Do you travel to paint, or paint where you travel?Susanna Bluhm:
Both usually overlap or inform each other pretty naturally. My personal need to go somewhere usually matches, or leads to, my need to paint it, and vice versa.TMN:
There’s a lot of sex in your paintings, at least to my eye, even the landscapes. A voluptuousness, a lusciousness. The landscapes feel very human.SB:
There is sex going on—maybe even especially with the landscapes. I don’t know if it’s deliberate as much as inherent—in the history of paint as coaxing flesh, and also in my personal orientation towards landscape and painting as responsive lovers. I’d say sex and weather are mostly what’s happening in there.TMN:
What’s your daily work schedule like?SB:
I have a six-year-old on summer vacation and a half-time job, so lately I haven’t had much of a studio schedule, just clumps of hours snatched when I can get them. When school starts again I’ll get Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the studio.TMN:
Was there a moment or period in your career when you felt you’d found your voice?SB:
Yes. When I started the Song of Songs series in 2009 I very much had that feeling. I remember noticing that the content of the work was completely connected to the way I was painting, as were the titles.TMN:
You put a lot into your titles. A lot of artists don’t.SB:
I enjoy titles. People are so text-focused they often look at the titles before the art, so it would seem a shame to not take advantage of them.
Sometimes the titles are absolutely linked to the paintings and the two need each other—in my mind, anyway. This is true with the Song of Songs and Island paintings. With the Yosemite paintings, the titles are descriptive clues about what I see in the paintings.TMN:
How serious are you about your leisure?SB:
I’m really good at pleasure and horrible at leisure. I have more hobbies than I have time for and am terrible at doing nothing. I’m an obsessed gardener, cook, playlist maker, and traveler.