The Bhutan Series is a new set of paintings inspired by Susan’s recent trip to Bhutan, the land of Gross National Happiness. Focusing on native vibrant colors, The Bhutan Series explores the region’s landscape, in particular its rare confluence of spirituality and natural beauty. The Series contains five pieces, several referencing the ubiquitous prayer flags that seem to spring naturally from the Bhutanese landscape. With similar brushstrokes of whites and vivid colors, the prayer flags pop and move as if blown by the wind, and these contrasting colors produce a sense of unity between Bhutan’s natural splendor and the flags’ man-made material. The relationship between the environment and Happiness shows just how intertwined are human life and nature. Similarly the strength and emotion of Susan’s work reflect the tension she sees between the beauty of nature and the pain it has caused her. In Bhutan, Susan was reminded of the softer, more loving and spiritual side of nature.
The largest painting in the Bhutan Series, Rice Fields and Prayer Flags (48 x 72), shows the richness of the Bhutanese countryside, recalling rice paddies and forested mountainside.
In Prayers Over Rice Fields (20 x 20) the blowing prayer flags span the diagonal of the canvas, emphasizing the force of the wind.
Using the prayer flags as a connector, Susan, in Prayers Afloat, depicts the interaction between these materials and the sky. The softer contrast alludes to a greater spirituality and reinforces the natural relationship between the prayer flags and the Bhutanese countryside.
Joy (36 x 48) uses varied colors with an emphasis on red hues. The superficial layers of Joy seem chaotic, but look deeper to discover a sensation of spirituality and peacefulness.
Bhutan September (48 x 48), with its softer tones and abstracted images of tress, offers yet another perspective of the Bhutanese landscape. Various shades of greens and whites invoke a soft, warm, and inviting feeling, alluding to the peace and happiness nature provides.
For Susan, painting is her release, another form of spirituality. Her work and process of connecting spirituality and nature takes to heart the ideals of Gross National Happiness.