Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Story Behind the Art - Sue Zipkin

The Story Behind the Art - Sue Zipkin

Hello and welcome to the tenth installation of 

If you are new to my blog, The Story Behind the Art will take you on a little journey into the STORY behind a particular piece of art or collection created by one of my talented friends from around the globe. The stories are posted on the first Wednesday of each month.

Sue and I met many years ago on an icy (and sandy) winter's night when I had an artist gathering at my studio. We have been friends ever since. I am also a big fan of both her and of her beautiful work. Sue is one of the most sharing, giving people I know, and is always there with words of encouragement when needed.
Thanks for sharing your story Sue!

I am so honored that Paula invited me to share The Story Behind my Art.
Being dyslexic, the written word is always a challenge for me but hopefully this will make sense! 

I work in a few styles so my head is spinning in so many directions!  
When I’m creating, I need to think about the market, what clients I will be showing my artwork to and the different product categories that it could be used for. I am grateful that I earn a living from licensing art.  

I have been designing dinnerware and ceramics for many years, if you do a Google search you can find samples of my older patterns. Some I am proud of and others scare me! 

At times I create art that I feel would look good in my own home and others homes. 

My dinnerware collection, Tunisian Sunset came about because
I thought it would be fun to have some dinnerware with medallions in deep jewel tones to match some furniture I bought.
Having always been inspired by mixing and matching icons and patterns as well as my love of Indian motif. I layered in pattern, garden floral’s and some unexpected surprises.
Tunisian Sunset

My calendar for a well-known spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, came from similar inspiration.
Ram Dass

A few years ago I started to experiment with mix-media. I love that it is all about getting messy. I am good at that!  I got out my acrylic paints, canvas, textured papers and some of my own patterns to explore the technique. (I had already been using a lot of textures and layers in Photoshop.) At the time I was thinking I needed to expand on what I can put into the mix media. I started to look for sources to find handwritten ephemera in the public domain. My friend Kathy Alpert (coincidentally she is also the brainchild of bringing my artwork together with the Ram Dass teachings in the calendar, thank you Kathy!) has been a collector of ephemera for years.

One day she shared an ephemera society trade show on Facebook.  I met up with her at the show and I was forever hooked. I love the stuff so much I purchased some to download’s from Paula's etsy shop!     


I am thrilled to announce that Ganz just introduced a new line featuring this style of artwork. It is on wood items and the wood marries well to the withered feel of the art. That’s the other thing I love about this style, I get to mess it all up. I love withered paint!  Sometimes the ephemera dictates my art, it speaks to me.  I wonder about the person who might have created it and think about all the history in it. I love repurposing it and using it as background textures. At times I end up painting over most of it. You might have to look close to find it!


Lately I have been inspired to create very loose watercolor paintings of flowers so I search out beautiful flowers to paint! I also paint some of the flowers I’m growing in my garden.  Painting from life is so much fun because you can really get a sense of the individual flower you’re painting, how it grows; they all have their own personality.  I have a passion to paint them. I’m not really sure where this art will end up. So far some are on some greeting cards. Sometimes you just have to break away and create things just because it feels right without a clear direction of the market.  If you would like to see more, please follow me on Instragam 

Sue zipkin

If my memory serves me correctly, the beautiful handwriting in the background is one of Paula’s ephemera downloads.  
You can find out more about Sue and her work by following these links.


  1. Both you and Sue are such lovely people as well as talented, hardworking artists. Glad to read about Sue here, and I read your blog often. Kudos to you both.

    1. Thanks for the kind feedback Sharyn! back at you also!

    2. Thanks for the kind comment Sharyn and for reading my blog! You are pretty awesome yourself!

  2. Nice article Sue and Paula. Enjoyed reading.