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Phone:   (714) 547-1913


Studio located in Santa Ana, California

Santa Ana, California

I specialize in painting people and buildings. You might notice that most of my paintings show signs of human (or inhuman!) life: faces, figures, clothing, and habitations. Although I am rather a quiet loner by nature, I have always been fascinated by people and how they live, feel, and interact.

Vivid colors, charming old buildings, past eras, old horror movies, family secrets, ballroom dancing, passionate music, and romantic or exotic dresses all inspire dreamy pictures in my mind.

The King in Yellow


The King in Yellow

Susan Driscoll

Well, I was going to write a blog post last week in which I’d mention how my painting production has been hindered over the last few years due to never-ending family issues…but, ironically, I had no time to do so! 

Anyway, I’ve just finished up my third in a series of four once-a-week classes with Tom Balderas, who taught that second workshop I took this past summer. I received his email advertising this class on a day that was particularly stressful, so I took it as a “sign” of some sort and immediately enrolled. Tom had looked so free-and-easy in his workshop, and yet at the same time so passionately-committed to his art, that I suddenly decided to play hooky from the exhausting dilemmas in my life and just go for it.

The class is held at the Godbey School of Art in Newport Beach, which is actually close to Randy Higbee’s. It wasn’t at all what I expected: just a small group of a few other students, who all knew each other and seem to have been taking lessons from Tom for a while. The class was so casual that two of them even brought their dogs with them! I was startled at first, until I saw how well-behaved and friendly those canines were, unlike my own two little undisciplined mutts.

So far, we’ve been focusing on “starts” - working on emphasizing values, varying colors around the painting, and applying paint in a loose, gestural way. Tom’s not concerned with having us finish a painting in class, just doing studies to work on basic concepts of how to bring more life and pop to a picture. It’s been a real challenge for me, especially the part about “varying color.” Normally I mix up a pile of paint and try to use it all over the canvas wherever I can, but he advises to avoid using the same color twice, if possible. Also, it’s a struggle for me to make my values more extreme. All of this has had me straining over the easel in a way I’ve never done before. But at least I’m painting!

My husband once got me a collectible copy of “The King in Yellow” as an anniversary gift. It contains a spooky story about a tormented artist…and the author has the same birthday I do, naturally. The crowned crow I found recently in a Big Lots store, and I had to have him. While rapidly collecting objects for this week’s still life, I suddenly realized they went together!