First and foremost, thank you for stopping by!
I grew up on the Gulf of Mexico, and now live on a lake in the woods of North Florida. I spend as much time as I can in the studio, and I love to paint clouds and water. Sky and water- – – always there, yet ever-changing. Painting is a sensual and an intellectual pleasure to me. It reflects my life in the attempt to reach an equilibrium: that balance between light and dark, hard and soft, and hope and despair.
Often my paintings wander to the solitary places I went as a child, and to which I am still drawn in daydreams and just before falling asleep. They are sanctuaries and sources of inspiration, offering comfort and sometimes magic – – and they are a joy to paint.
I am a member of the South of SoHo Gallery at Railroad Square, and benefit from my husband’s business, As You Like It Canvas, which offers custom fine art canvases for painters in just about any shape or size imaginable.
Want to get in touch? Interested in a piece? Contact me at: speacock716 (at) gmail.com
“Emotions take wing in Susan Peacock’s Paintings”
Tallahassee Magazine, 2012
“I usually begin my paintings with a feeling,” explains Tallahassee artist Susan Peacock. “And then I’ll paint them over 50 times before I’m happy with them.” The Clearwater native has explored those feelings through various media in her artistic career. She began with ceramics, but shoulder pain led her to consider other artistic options. Peacock’s paintings of cloudscapes and ocean waves have appeared in galleries from Atlanta to New York, no doubt because the feelings she captures resonate with her viewers as well.
Peacock originally came to Tallahassee to study biology, but she also holds a BA in pharmacy from FAMU and a BA in studio art from FSU. She has traveled widely and studied art in places as varied as Paris and Kenya, but has made Tallahassee her home.
“I love it here,” she says. “I’m on the coast, not so far from where I grew up, and it’s beautiful here. There are lots of good things going on.” Though Peacock spends her days working as a pharmacist for the Apalachee Center Hospital, federal correctional institutions and independent pharmacies, she also shares the South of SoHo co-op gallery in Railroad Square with eight other local artists. Her husband, Jay Boynton, shares her passion as well. He runs As You Like It, a local business focused on creating custom canvases for artists. “He creates all kinds of interesting canvases — octagonal shapes, Gothic arches,” Peacock explains. “They’re really great pieces and great quality.”
Emotion in Motion
Peacock recalls driving along the coast of South Carolina one particularly stormy day and watching the clouds church across the sky, then coming home and capturing the experience in paint. “Clouds and waves lend themselves to an emotion,” Peacock explains. “Waves can show just about every emotion – everything from gray storm surges to turquoise jubilation.” Peacock’s work explores the entire range of these emotions, often within a single painting. Consequently, her work is often a surprising mix of color and feeling. She jokes that sometimes she even surprises herself. One painting of aspidistra became unruly when the plant’s leaves decided to sprawl every which way across the canvas.
“Many of my paintings look like there’s more than one person working,” she laughs. “I come back to the canvas with different thoughts, different feelings, every time I sit down to paint. That’s part of why I paint so slowly. But that’s the fun of it – the physical has to match that feeling, that starting point.” Though Peacock became known for her cloudscapes early in her career, once she had children, she was drawn to more down-to-earth imagery. Desptie the protests of her gallery owners, she moved away from her trademark cloudscapes and into other nature-based pieces. Recently,s he has found other practical outlets for her work. When her daughter organized several protests at Publix locations across Florida to raise awareness about the need for fair compensation for farm workers, Peacock picked up there paintbrush to help. She painted protest signs covered in tomatoes – some red, some blue – and gave them away to volunteers who showed up to hold them.
Don’t over-think it
Peacock keeps her artistic work separate from her practical vocation. “It’s like the difference between church and state,” she jokes. “I have to keep my art and livelihood separate. Painting is a huge contrast to eh left-brain thinking required of me in pharmacy work. My day job gives my creative brain a rest.”
Peacock identifies over-thinking as one of the critical challenges for artists. “The best part of a painting comes from somewhere else, somewhere outside of yourself,” she explains. “You can’t get there by over-thinking. You can only finding it by not thinking about it so much.” Despite her recognition of the role of the subconscious in creative endeavors, Peacock is quick to admit that use does indeed see a connection between the works she creates and the events of her own life.
“I didn’t know they were talking about my life as I painted them, but looking back at them, they always were,” she says. Maybe this is why Peacock describes some of her work as “anthropomorphic.” She admits that many of her depictions of nature seem to take on human characteristics, whether she planned on those associations or not.
“The most important things in life we can’t understand,” Peacock says. “Art, God, love, beauty. Everything important is like that. The more we try, the farther away we get.”