Description This acrylic painting was inspired by the likeness of 1920s film star Pola Negri. She was born in Poland and then found fame in the United States doing silent films. I find her inspiring because she has such a dramatic face and there are so many reference photos of her because she was a favorite of the portrait photographers of the 1920s. She was a theater actress, film star, ballerina, author, and recording artist. She was also a fashion icon and was the first to start wearing turbans, which she was ultimately buried in as well. Pola Negri had large eyes and was often photographed looking up, leaving a lot of white space under her irises, giving her a supernatural appearance. This painting emphasizes this essence along with the turban, the accessory of fortune tellers. I used blue coloring for her face and silver for her irises to communicate the unearthly aura of this actress. When I think of the 1920s and the images of the women at this time, they seem to be shrouded in mystery, this image plays with that idea as well.
Susan Shiney, New York, NY Member Since September 2013 Artist Statement Susan Shiney is an expressionist artist that focuses on portraits. She believes every face tells a unique story. She does not capture the essence of the subject, however she invokes a story on their image that she wants to express.
Susan loves color and uses a loose brushwork style that gives preference to color rather than representation. She utilizes the rapid work of Impressionism with the angst of Expressionism.
She focuses her work in series of ten. Each image in the series works together to communicate a message or exploration of a subject as a whole. While each piece can stand alone as a story, it also works within the series as a piece within the larger message.
Susan has degrees in Anthropology and Art History. Travel and culture have affected her deeply and influence her perspectives on life. While serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh, Susan became more focused on social justice issues and the empowerment of women. The history of art and the study of famous artists is her passion.
Susan has been drawing and painting since she was a child. She has taken art classes throughout her life in various forms, to say she is completely self-taught would be in correct.
Susan decided to make her artist’s dreams come true after completing the 500-mile Santiago de Compostela walking pilgrimage in Spain in the August of 2012.
She works in watercolors, acrylics, and oils in her study of faces in all forms.