Explore the art and the journey of artist Susan McChesney.
Eyeing an unused flower press in my studio, I began pressing flower petals and leaves from a local flower farm. I found the pressed petals to be vibrant and alive visually, and began to collage them into landscapes.
Oshibana, a 16th c. Japanese floral preservation tradition of pressed flower art, grappled then with preserving color in the flower petals, and the challenge continues today.
The contemporary techniques to remove oxygen, the fading culprit, include lamination and vacuum sealing, both of which I am using.
Work is sealed upon completion, and it should hold its color for years to come.
Pressed petals collaged to represent landscapes and bouquet memories.
I am constantly producing new work, and am working to bring it here for you to see.
“I marvel at the unfurling of a petal, the opening of a blossom pod, a seed head. The transformation has always sparked wonder in me, since being sent as a child of a farm to the garden to pick whatever was ready for supper that night. I find creative inspiration and joy in the flow of being from seed to blossom to …
Layers of translucent colored pencils thrill me, with the colors one can make, the effects one can afford. Chalk pastels layered on a gritty surface, layers mixing. Watercolor added in soft washes, elevating a drawing to a new understanding. Flowers, landscapes, the unfurling of petals, abstractions of all these things: All are to be captured.”
Having drawn for all my life, my vision shifted to include pressing flowers and leaves from Western North Carolina and collaging them into landscapes.
So many of the same elements come into play: color, shape, texture, value… but transformed by the fragility and variety presented by nature.
Now, I not only draw these beauties, but marvel in the wonder of the physical elements I collage to represent the landscapes around me. Surrounded by flowers, I am grateful for their bounty.
PHOTO BY: Clark Hodgkin
Education & Work
Diploma, School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
M. Ed, Antioch University
20+ years teaching and administrative positions in Department of Education, MFA Boston
30+ years private studio art instruction with a concentration in Drawing, all ages, and abilities
Susan lived and worked in mid-coast Maine 2001 – 2014, and now works in a studio and offers instruction in a variety of classes in the Asheville/Madison County NC area; including as an Adult Studio Instructor at the Asheville Art Museum.
Susan has explored many art mediums and you can see some of her art journey in this gallery.
Preserving memories of some of the most important occasions in a life.
Visit Petal-Passages.com to learn about Susan's special occasion bouquets pressed and collaged into fine art pieces on commission.
Find Susan's originals, prints and cards at Flow Gallery in beautiful Marshall, NC. (14 S. Main St.)
Article in Asheville Made:
June 1, 2021
Art Instructor Helps Cut Flowers Reach Their Full Potential
by Tom Kerr
The News-Record & Sentinel's Spring & Summer 2022
Visitors Guide for
Madison County NC
Cover image by Susan McChesney
Honered as a finalist by Our State magazine Made-in-NC Awards 2021