Susan Nelson Van Sleet

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As an artist, my appetite for drawing came at an early age. Throughout grade school I was frequently tagged “classroom artist”. I attended Holy Cross High School, in Merrill, WI, from 1962-1966, and during that period; Sister Mary Hilda was my art instructor. She truly was a master in her approach to teaching and I believe I learned from one of the best. Following high school, and in addition to my art courses, taken at Edgewood College, Madison, WI, I was also fortunate to study under the mastery of Dick Dahl, at UW Marathon, Wausau, WI, whose uniquely staged life drawing classes were remarkable. Under his tutelage, I further developed my skill for figure study and portraiture sketching. Although I enjoyed exploring the many avenues offered through modern art, using various mediums, realistic painting eventually became my soul focus. In the seventies, eighties and early nineties, I exhibited and sold paintings, at art festivals, throughout Wisconsin. While a resident of Wisconsin Rapids, WI and later, Antigo, WI, I enjoyed teaching adult as well as children’s painting classes.
In 1993, I took a break from painting after meeting the daughter I had secretly placed through closed adoption twenty seven years earlier. Following our reunion I wrote and recently published my first book, a memoir, titled Mary & Me Beyond the Canvas; An Extraordinary Story of Adoption, Loss and Reunion which goes to heart of using art as therapy. Three years ago I resumed painting and, admittedly, after all these years have retained my desire to parlay brushes and dollops of pigment with blank canvases.

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