Susan Hertel’s art embodies what is marvelous in the mundane experiences of life. In her paintings and poems Hertel pictures a state of mind that finds joy and serenity in daily rituals, in the simple pleasures of work, and the quite moments in between them. Her art centers on the people, creatures, and places she most intimately knew: her five children, a menagerie of animals-including horses, dogs, cats, and goats- and her ranches in Glendora, California, and Cerrillos, New Mexico. In her paintings she gave a dignity to these humble characters and places and transformed the prosaic activities of daily life into poetic images transfixed by memory.
Hertel’s art is extraordinary for the constancy and consistency of its themes and the profound serenity of its vision. ‘’Shape and placement are what I ‘m most interested in,’’ she recalled, ‘’how forms interrelate.” Fundamentally, there is stillness at the center of her work that echoes still life. Moreover, throughout her work, people do not have priority over animals. ‘’ I just don’t want any figure to dominate. It’s a feeling of being part of the universe: Equal weight in every element.’’ The source of her prodigious energy was her spiritual approach to life and art.
Her many exhibits include: Elaine Horwitch Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Long Beach Museum of Long Beach, CA, Pasadena Museum of Art, and Pasadena, CA.