Through her work, painter Susan Easton Burns portrays an intimacy with nature that few of us are fortunate enough to experience. She captures that sliver of a moment when time freezes and you are enveloped in the direct gaze of a wild animal – an instant of connection and unspeakable power. A love of both art and horses helped define Easton Burns’ childhood. She grew up in a small rural town outside of Niagara Falls, NY, surrounded by rolling hills and horse farms. At a young age, her father taught her how to paint and draw – activities he still enjoys today at 91 years old. She visited the Albright Knox Art Gallery, in Buffalo, NY, several times as a child. Her earliest influences were Giacomo Balla (Dynamism of a Dog on Leash) and Francis Bacon (Man with a Dog).
When she “discovered” that you could major in art in college, there was no looking back. She earned a BS in Art Education with a minor in Painting and Ceramics. She has also studied painting under Suzanne Phalen, Stephen Clippinger (Buffalo), Irving Shapiro (Chicago), Don Bulucos (Chicago), and Sandi Grow Murray (Atlanta).
Easton Burns stayed busy as a teacher. She believes that staying connected to young artists and making contributions to the community are rewards themselves. After relocating to the Atlanta area in the mid 1980’s, she taught for several years at the Art Institute of Atlanta and the Portfolio Center. When she learned that the public school where her children attended offered no art program, she became the volunteer art teacher for their entire school. After her children graduated, she worked for the community education program, teaching painting and drawing.
Easton Burns’ style is distinctive. Spontaneity and intuition are the two most important concepts she aims to convey in her art. A spontaneous underpainting gives way to an image that appears intuitively. With brush and knife, hands and feet, she moves with the paint until she “sees” something emerge. And once she sees it, the painting comes to life quickly. Easton Burns’ work ranges from 6” x 8” to 48” x 72”, and are mostly acrylic on paper or canvas.
She lives on a small farm near Atlanta with her husband, 2 dogs, 3 cats and 2 horses. In years past, she and her daughter competed together in 3-day equestrian events which included dressage, a classical style of riding that requires an intimate connection and communication between rider and horse. Although retired from competitive riding, she still enjoys caring for her companion horses.
Her passion as an artist and equestrian led Easton Burns to be named the Atlanta Steeplechase Artist in 2010 and 2015 and the Official Artist of both the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks in 2014.
Susan has been immersed in the horse community for more than 20 years as both a rider and a painter. Her knowledge of the equestrian world is intimate, and her treatment of horses on canvas reveals a powerful honesty of connection.
Over the years, that profound connection has brought some viewers of her work to tears. Her understanding of humanity is found in studying and knowing animals, and her distinctive presentation is breathtaking and powerful.
-Donna Krueger, owner of dk Gallery
Her work has been featured in many galleries over the years – in group and solo shows, as well as in juried events. Those of note include Booth Western Art Museum (Cartersville, GA, 2015); Douglasville Cultural Arts Center (Douglasville, GA, juried shows in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, and 2013); Mabel House Gallery (Mabelton, GA, juried show 2011); Marietta Cobb Museum (Marietta, GA, juried show 2006, 2012, 2013); Red Arrow Gallery (Joshua Tree, CA, one woman show 2006 and 2010); Atelier Gallery (Charleston, SC, 2013 and 2014); Brezzler Gallery (Roswell, GA, one woman show, 2006); SullivanMunce Cultural Center (Zionsville, IN, 2015); and dk Gallery (Marietta, GA, one woman show annually from 2008 to 2016).
Collections of Easton Burns’ work are on display at The Walsh Group (Atlanta), The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (Altanta), The Horseradish Grill (Marietta), Exibitgroup Corp (Atlanta), McCoy Designs (Edwards, CO), and in the private collections of Dr. and Mrs. William Farrar, Mr. and Mrs. Hal Berry (Atlanta Steeplechase), Mr. and Mrs. Clark Howard, and the Mr. and Mrs. Asa Candler family.
I paint nature often because I am a part of nature. Humans and animals share many things – our senses, body structure, basic needs. The main difference is that animals have no fear of the future. They live their lives with great awareness and intuition. Their brains have not become out of balance like ours have.
In the wild, animals rarely make eye contact with people. And when they do, it is never for more than a second or two. Yet in that brief flash, they evaluate everything; they size you up, take stock of the situation, and make life-and-death decisions about their survival.
The nature of paint is messy, and I like my work to acknowledge that. It is a reminder that in nature, order comes from chaos. When our mind-dominated world changes to a more feeling world, we struggle for balance. Every painting is an opportunity for me to reconnect with a more intuitive part of myself. Every viewer is given this opportunity to connect with their feelings as well. The people in my life help me to express pain and pleasure. Then in turn, I put that on a canvas to share with others. We are a world of people that want to connect by our very nature.
-Susan Easton Burns
Susan Easton Burns, dk Gallery Equine Artist Education: 1971-1978 BS in Art Education from Daemon College in Buffalo, New York., minor, Painting and ceramics, Mundelien College, and Loyola University, Chicago, Ill. Painting with Irving Shipero, Chicago, Ill., Masters in painting work, Buffalo State University, Buffalo, New York Business, Ursuline College, Cleveland, Ohio. Painting with Sandi Grow Murray, Atlanta, Georgia 2003- 2007 Exhibitions: • 2003 Group Show, Cultural Arts Center, Douglasville, GA • 2004 One Woman Show, Urban Artworks Gallery, Alpharetta, GA • 2004 Group Show, Cultural Arts Center, Douglasville, GA • 2005 One Woman Show, a Better Picture Gallery, Cumming, GA • 2005 Two Person Show, Paulding Fine Arts, Dallas, GA • 2006 Juried Show, Marietta/Cobb Museum, GA • 2006 One Woman Show Brezzler Gallery, Roswell, GA • 2008, 2007 Group Show, Timothy Michael Gallery Roswell, GA • 2008 Group Show, Cultural Arts Center, Douglasville, GA • 2008 Group Show, Timothy Michael Gallery, Roswell, GA • 2009 Group Show, Shaw Gallery, Naples, FL • 2010, 2006 One Woman Show, Red Arrow Gallery, Joshua Tree, CA • 2010 Group Show, Cultural Arts center, Douglasville, GA • 2011, 2007, 2006, 2003 Group Show Timpson Creek Gallery, Clayton GA • 2011 One Woman Show DK Gallery, Marietta, GA • 2011, 2010, 2009, 2004, 2003 Juried show, Cultural Arts center, Douglasville, Georgia • 2011 Juried show, Mable House Gallery, Mableton, Georgia • 2013, 2014 Group show Atelier Gallery • 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009 Group Show DK Gallery, Marietta GA Employment: • Designer: Industrial design, 1980- 1992 •Instructor: 1988-1992 Portfolio Center, Atlanta, GA, Art Institute, Atlanta, GA •Annual Non-Profit support: •Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Association •Art Papers Auction, Mason Murer Gallery, Atlanta, GA •Equine Aid Foundation Press: •Palm Springs Art Examiner "Intuition," October 19, 2010 by Sandra Schulman •The Desert Sun, May 11, 2007 •Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles March 2011 "On Our Radar" by Kate Abney •Marietta Daily Journal, April, 2011 •American Art Collector, June, 2011 Collections • The Walsh Group, Atlanta • The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta • Dr. and Mrs. William Farrar, Marietta, GA • Mr. and Mrs. Hal Berry, Atlanta Steeplechase • The Horseradish Grill, Atlanta • Dr. and Mrs. William Reynolds • Exhibitgroup Corp. Atlanta • McCoy Design, Edwards, Colorado • Mr. and Mrs. Clark Howard