Painter Susan Schiesser's art will be featured this month as part of the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat's First Friday ArtWalk. Schiesser's work will be displayed alongside that of artist Patricia Walsh in a show they call "Something Wild."

Photo by John F. Russell

Painter Susan Schiesser's art will be featured this month as part of the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat's First Friday ArtWalk. Schiesser's work will be displayed alongside that of artist Patricia Walsh in a show they call "Something Wild."

Productive partnership

Local painting duo uses its differences for good

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Painter Susan Schiesser's art will be featured this month at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat as part of the First Friday ArtWalk.

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Patricia Walsh, left, and Susan Schiesser will display this work during September at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat. The pair have called their show "Something Wild."

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Painter Patricia Walsh's art will be featured this month at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat as part of First Friday ArtWalk. Walsh's work will be displayed alongside that of artist Susan Schiesser.

Past Event

"Something Wild," featuring works by Patricia Walsh, Susan Schiesser and Christopher Oar

  • Friday, September 5, 2008, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Artists' Gallery of Steamboat, 1009 Lincoln Ave, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / Free

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— Standing back to back, Patricia Walsh and Susan Schiesser could not look more different.

Walsh wears a black fleece with a cotton polo shirt, jeans and sandals. Schiesser wears a black blazer over a ruffled blouse, leopard-print pants and heeled slides.

"I'm wearing fleece, and Susan is allergic to fleece," Walsh said, pointing out the differences in appearance and character between two artists who have enjoyed a productive work partnership for the past nine years. On their latest collaboration, "Something Wild," Walsh and Schiesser worked with an old printing plate they found in the basement of the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat to create wildlife-themed abstract works. The show opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. today at the Artists' Gallery.

"It just called out that it had to be made into something," Schiesser said of the Steamboat Pilot printing plate, etched with a map of North Routt County that predates Steamboat Lake.

For her part of the show, Walsh used the plate as a background for colorful wildlife portraits, each stamped with the word "wanted." Schiesser's portion includes recent paintings and, eventually, will feature pages from her upcoming children's book, "Fox & Crow." Schiesser plans to unveil two new pages every Friday in September, all painted on grids from the printing plate Walsh used.

"Susan and I have been sparking each other's creativity. We are totally different people, but we have tremendous sympathy for each other's art," Walsh said. The two women haven't decided what to do with the 100 or so other printing plates they found, but ideas for future projects race along at the same pace as their conversation.

"That's part of what goes on with us. Sometimes we have a conversation and no one knows what it was about," Walsh said. In a half hour, topics of such conversations included canoes that do not float, recent art commissions, Schiesser's haircut, Schiesser's handbag and pirates. The artists insist their banter doubles as constructive criticism.

"My work has grown tremendously because of Susan. In Steamboat, because we don't have that large of a contemporary element here, it's easy to get stuck in a town like this," Walsh said. Bouncing ideas off of Schiesser and working in the same building keeps Walsh from getting into a creative rut.

"It's like being a partner in business, in a way, where it can be dicey, but it does work," Schiesser said.

"Something Wild" - which also features Christopher Oar's sculptural jewelry using a wild game motif and precious metals - is on display through the end of the month.

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