Building Modern Art Deco

Who is one person living or dead, famous or not, who you wish owned one of your creations and why?
My hero is an artist/illustrator called David Gentleman, who travelled the world and made books of incredible sketches from his trips. I've tried tracking him down and emailing him to let him know how much his work inspires me, but I haven't been able to get in touch yet.

How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?
Exactly the way I tell it to a grown up: I draw and paint. That is really all I do. If I end up capturing the essence of the scene I work on, it works. Since I sketch on location, I often have kids come peek at what I'm doing: at museums, in parks. They're always surprised to see an adult drawing. I didn't realize how surprising this would be to a kid until a kid came by on a recent trip to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, looked at my book, and said "look mom, she's drawing and she's a grown up!".

Afternoon Light

That tells me more artist need to be paintingin public, so children know they can keep being creative all their lives.  What’s your favorite part of the process?
The doing. Truly. That 20 minutes to an hour that I draw/paint each piece is a frenzied yet zen process. to make it work, you have to be totally present in the moment,and it all comes together intuitively: the line,the color, the mood.

One random thing you think people should know.
It's never too late to pick up an old passion and take it to the next level.

Your shop address/facebook/Twitter/blog/website.

City in Purple Pink and Mauve

And my last, usual, random question.  If you could be a character in fiction, who would you be?
Long John Silver. He wasn't the nicest guy, but I loved him as a kid!


  1. Beautiful work, I really enjoy the use of color.

  2. Beautiful work, Suhita! Great interview - thanks for sharing your work and passion with us!

  3. Loved reading this! Thanks for sharing :)