Costa Rica Artist Spotlight: Behind the Scenes with Artist Susan Adams.  As a multiple award-winning artist, Susan Adams career started with advertising design. It quickly morphed into children’s book illustration and for a short time, teaching. But Adams found her life-altering inspiration after a private showing of Claude Monet works at the Chicago Art Institute. So inspired by Monet’s works, she returned to her native Texas, packed her bags and moved to Costa Rica to actively pursue her relentless passion: capturing the sights of her new homeland on canvas. With a zest that has never dissipated, Adams continues to create poignant and dramatic scenes using mixed techniques of impressionism and realism.

‘It’s the people, the unique culture
and traditions, that drive me
and give me endless energy.’

Fast forward 25 years to the present, when we asked Susan how she maintains her enthusiasm and motivation. “It’s simple — by constantly observing,” she tells us.

With her camera always within reach, Adams observes daily life and culture in Costa Rica, along with its fabulous indigenous nature. She credits a lot of her vision to the locals.

“One day I was at a soccer match and noticed an interesting church across the street to photograph,” she recalls. “Though I was trying to be invisible, suddenly the whole team lined up and had me take a group photo for them. The people here are so friendly. I get invited into their homes. They are absolutely amazing.”

When asked to describe the most interesting invitation she received, Susan told us about a funeral she attended where everyone was on a horse!

Ventana de Inocencia painting by Susan Adams

“So besides the incredible panoramas, the wildlife, the gorgeous unimaginable colors, it’s the people, the unique culture and traditions, that drive me and give me endless energy for my painting,” she says.

“Guanacaste Folklorico Dancers” is the artist’s newest series, inspired by a dance troupe she met in Libera. Not only did she capture the dancers themselves, but also the show preparations.

“My focus,” Susan Adams explains, “was to bring them to life on my canvas: the huge skirts with various rays of light strategically shining on them, the mixing of shadows, warm and cool, and the swirling shapes and forms.”

Beyond the images on canvas, Susan’s  goal is to focus her brushstrokes on the beauty and joy she wants to impart to the viewer, sometimes playfully expanding from the expected composition.

As an example, she tells us, “If I painted a bowl of fruit, I would probably want to put a monkey in it trying to steal a banana, and maybe have a jaguar looking on in the background. I sometimes try to add some humor, whether or not it comes across! If I can spread a little light or uplift someone’s spirit, then I am pleased.”

Champagne Jungle by Susan Adams

Adams’ media techniques include stucco, gesso, acrylics, metallic paints and oils. Her images come to life on canvasses and banana papers, or sometimes doors and windows. You can see her permanent exhibit at the Hidden Garden Art Gallery, located five kilometers west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport.


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