Fine Art Painting, Seattle, WA

Statement / Biography / CV

Artist Statement

2020-. Since the Covid-19 virus pandemic struck, I have been creating paintings inspired by the music, lights, fashion and the euphoria I experience in the dance culture that I miss. I have been a student of dance for most of my life. I have studied Modern, Jazz, Tap, Salsa, and Hip Hop. I love the communal energy and collective joy that I feel in dance studios and in the nightclub dance scene. My creative response to the isolation and grief from the pandemic is to paint a joyful visual world of rhythmic patterns, positive energy, movement and shimmery, vibrant hues.

Disco Ball, Mirror Ball, Silver Sphere, Glitter Ball.  Dance Icon.

Disco balls do not merely reflect light; they have become the source of a multifaceted and multilayered metaphor for community, escapism, inclusion, even safety in nightlife. I grew up in the Disco era of the 1970s. Disco emerged from the negative conditions of late 1960’s. The fight for Civil Rights, Gay Liberation, Women’s Rights and the anti-Vietnam War movement fed into the zeitgeist of that time. Discotheques were joyful places where marginalized people could safely express themselves. Predominately LGBTQ, Black and Latino communities popularized underground nightclubs and accelerated dance music culture. These clubs provided safe havens for people who wanted to escape from social issues and enjoy a euphoric experience away from public scrutiny.

The thing I’ve always loved about dancing is its unwavering positivity. Dance is a reverie that maintains its transcendent high. Dance studios and clubs continue to provide a culture of love and inclusion and creates a space for community-building across lines of differences. Disco Balls are celebratory objects of life-affirming transformation.

With today’s era of social and political divisions, climate change and the pandemic, I can’t wait to get back on the dance floor with hundreds of other sweaty people dancing our cares away under the sparkle of a big Disco Ball.


My paintings from 2018 and 2019 are intuitive inventions that indulge in surface pattern and texture. Organic forms pulse with geometric patterns that compete, overwhelm, cooperate, tease, balance, or dance with each other.

My topographic abstract paintings are poetic metaphors referencing the form and color of the landscape. In these paintings I explore spatial and chromatic effects by carefully balancing bright and dull colors on layered organic shapes.

Hand-painted paper is cut or torn and reassembled on the surface. Thick, textural opaque pigments suggest density and physical weight juxtaposed with light and airy atmospheric color.


Susan Derrick was born and raised in southern New York state. She earned a BFA in Painting from Alfred University, NY and worked for 10 years as an illustrator near New York City. She moved to Redmond, Washington in 1995.  Susan Derrick has had several solo shows and her paintings have been included in numerous group exhibitions at galleries, art centers and a museum show. She is an arts educator, avid art-book collector, photographer, backyard birder, and a life-long student of dance.


1983       Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Painting, Alfred University, New York

2018       Color Interactions: Theory and Practice, North Seattle College,  Seattle, WA

      Art2Life Creative Visionary Program, (Online), Painting

2014       Artist Trust EDGE Professional Development Program
2010-13  Gage Academy of Art, Seattle, WA, Painting/Drawing

2005       Kelly S. King Faux Finish Institute, Lynnwood, WA, Designer Wall Finishes

1988       State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase, Drawing/Painting
1985-86  Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, Illustration

Solo Exhibitions

2018       re:surface, Studio 103, Tashiro Kaplan Building, Seattle, WA

2016       Fragile Beauty, Ombu, Edmonds, WA

2015       Impermanence, Studio 103 Tashiro Kaplan Building, Seattle, WA

2013       Corrosion, Dusted Valley Wine and Art Gallery, Woodinville, WA

Selected Group Exhibitions

2020       Visual Impressions, Ryan James Fine Arts,  Kirkland, WA, National Exhibition

              ICON, Lynn Hanson Gallery, Seattle, WA, Stephanie Hargrave- Curator

               20/20 Vision: CoCA Members Show, Center on Contemporary Art, National Exhibition, Seattle, WA, Nicole Dement- Juror

              Reflections from 1962 to the Future, Kirkland Arts Center, Kirkland, WA, Donna Lindeman Porter- Curator

2019       Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, Central Washington University, INTERSTATE, National Exhibition, Ellensburg, WA, Grace Kook-Anderson- Curator

2018       MARIN MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Memory and Perception, National Exhibition, Novato, CA, Alan Bamberger- Curator

      Museo Gallery, Terrain: Exploring a Common Ground, Langley,WA

      Art2Life Academy International Online Exhibition, Donna Seager- Juror

      North Seattle College, Like Mother, Traveling Exhibition, Seattle, WA, Kelly Lyles- Curator

2017       ArtXchange Gallery, Like Mother, Traveling Exhibition, Seattle, WA

2016       Frederick Holmes and Company Gallery, 3 Person Exhibition, Obfuscation, Seattle, WA, Frederick Holmes and Colleen LenahanCurators

      35 LIVE: COCA Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA

      Bellevue Arts Museum, Women’s Work, Women Painters of Washington, Community Education Gallery, Bellevue, WA

2015      Larson Gallery, Visual Voices, Yakima Valley College, Yakima, WA, David Lynx- Juror

     The Bemis Building, Bemis Fall Art Show, Seattle, WA

2014       Seattle Design Center, Local Beat, Evergreen Association of Fine Arts Gallery, Seattle, WA

2013       Schack Art Center, Celebration!, Women Painters of Washington, Everett, WA

2011       Northwinds Art Center, Art Port Townsend Northwest Expressions, Port Townsend, WA, Gary Faigin- Juror

      Seattle Design Center, Members Exhibition, Eastside Association of Fine Arts, Seattle, WA

2009       Kaewyn Gallery, Waterworks, Northwest Watercolor Society, Bothell, WA,  Christopher Schink- Juror

       Trilogy Golf Club, Members Exhibition, Northwest Watercolor Society, Redmond, WA,   Tom Hoffman- Juror

       Bothell Landing Park Building, LiveArts, Bothell, WA, Diane Ainsworth- Juror

2008       New Dimensions Gallery, Waterworks, Northwest Watercolor Society, Bellevue, WA,  Betsy Dillard Stroud- Juror

2007       Harbor Gallery, Waterworks, Northwest Watercolor Society, Gig Harbor, WA, Robert Burridge- Juror


2016       Betty Jo Fitzgerald Award, Women’s Work: Women Painters of Washington, Bellevue Arts Museum, Cappy Thompson- Juror

2015       Honorable Mention, Larson Gallery, Visual Voices, David Lynx- Juror

                 Studio Challenge Finalist, Kirkland Arts Center: Artbeat Auction, Kirkland, WA, Larry Metcalf- Juror

2009       Best of Show Award, Eastside Association of Fine Arts, Members Exhibition, Tom Hoffman- Juror

      Jack Richeson Award, Northwest Watercolor Society, Waterworks,  Christopher Schink- Juror

      Honorable Mention, LiveArts Bothell Exhibition, Diane Ainsworth- Juror

2008       L.A. Frames Award, Northwest Watercolor Society, Waterworks, Betsy Dillard Stroud- Juror

2007       Juror’s Award of Merit, Northwest Watercolor Society, Waterworks, Robert Burridge- Juror

1984       Two First Place Awards– Drawing and Painting, Beaux Art Finale,  The Women’s Clubs of Westchester, New York

 Curatorial Projects

2015       Artist Trust EDGE Graduate Show, Galvanize, Seattle, WA, Co-curated with Louise Hankes

     Women Painters of Washington Gallery, Black & White + One, Group Exhibition, Seattle, WA, Co-curated with Cheryl Richey


       Graymoor, Garrison, New York


2018        Madrona Love, Self-published Nature Photography Book

1983        Smithsonian Magazine- Illustration

Special Events

2019        Video Documentary, Stories of Giving- Artist Susan Derrick partnering with Seattle Angels, a non-profit organization that supports Foster youth and the families who care for them. Video sponsored by Tinte Cellars of Woodinville, WA.

2016       Kirkland Arts Center, Live Auction Donating Artist

2015       Art Beat- Alternative Talk 1150 KKNW with Pat Pauley

      Guest Speaker, Bellevue Arts Museum Potpourri Guild Luncheon

      Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine, Lead Artist for Fundraiser BarkART for Foster Kids, Urban Reclamations, Seattle, WA

               Kirkland Arts Center, Live Auction Donating Artist


2015       Centrum Artist-In-Residence, Port Townsend, WA

2014       Centrum Artist-In-Residence, Port Townsend, WA

2013       Centrum Artist-In-Residence, Port Townsend, WA

Work Related Experience

2012-13, 2020  Arts Educator, Susan Derrick Fine Art, Redmond Studio

2007       Youth Art Educator, Summer Camp, Susan Derrick Fine Art, Redmond Studio

1984-90  Staff Illustrator at LAM Design, White Plains, New York. Package Design and Advertising for Fortune 500 Companies-Pepsi, Nestle, General Foods,  Bristol-Myers, Xerox, Seagrams, Heublein, Reader’s Digest

1983-85  Freelance Illustration

Professional Affiliations

Artist Trust

COCA Center on Contemporary Art

Kirkland Arts Center

Woodinville Arts Alliance