Artist Susan Linnell talks about her “Angel” painting for the 2017 Gianna Homes Gala


Gianna 2017 Gala

Angel Painting by Susan Linnell

Cari Doucette, Gianna Homes, Marketing Director, sat down with Susan Linnell, the artist who painted the Angel featured in the Gianna Homes 2017 Gala announcements. We spoke of what inspired her to create such a beautiful masterpiece as well as how she is connected to Gianna Homes.

Cari Doucette: What is your background/training in art and painting and what inspired you begin?

Susan Linnell: I was inspired by visiting factories in Limoges but that is when I began porcelain classes.  I was 30 years old when I began. I started watercolors when I retired from teaching.  I was doing both forms of art porcelain and watercolor but eventually moved into mostly watercolors, which I really enjoy.  I began painting angels just a few years ago along with my animal portraits and scenes from Europe.  This particular angel was one of the first I chose to try in watercolor. I took porcelain painting from several artists in our Guild but about 10 years ago began taking lessons with Mary Ellen who had set up a beautiful studio on her property near St. Francis, MN.   It was such a joy for me to finally take exclusively from her, as her reputation in the world of Porcelain Artists is renowned.  We reconnected and became friends, which we remain to this day.

CD: What inspired you to paint angels?

SL:  I am very into my faith and have always loved angels.  I go to Europe a lot and started photographing angels in France and Italy, they were so beautiful.  I would then make cards and they were so well received by family and friends so I wanted to start painting them.  That was what inspired me to take watercolor classes and turn my photographs into watercolor creations.

CD: Is there a meaning behind your angel paintings?

SL: My love for angels

CDWe are so grateful that you have shared with us your watercolor painting of the angel for our Gala invitation this year. Can you share with me the story behind this painting?

SL:  I had been to St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Italy and had photographed the angels there many times.  Several people commented on the angels from St. Mark’s so I decided to take the photo and do a watercolor of the angels there.  I have taken seminars in Europe specifically for watercolor as well.

CDIt seems that the Angels Among us theme for our Gala this year fits who you are as a person. You have a more personal connection with Gianna over the past few months would you like to share with us that story?

SL:  I am a very dear friend of Anne Marie Hansen’s, which is how I knew of Gianna Homes.  When I found out my friend Mary Ellen needed a home to stay in after her husband passed, I immediately thought of Anne Marie because of her homes for people with dementia. Her husband, on his deathbed, wanted to make sure Mary Ellen would be in a good place.  My mother also suffered from dementia for 10 years so I understand first had the illness.  It would have been my dream for my mom to have been at Gianna Homes.  Mary Ellen is a very gracious, classy woman who I know from the porcelain guild that she and I both belonged to. She is very well known and has written several books on a variety of art with many of them published in different languages including Spanish and Portuguese.  Mary Ellen’s work as an artist is above and beyond anyone I know.  I told Mary Ellen’s husband that I had the perfect place for her to live and that she would be well taken care of.  It was his dying wish.  She moved into Gianna Homes a few months ago and is doing beautifully.

CD: So Mary Ellen inspired and taught you as an artist? What was that like?

SL:  Taking lessons from someone on her level was a privilege because she absolutely is the premier porcelain painter in Minnesota. She is a brilliant woman.

Mary Ellen and Susan Linnell