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Donna Surprenant


Since I first began painting over thirty years ago, the beauty of creation and the challenge of are continually urge me to live with a brush in hand. Painting is a response of joy, a response to color and light shining on a human face, the form of a simple bowl and the subtle tones of nature.

As a native of New England, I attended the University of New Hampshire receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing in 1975. The program focused on realism, setting my course as a perceptual painter under the influence of such professors as Sigmund Abeles and Bruno Civitico. Upon graduating, I worked at the Frick Art Reference library in New York City, then at the Houghton Rare Books library in Harvard University. In 1981 I moved to Canada to become a member of the Madonna House Apostolate, a catholic lay community in Combermere, Ontario where I now reside as a full time painter.

To further my education over the years, I have traveled throughout the USA and Europe, visiting museums and studying in various workshops, most recently with Anthony Ryder, john Mora, and at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. In January 2001, American Artist magazine published an article on the figure paintings entitled Interior Compositions and this summer, Christians in the Visual Arts included the double portrait, ?The Readings? in the publication Faith and Vision.

The unique environment within which I am able to paint offers me a rich mingling of reflection and activity. My motifs rise from an awareness of the beauty and silence present in an ordered arrangement of humble objects and simple gestures. Thus I have chosen to focus on figures and still lives while frequently incorporating landscape. Since I work only from life, the many components of a painting are gathered from the garden or kitchen and the models are members and visitors of the Madonna House community who come from various parts of the world. Over the years painting has revealed to me the intertwining poetry of our visual reality and the interior life. It is an experience which teaches me how to see with greater clarity and quiet joy.

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Hugo The Carpenter's Altar Jae Young
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas Oil on canvas
14" x 12" 28" x 22" 10" x 9"
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