July 2021 — Georgia artist and Navy wife, Susan R. Dolan is the proud painter of "Let Freedom Ring", pictured. The subject of the commissioned painting is our Veterans Tribute Carillon Tower at GA National Cemetery as it looked on Memorial Day, 2020. With a flag in the foreground and the Tower in the background on a beautiful sunny day, her composition is worth a thousand words. Her painting evokes the patriotic sentiment the Tribute Tower represents. The Tower, having just been erected weeks earlier during intense Covid restrictions in May 2020, Susan was the first artist to capture the Tower. Her painting and prints have been adored by all who have seen them. We wanted to take a moment to share her story and let our readers get to know her a little better.
Susan’s journey in the art world began in high school when she earned a scholarship to attend figure drawing classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. These classes laid the groundwork for understanding how to see and observe life. She recalls walking through the galleries of the Art Institute and finding her passion there. She went on to earn her BFA with majors in Painting and Graphic Design from Drake University in Des Moines, IA. While there she had the opportunity to study in Florence, Italy which sparked her love of travel. As a Navy wife, she continued to travel and live abroad which nurtured her love for art. She retired after twenty-five years as a picture framer, but now devotes her energy full-time to painting. She said, “Even at my age, I am still learning and growing.”
In addition to her lifelong work in the arts, Susan also held another position for twenty years. She was a Navy wife, known to be the toughest job in the Navy. Her late husband, Tom Dolan, was a Naval Flight Officer and flew missions in P-3’s and later became a Joint Intel Officer. You could say he was a Cold War Warrior, and she was proud of his service. During their years in the Navy, Tom and Susan lived from Maine to California and often overseas, primarily in Korea. Whenever they came back stateside, she said, “I was so glad to be home and I understood the unique heritage we have as Americans. Freedom is so real to me, not just a concept. It is what so many men and women, including my husband, sacrificed for.” Susan continued, “I wanted to place the flag prominently in the painting of the Tower because it inspires us and reminds us of those sacrifices.” We all agree that she captured it masterfully.
Susan has been busy this season. As she often says, “Much to do! Much to learn!”
She loves to do Plein Air painting where she takes her easel to beautiful locations such as botanical gardens, pasturelands, or rivers and paints what she sees there. She also takes advantage of figure drawing opportunities in Columbus, particularly Sketching Under the Skylight at the Bo Bartlett Center. She believes drawing and painting from life is so essential to build observational skills and confidence. She also does a lot of photo reference work such as her travel paintings that fill her studio in Pine Mountain. She said, “There is so much to inspire me here in the Chattahoochee Valley, and Georgia is a gem of a state for artists!” She is excited to have her work included in an upcoming show this July, “Go Figure II” at the Bo Bartlett Center in Columbus, Georgia. She hopes as things open again that she will be participating in more shows and workshops over the summer and fall.
Susan’s work is currently on view in three galleries: Gallery on Tenth and Two Sisters Gallery in Columbus, and HRH Antiques & Design in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Links to these galleries are available on her website, www.SusanRDolan.faso.com. She may also be found on social media at Susan R Dolan Does Art.