Fine Art Painting, Seattle, WA

Susan’s Blog

Dream and Allegory: Love Transcendent

In 2006, my mother died on her birthday. She died just before midnight on the East Coast, shortly after having routine knee surgery a few days earlier. On the West Coast, I went to bed unaware of my mother’s passing.

That night I had an extraordinary dream. A mummy lying on a table sat up and then approached me, desperately trying to communicate with me. I said I was sorry that I couldn’t understand. I noticed that the holes where the eyes should be were hollow. Next, I saw a rushing river getting clogged with trees and boulders. After that, a Victorian hearse passed in front of me.

Then, the telephone rang.

At 6am my brother called to tell me that our mom died, suddenly, from a pulmonary embolism. A blood clot travelled through her veins from her knee to her lungs. Because our mother was an organ donor, her eyes were harvested.

Detail images above. Cedar, madrona tree branch, hand-painted photographs, mask, gauze and rocks

In the days before my mother’s passing, I had been working on a large watercolor painting of a magnificent Madrona tree. I was pretty far along into the work. When I was able to return to the painting I continued what I had already established. My tears flowed into the watercolor. After finishing it, I commemorated the painting in memory of my mother.

Weeks later I showed the painting to a friend. She was astonished at my interpretation of the Madrona tree. I hadn’t realized that the rounded base of the tree trunk looked like a clot and the leafless red branches resembled a network of veins.

Like Mother  This dynamic and multi-media exhibit is curated by L. Kelly Lyles explores the profound bond between mothers and daughters, both visually and narratively. 

April 28 through May 28

Magnuson Park Gallery
Building 30 West, Magnuson Park
7448 63rd Avenue NE, 3rd Floor
Hours: Thursday-Friday, 10 AM – 3 PM
Saturday, Noon – 5 PM
and by appointment.

I’m pleased to announce my new book, Madrona Love

Madrona Love is a photographic essay of found hearts that have been carved into the iconic Madrona trees of the Pacific Northwest. The Madrona’s vibrant orangey-red hues and remarkable peeling bark is utterly captivating. As an artist, I’ve been enamored by this native beauty. My photographs of Madrona tree heart carvings were initially a source of inspiration for my paintings. They lovingly evolved into a photographic essay that became this book.

I live near Seattle, in the beautiful Puget Sound region. I’ve taken hundreds of photographs of Madrona trees. During my hikes, with camera in hand, I discovered that a surprising number of Madronas had hearts carved into their silky smooth skin. I am fascinated by richly textured surfaces, marked by people and the transience of nature. I found the incredible number of variations to be visually intriguing.

Each carving is a unique symbolic declaration of love, marked at a particular moment in time. The hearts I documented will look entirely different weeks and months later as the Madrona’s bark continually changes with the seasons. Eventually they disappear. Many of the Madrona heart carvings I discovered, are preserved in my book Madrona Love. I hope you love it 

Available here for purchase …coming soon!

Art inspired by the 1970's funk and disco era.

I created “Funkadelic Relic” for Kirkland Arts Center’s 7th Annual ARTbeat auction.

The theme this year is Brick House Funk- inspired by the Commodore’s 1977 song “Brick House”.

I like the vintage industrial vibe of this painting. It fits in well with my Corrosion Series.

I had a great time grooving to funk and disco while making “Funkadelic Relic”.

Here are few of my favorite songs to “get down” to:

James Brown- “Hot Pants” and “It’s Too Funky In Here”

George Clinton- “Booty Body Ready For The Plush Funk”

Centrum Cabin

Hi Friends…KAST Tour




Saturday/Sunday May 10-11, 10am-6pm

Susan Derrick Fine Art
730 Market Street, Kirkland
second floor, studio C

Once again I am participating in KAST. Enjoy a self-guided tour of artists studios in Kirkland. Come and see what’s new in my studio. I’ll have small paintings, prints on sweet little wood boxes and notebooks for sale. You can download the KAST map at

Rhodies are in bloom! I have small framed prints of my pink rhododendron painting.

And I have Madrona Tree Heart Carving prints from my original painting on 4” wood boxes.


I love my cool new website!


Many thanks to my web designer Amy Cast, techno wiz grrrl supreme of


In June I’ll be working at Centrum Center for the Arts at Fort Worden in beautiful Port Townsend. Local artists Anne Simernitski and Joy Hagen will be joining me for one week of dedicated art-making.

Centrum provides us with a cozy cabin and a spacious studio on the grounds of Fort Worden.


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR VISUAL ARTISTS I am thrilled to have been accepted into the Artist Trust EDGE program in Port Townsend. For one intensive week in August I, along with seventeen participating artists, will be working out of my comfort zone, expanding, collaborating, learning, spreading my wings then coming home newly energized and ready to take on the art world! I hope to see you this Saturday or Sunday during the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour!

I hope to see you this Saturday or Sunday during the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour!

xo Susan

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