As a librarian with the Milwaukee Public Library system, John Suess read just about every how-to book on the topic of painting and fine art that the institution had to offer. When the self-taught, Milwaukee-based artist retired from his role, he dedicated his time to his passion, and has since created over 150 works of art.
“Almost every room in my house has a painting,” said his daughter, Caitlin Moyer. “He has painted a ton. It’s great that I was able to get him set up on Etsy to sell his work, because there is literally no wall space left in either of our homes.”
Suess is coming full circle now with a show at the Greenfield Public Library (5310 W Layton Ave), which runs through Jan. 31.
Using primarily acrylics on canvas, Suess brings to life scenes of local landscapes that he believes others might overlook. One piece on display at the library, Harbingers Of Winter, is a still frame taken from a video that Suess shot near the 9th hole at Currie Park last winter during a walk on the golf course. Another piece called Easter Evening began as a photo Suess took of the Milwaukee River near Port Washington. The paintings are representations of natural scenes that captivated him, and their titles recall memories and traditions from time with family.
These unique steps in his creative process lead him towards a new era in his practice, towards a new-to-him form called “colorfield” which manipulates bold color and abstract strokes to create work that is wonderful in its simplicity.
“My goal now is to paint more simply like a child, and with this show I think I am getting closer to that,” Suess said.