Part 1 of an interview with Susan Lyon

I am thrilled to bring you an interview with award-winning painter Susan Lyon.

Open and genuine, Susan shares her advice about achieving success as an artist. She also shares her confidence struggles early in her career, and gives frank business advice for artists.

Susan looks at the life of a professional artist from a wholistic view with a strong spiritual component.

In speaking with Susan, I felt as though I'd known her all my life, and I'm grateful for her time and giving spirit.

Part two of this interview is available now in episode 42.

Susan Lyon grew up in Oak Park, Illinois. Her initial interest in art was sparked by a PBS television show on Georgia O’Keefe, that inspired her to take weekend art classes. Lyon studied art at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and was an active participant in Chicago’s Palette and Chisel Club. It is there she first began exhibiting and selling her work.

Susan works equally in oil, pastel, charcoal, and mixed media,  drawing inspiration from painters of the Gilded Age, such as Anders Zorn, Joaquin Sorolla, and John Singer Sargent. She also is passionate about artists like Philip Malavin from Russia, and contemporary masters Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik.

Lyon’s technique is to paint wet on wet to start and then wet on dry for her finishing touches. “My style is realistic with as much impressionistic color as possible. I like to combine wide brushes for sweeping strokes in the background with small, soft brushes for subtle details in my center of interest. One of my greatest passions is drawing, I hope to show collectors that works on paper is a wonderful addition to a serious collection," she says.

Susan lives in a rural area of North Carolina with her husband, artist Scott Burdick, whom she met at the Palette and Chisel Art Club in Chicago. She and her husband travel widely.  “The excitement of traveling, seeing so many new sights and people, plus incredible works in museums; combined with the challenge of painting on the spot make me a travel addict! Even before I go on a trip I’m planning the one after,” she said.

She has been in numerous publications, including “Art Talk”, “Art of the West”, and “International Artist”, to name just a few. You will find an extensive list of publications in the shownotes for this episode.

Susan has also won dozens of Honors and Awards, including 1992 First Place in the Gold Medal Show — Palette and Chisel, Chicago, Gold Medal in the Oil Painters of America National Show 2020, and Finalist in the Portrait Society of America Gold Medal show. A complete list of Susan’s awards can also be found in the show notes at, as well as a list of just a few of her many exhibitions.

Selected Publications
March issue of "Art Talk", 1997
July/August "Art of the West" 1998
January issue of Southwest Art 2000
June / July issue of "International Artist" 2000
U.S. Art, fall of 2001
June/July issue of "Art Talk" 2002
May issue of Southwest art 2004
The Artist's Sketch Book, August of 2004
Art of the West Magazine, Cover and article July/August 2005
The Artist's Magazine "Most likely to Succeed" October 2005
Southwest art, Dispatches Painting in France Aug 2006 January 2008
The Artist's Magazine July/August 2008
Southwest Art Magazine “Drawing out the Best” 2011
Southwest art Magazine “ The Artists Studio “ January 2013
Pratique De Arts, French Magazine April/May 2015
Artists & Illustrators – How to use oil for Figure Sketching, The Pastel Journal -Cover and article February 2018
Art of the West – The power of two Nov/Dec 2018
Art of the West - Cover and article "How I Got Here" Jan/Feb 2020
Self Published Book "Visions and Voyages - The Art of Susan Lyon" Published 2008

Honors and Awards

1992 First Place in the Gold Medal Show - Palette and Chisel
1993 First Place in the Gold Medal Show - Palette and Chisel
1998 Western Rendezvous of Art, Helena , Montana - Honorable Mention
2001 Western Rendezvous of Art, Helena , Montana - Honorable Mention
2003 Honorable Mention for Figurative - International Artist Magazine
2004 Second Prize for Figurative - International Artist Magazine
2004 Montgomery frame award - Masters of the American West, LA
2007 Salon Show Greenhouse Gallery - Honorable mention
2008 - Honorable mention
2008 First place Portrait Society of America competition
2016 Donald Teague, Works on Paper award – Prix de West, Oklahoma City
2019 Gold Medal – Oil Painters of America National Show
2020 Finalist in the Portrait Society of America Gold Medal show

Selected Exhibitions
1998 - 2008 Western Rendezvous of Art, Helena , Montana
2003 - 2005 Masters of the American West, Los Angeles
2012 - present Prix de West Show, Oklahoma City
2018 - present Masters of the American West, Los Angeles

Contact Susan
Instagram @Lyonfineart
Website for online instructional videos:


  1. Bonnie Anderson on January 5, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Your message is so clear. My hope is that artists can hear you before they go through there own process. It will help them validate their growing pains. I find it so interesting that even now, after 60 years of painting, it’s always the next painting I am excited about.
    Enjoy this “season” of your art walk and stay excited for what is ahead.
    Yesterday is passed and tomorrow has not arrived. Stay in the moment and look forward to where it takes you. If you take the “wrong turn” you are experiencing growth. It’s the best of times.
    Thanks for sharing your words and your your life.
    Yours in the love of art, Bonnie

    • Caroline Italia on January 13, 2021 at 7:02 pm

      So glad you liked the interview, Bonnie! I agree, Susan’s message was powerful. She is an inspiration. So happy to have you listening, please keep in touch!