Suzi Zefting-Kuhn is an artist specializing in oil and pastel. She has also worked in watercolor and colored pencil. Suzi’s area of focus is portraiture and figurative, both human and animal. Suzi enters local, regional and national exhibitions each year. She has been fortunate to have won numerous awards in all areas.
You will find Suzi in studio #452, on the fourth floor of the Hungerford building.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I am a mother, wife and now proud and excited grandma (Grams) to four little amazing
people. If I had followed my childhood dreams, I would be a writer or journalist. Marriage
changed all of that and in my thirties, I became an artist. I suppose I was always an artist
but I was acting on it for the first time then. My early desire to write was out of an
interest in people. Portraiture was an easy transition for me to make. I wasn’t interested
in painting flowers or landscapes. I wanted to paint people!
Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do because it has become a passion for me. When I am not in my studio I miss
it. In these crazy times, sitting at my easel can be therapeutic. If it is a good painting day
time will go by without my knowing it.
Where do you find inspiration?
I can find inspiration everywhere but more often than not it is my grandchildren that get
my creative juices flowing. Spending time with them reminds me to see things in a
childlike way with renewed interest.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
I haven’t yet settled on a particular theme in my work. I have a tendency to focus mainly
on portraiture but at times try a landscape, or other genre.
How do you develop your art skills?
Practice! Practice! Practice! I am the workshop coordinator for the Rochester Art Club
and typically organize at least one workshop per year with a national artist. I am
fortunate to be able to study with the crème of the crop of acclaimed artists.
When is your favorite time of day to create?
I find I become the most productive in the afternoons, and on Sundays (if I am in the
studio by myself).
How do you structure your day?
I typically get to the studio before 9am. The morning is spent checking emails, working
on workshop details, or planning for the next year’s workshops. Time is spent on social
media (many times too long), but having a presence on social media is important for an
artist. In addition to my studio, I am also an artist owner of Pittsford Fine Art so some of
my time is devoted to marketing efforts for that gallery.
What step or process do you most enjoying doing?
The initial drawing is the most enjoyable part of my painting process. It is where I can
work out details, composition and become familiar with my subject matter.
Is there something you do today that you wished you had known to do years ago?
Working on linen panels! They make painting so much more pleasurable for me. I love
how the paint glides on the surface.
Is there one piece or moment that was pivotal for your creative development?
The one piece that changed my visibility as an artist was my pastel of a giraffe titled “I
Have My Eye on You”. It won awards in numerous national and international shows as
well as the offer to write an article for International Artists Magazine. Being published in
an international magazine was quite the thrill. I am happy to say that “I Have My Eye on
You” sold in early 2021 by a wonderful young couple and it hangs in a child’s nursery.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice I have gotten over the years was from my art hero, Burton
Silverman, who said “Whenever you touch pencil to paper don’t leave a lot of crap
How do you define success as an artist?
Success to me is that feeling you get when you complete a drawing or painting, and you
yourself feel it is a good piece. Everyone else’s opinion is subjective. If I am satisfied and
happy with the outcome then I accomplished what I had set out to create.
What are you currently working on? What are you focusing on right now?
Currently I am working on a very challenging commission with less-than-optimal
reference material. While commissions are not my first choice I do them to help pay the
bills. It does make me happy when the client is happy with the final product. I would like
to focus on improving my painting skills and being able to complete a painting faster.
Do you have any exhibitions/shows coming up?
I currently have a pastel in the 8th Annual Adirondack Pastel Society National Exhibition
at the View in Old Forge, NY. I hope to have a pastel completed in time to enter the
Pastel Society of Western New York’s juried exhibition at Barnes & Noble, Pittsford
Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
An artist needs a community. I believe artists that don’t need a community are in the
minority. Twelve years ago, I started a group here at the Hungerford called the Main
Street Artists’ Gallery & Studio. Currently there are thirteen of us. We have been together
for so long that we truly consider ourselves a “family”. We share two joined studio
spaces. It is a supportive environment as we share ideas, painting knowledge and moral
To see more of Suzi’s work, visit suzizefting-kuhn.com