Susan Elkins


The majority of the Impressionists applied paint in small touches of pure colour rather than broader, blended strokes, thus making pictures which seemed dazzlingly brighter....also believed in painting out of doors, and in trying to catch a particular fleeting impression of colour and light rather than making a synthesis in the studio (Dictionary of Art Terms).

Susan Elkins’ skill with light and color is recognizable. She uses colour to express the arrangements and harmonies of her subjects, whether it is mountain peaks, still life or sun-filled flower gardens. Her concern is with effect, layers of color, calm balance, and strength of light. The appearance of a spontaneous approach belies the constructed nature of her oil paintings, where she seeks to capture the color and light in front of her easel rather than focusing on the subject. She paints plein air (directly from nature) and strives to express the beauty and subtleties of nature in her work.

"I was taught to see colour first, then the object…"

Born in Montreal, Susan Elkins studied at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Sir George Williams School of Art (Montreal) and the Cape School of Art (Provincetown, Massachusetts) in the late 1960s through the 1970s. She has dedicated herself to painting impressionistically since that time. She moved to Banff more than forty years ago.

“…it is light and atmosphere that create the color key in nature – the most important element in a painting…”

She has participated in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and in the USA. Her work is represented in a number of private collections in Canada, the USA, Korea, China, Australia as well as corporate and public collections, including the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff), the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Calgary Petroleum Club, Gulf, Shell and Texaco.