An artist who works in acrylics and watercolors, Susan Halley found a way to combine her artwork with paper crafting. About a year ago, when Susan retired, Doreen Beers, who belongs to both the fine arts and the paper crafting groups, encouraged Susan to join the Paper Crafting Club to find ways to decorate the cards she creates from her original paintings. She now adds paper borders and various types of embellishments like small tiles, glass beads, etc.
Susan knew from her earliest years that she was an artist. As a child, she especially liked drawing Disney characters. Throughout her life, whatever she did, art was involved in one form or another. Her major began as home economics, but she ended up earning a degree in interior design. Then, she said, “I went to work in our family business. We were home builders in Denver. So, taking drawing classes in college for architectural and interior design satisfied my artistic needs. In the 1990s, I met a group of ladies, and we did tole painting every Thursday night. I did that for years. Reminds me of what we have here in Robson.”
On marrying a man whose passion was photography, they began a business in which they sold photography printers. Of course, they printed their own family photos, and rather than just stick them into albums, she began to create family scrapbooks—an early foray into paper crafting.
In addition to combining her two art forms of painting and paper crafting, Susan was happy to join the club because of its outreach efforts in creating cards for various charitable projects.
Susan does sell both her original art. She is so happy that anyone is moved enough to want to take home something she created—to know that what came from her own heart has moved the heart of another. It is especially gratifying when people have framed her cards and put them on display in their homes.
She never liked buying cards in a store. “There are always too many choices, and it takes so long to select one.” Plus, she is not happy with the cost of ready-made cards. “Being frugal and conservative, I like repurposing things. I find frames in thrift stores like the Heart of Eloy and I use pre-cut mats to set off the artwork.”
Susan and her husband Dennis moved to Robson Ranch as winter visitors 10 years ago. “I knew about the art center but never allowed myself to get involved until I could fully devote time there. Last year we sold our digital imaging business, and I decided to spend as much time as I could here. We sold our home in Denver in February. I needed to be here and get involved.”
Once she retired, Susan wasted no time in fulfilling her dream. “I’m now immersed in art. My goal has always been to do what I have a passion for in my retirement. In the last year, I’ve accomplished that goal. Soon I’m going to teach a weekly class in acrylic painting.” No doubt she’ll encourage the participants to also find ways to combine their paintings with paper crafts. So far, she says, “My cards are all from my paintings. But I love to watch and learn from the talented people in the paper crafting center.”
Susan Halley is proof that dreams can come true.