Art and Soul

Art and Soul
By Anna Horsnell

Susan Spicer sees potential in the discarded. She imagines far beyond the rough edges and worn down surfaces. She envisions bright colours and intricate patterns. She has a gift for seeing the possibilities and making them real. Under the banner of “Susan’s Art and Soul,” she creates one-of-a-kind, hand-painted furnishings of all sorts to brighten your home or garden.

This is not a hobby. Spicer is constantly seeking out new pieces which she can repurpose, often finding items at the end of a driveway, a second-hand store, barn, or attic. A piece of furniture might need to be repaired first. Barn boards might be fashioned together to create a flat surface to paint. Through experience she is quick to visualize a theme, colour scheme, and design, and then the real work begins.

Spicer acknowledges she comes from an artistic and musical family. That helps. She has always been surrounded by creativity and it was inevitable perhaps that she would eventually find a way to express her own ideas. Initially she began painting country-themed wooden signs and shutters which quickly gained popularity. She explains, “I saw the benefit of creating pieces that were actually functional as well as decorative, and so I began looking for chairs and other pieces of furniture which I could transform and recycle.” Today her search knows no bounds. From old violin cases and doors to wooden shoes and guitars, her variety of painted surfaces is both surprising and fun.

From start to finish, Spicer might spend days or even months working on a particular piece. Her painting is intricate and methodical. What might look whimsical or spontaneous actually takes hours of painstaking work as she is often maneuvering odd angles and uneven surfaces. Designs are drawn out carefully, painted, distressed, and varnished. Her colour choices are bright and bold, but again, never by chance. She has a distinct style and knows what works to achieve the exact look she has in mind.

The themes she chooses are also carefully thought out and range from Celtic and nautical to song lyrics and floral. Another unique characteristic of Spicer’s work is her attention to detail and the extent to which she will embellish each piece. The back of a chair, the edge of a shelf, the inside of a drawer – nothing is too insignificant, and Spicer has become known for these surprising finishing touches. Even unpainted sections are carefully thought out and serve a purpose in her designs.

In the end, each and every piece from Susan’s Art and Soul is a unique, hand-painted original. Reactions are unanimous in describing the work as joyful, beautiful, and (often) heart-touching. That’s the reaction Spicer hopes for and that’s what encourages her to continue.

A selection from Susan’s Art and Soul is currently available at Fab Finds, 1987 Highway 359 (intersection of 221), Centreville. Visit her website at susansartandsoul.weebly.com.