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Art of the moment

Susan Morrow creates art in her kitchen at her home on Browne Mountain. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Susan Morrow creates art in her kitchen at her home on Browne Mountain. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Jennifer Larue

Susan Morrow creates art with untethered emotions. It’s her second nature to brandish a paint brush, pencil or piece of chalk and capture the moment at the dinner table, on a camping trip or during a time of reflection. “I’ve always done it,” she said, “I doodle the moment.”

Her work is whimsical, from her quick draws to the pieces formed with dots, hundreds of them. There is a contemporary depiction of Pablo Picasso, a swirly terrain beneath mountains, a moon and a wild star, a surreal landscape where a single frog dwells, and squiggles of color.

Morrow grew up in an artistic and busy family where camping, arrowhead hunting, and art were the norm. “My mom and dad inspired me,” she said, “From the solidarity in their marriage to their creative natures. They opened me up to art and taught me to ‘just do it.’ ”

She created her first painting when, after moving into her own place at 17, she decided posters on the walls weren’t good enough, so she painted tulips on canvas, and she hasn’t stopped filling empty spaces with her work. “If I see an empty wall, I just want to fill it,” she said.

Morrow, 47, moved to the Liberty Lake area from California in 1968. She attended Central Valley High School, where photography was her thing, and worked in retail for many years after graduating. She married, moved to Browne Mountain and had two children, creating art when the moment allowed.

Morrow said her art takes a “happy accident” to a whole other level. “So what” could be considered her mantra as she paints without fear and thinks that life’s too short to dwell on mistakes. “It’s always possible to flip something from negative to positive. If I do what I consider a ‘bad dot’ on one of my pieces, I walk away from it and when I return, I can’t find that dot anywhere,” Morrow said.

In the last five years, Morrow has experienced a push of creativity. It was around the same time she and her husband began remodeling their home. She explained that things were in an upheaval. “The remodel became a catalyst for demons. I got angry about things that just didn’t matter. I learned a lot about myself.”

Artwork decorates the walls of her home, including a large canvas filled with splashes of gold, brown, and gray in the dining room that she did with her son, Jack. “He did most of it,” she said.

Jack has seen the positive effects art has had on his mother and said it has helped her through troubled times. “When she enters that world of art, she transforms into a whole other personality. She becomes someone who can see the best of everything,” he said, adding that art has helped him enter the realm of imagination where anything is possible.

Morrow has never really shown her work. Creating art is intuitive to her and a hard thing to put a price on. She loves working with children and has done many art projects at St. George’s School. She has studied art but has a hard time conforming to rules – she would rather go with the flow. “I do what I want to do at the moment.”

She happily paints and experiments with mediums on Browne Mountain or at her small home studio at the edge of Liberty Lake. For the fun of it, she recently shared her work with a friend at an area craft fair and shows at Ink to Media, 523 N. Pines Road.

The Verve is a weekly feature celebrating the arts. If you know an artist, dancer, actor, musician, photographer, band or singer, contact correspondent Jennifer LaRue by e-mail
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