top of page


Suzanne Elizabeth was born in Helena, Montana in 1976. Her family moved to Tacoma where she grew up. She studied painting at the University of Puget Sound under Jim Phalen and Melissa Weinman. She graduated with honors in 1998 and subsequently moved to Portland.Over the last 20 years she has shown her work in numerous cafes, restaurants and galleries in Portland such as. She has created an avid following in the Portland area painting the tranquil scenes of everyday places and objects: a room with a table and chair, the basement storing seldom-used furniture, blankets and keepsakes, the view from a high windowed loft overlooking the city, all bathed in the filtered light of a cloudy day. The light in her work speaks specifically of the Northwest with its diffusion in a soft pallet and oblique sun angles that cast no shadows. Her work has been called domestic realism, as it recalls the quiet, slow lives of familiar things in the places in which she has lived and worked. She paints familiar things that anyone would recognize from their own life, made specific by the detail with which Suzy lovingly renders each corner and contour. Her locations are intensely specific to her place yet her subjects are so familiar they could be almost anywhere. A Portlander would surely recognize the ubiquity of retrofitted war era architecture yet almost anyone couldn’t help feeling wistfully nostalgic at the placement of a butter dish or midcentury printed glassware. In 2005 she lived with her aunt in San Francisco and painted some the unique views of that city but in a short time craved the familiarity of her home in the Northwest. As part of her fascination with the familiar her eyes and brush have increasingly focused on the urban landscape that surrounds her. The view from her window, the street corner on her bike ride to work, a scene from the MAX. Her later work increasingly captured the urban environment of Portland in an intimate portrait of daily scenes and sites that are often overlooked yet represent the uniqueness of what living here is like. Her process is slow. A large canvas can take months to complete. In order not to tire of staring at one image, she works on multiple pieces at once. This has the added benefit of speeding up her painting. Nevertheless, she abhors the constantly increasing rates of rush that typify people’s lives. She says, “it’s bad for the painting.” Each piece is allowed ample time to come to completion. She begins working from general shapes and colors then constantly revises detail until the original scene has been lovingly recreated. In recent years she has begun to accept commissions. The last was completed this year: a six by four foot urban landscape for the new Marriott Residence Inn in Portland’s Pearl District. Her new body of work is based primarily on memories from a trip to Italy in 2013. She plans to move to Italy in 2016 to continue her process of recording the magnificence in the mundane that has become her hallmark and touchstone

On view now at Café Mingo

    bottom of page