Tracy and Sushe Felix

Artist Interview
November 10, 2016

Husband and wife duo, Tracy and Sushe Felix, have been producing works of art for over 27 years and are on display from October 21 through November 12, 2016. We asked them a few questions on what inspired this body of work and how they created it. 

Tracy, you are known for your whimsical Western Landscapes and candy-like clouds, what encouraged you to define your own style and step away from the more traditional landscapes?

The early modernist artists that worked in Colorado and New Mexico are my biggest influences.  Artists like Charles Bunnell, William Sanderson, Andrew Dasburg and Kenneth Adams to name a few.  They approached the landscape in a more cubist way and also used bright vivid colors.  Another group of artists that I admire are the Hudson River artists mostly Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran.  Both of these artists travel west with survey crews mapping and exploring the new western wilderness.  Their paintings tended to more exaggerated depictions of what they saw.  The mountains were higher and the colors brighter because they wanted the Easterners to be impressed with the new frontier.  I want my paintings to have this same spirit and yet look different.

Sushe, your works are very detailed and often look like they have been airbrushed. What is the process you use to get that type of response from the acrylic paints?

I paint in acrylics, however I always start with a small drawing so I will know exactly how the composition will lay out and where all the darks and lights will be. I then square up the drawing onto my panel and then put a complete reproduction of the drawing down using black and white paint. I then go on top of that with a thin underpainting using all the colors I intend to complete the painting in. On top of this thin loose underpainting I begin to scumble over it with a thicker acrylic using a bristly brush. This creates the soft blended look of airbrushing, yet also looks hand brushed.

You both compose dynamic and captivating landscapes. Do you use references or are they landscapes of your own creation?

Tracy works with both reference materials at times, but for other pieces will also make the landscape up. I more often than not make up my landscapes from my memories of a place or the combination of many places put together. Most important I wish to create pieces with life, energy and a positive joyful spirit! -Sushe

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