About Suzan Dougall-Christenson

Every piece of artwork I create is an expression of the joy and wonder I experience at the beauty of our world. Nature scenes are always magnificent in their own right, but a glistening reflection of a sunset off the window of a skyscraper can be equally intriguing and magical to observe. I do not feel it is important to portray my subject matter with exact realism, but instead, as the ancient Chinese would suggest, to capture the “qi” or essence, of it. Through my artwork, I hope to raise public awareness of our rapidly vanishing wilderness and endangered species by documenting on paper and canvas the last untouched open spaces remaining along our coasts and inland wilderness areas and the precious creatures who inhabit them.
— Suzan Dougall-Christenson

From the Wild

Through the effects of light and the blending of natural colour filled with movement, Suzan’s work captures a fleeting moment in time. She attempts to reveal the muted early morning tones of a forest after rain, vivid warm splashes of sunset color reflecting off the ocean’s surface, sage-scented breezes of Indian Summer blowing across California foothills...the thrill of thundering hooves as a herd of wild Mustangs storm by. 

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Suzan Dougall Christenson believes she was born an artist. She has often been heard to say, "It's not that I want to paint, but that I must." An innate lover of nature and constant observer of the world around her, Suzan has spent most of her life in a quest to capture these subjects she finds so inspiring in her art. She considers her whole life a montage of creative expression...from her birth in Canada through her young formative years growing up in Southern California. Encouraged by her mother to explore her creative spirit, Suzan's life has been well documented by her art as she was always drawing, painting, creating three-dimensional art, and making music while growing up. She sold her first piece of artwork, a pen and ink drawing, while in tenth grade as it was on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Going on to study art after high school was an obvious choice. Suzan chose to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara less for the outstanding reputation of it's art department than for it's stunning natural setting, perched on the bluffs above the ocean along a pristine, undeveloped coastline. While at UCSB, Suzan was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to study oil painting under the strong, dramatic tutelage of the highly gifted internationally renowned artist, Irma Cavat, as well as discovering her true love of watercolour painting and assemblage through the inspirational, encouraging guidance of the internationally acclaimed pioneer collage artist and abstract expressionist, William Dole. She was surrounded by other wonderfully talented artists who were her professors during her time there as well...Hank Pitcher, Rich Stich, Richard Ross, and Bruce McCurdy. Shortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Art Degree in Studio Art, Suzan found herself back at UCSB in an effort to round out her education in art by obtaining a Certificate of Commercial Design and a Degree in Visual Communication. 

When her first child was born, Suzan started her graphic design company sdcgraphix. Today, Suzan is a busy homeschooling mother of four and sdcgraphix is still alive and well operating out of her Ponderosa Pines Studio nestled in the magical forest high atop Bear Mountain in the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. She spends much of her time pursuing her many passions and creative endeavors...painting and advocating for her beloved wild mustangs...capturing Mother Nature in all her moods and seasons promoting preservation of the environment...providing graphic design services to a variety of clients, as well as painting on a consignment basis. An unquenched thirst for travel, a love of wilderness and remote open spaces, a camera, and a traveling easel, are Suzan's tools and inspiration for much of her work today. 


Memberships & Affiliations:

SCAPE (Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment)

California Art Club

California Watercolor Society

Santa Barbara Art Association

Abstract Art Collective

Los Padres Watercolor Society

Carpinteria Valley Arts Council

Tehachapi Valley Art Association

Bear Valley Springs Cultural Arts Association