Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Hotchkiss School, a honored commission to paint the Head of School, Dr. Kevin Hicks

                                                       Dr. Kevin Hicks, Head of School
                                                  The Hotchkiss School,   36 x 26 oil on linen, 
                                      Collection The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Connecitcut

Your work is beautiful and flattering, and I appreciate your meticulous attention to detail, craftsmanship, and warmth….
With sincere gratitude, Kevin

Dr. Kevin M. Hicks '85
Former Head of The Hotchkiss School
 Current President
Stevenson School

Thanks so much for this great work of art...John

John P. Tuke
Chief Financial Officer
The Hotchkiss School


In April 2015, I was contacted by John Tuke, the CFO of The Hotchkiss School for a  commission to capture on canvas the current Head of School, Dr. Kevin Hicks. I was delighted and honored to have such a prestigious commission. The Hotchkiss School is one of the top preparatory schools in the Country. Both my brothers went to Hotchkiss, and I can still remember watching my brothers play soccer on many beautiful crisp colorful fall afternoons.

  I traveled to The Hotchkiss School  to meet with Dr. Hicks and to see where the portrait would hang. This opportunity would also help decide the portrait setting and composition. It was a delight to meet Dr. Hicks! He was so warm and engaging, and an attractive man with blue twinkling eyes and a easy friendly and sincere smile. Dr. Hicks earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton. He also served for 5 years,the Dean of Berkeley College at Yale University. A very accomplished young man! After my meeting with Dr. Hicks, I was given a tour of the Main building and viewed potential staging areas with the helpful Curator, Joan Baldwin. 


 The size of the oil portrait was decided, along with where the portrait would hang. Because the portrait would have a simple background, I asked if there was anything meaningful and special to Dr. Hicks that we could include, not only for composition but also to give the portrait a more personal  meaning. Joan mentioned that Dr. Hicks was  fond of a special antique chair, which has been in the school's collection for long time,( the matching desk was in Dr. Hicks' office). I thought this would be a fine  addition to the composition, see below:



I decided that the large seminar room was the best spot to pose Dr. Hicks. The lighting is wonderful, particularly  with the two walls  in the alcove (looking  out towards the front circle)  softly reflecting the morning light. Two weeks after the initial meeting, I returned to The Hotchkiss School to take the reference photos for the portrait of Dr. Hicks.


Seminar Room view from outside main building entrance

Seminar Room with  staging set up

After the photos were taken, Dr. Hicks and I reviewed together and selected the photo(s) that we thought would work best for the portrait and evoke Dr. Hicks' warm, thoughtful and spiritual nature.


Photo reference for the portrait

          Now, I am ready to get to work!


 Below are stages of the portrait development: first, blocking in the masses, then building and refining the details.

To see more of my commissioned artwork and painting, please visit: www.SusanDurkee.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

U.S Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor,  

oil on linen 40 x 30

Collection Southern District Court, New York, N.Y 


The Artist and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the unveiling of her Official portrait at the Southern District Court of New York.


In between my commissions, when I have time, I like to paint exceptional individuals who inspire me, this very often this leads to a successful outcome. For example, after finishing my portrait of former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, I was contacted by the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 7th Circuit. Now the portrait is hanging in their Judicial Conference Room in Chicago.”

Former Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens
with the Medal of Freedom
Collection U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
oil on canvas, 39 x 32

To see more paintings and portraits visit my website:


Monday, January 12, 2015

Weston Magazine Group comes to The Lobster Pot Studio

In November I was contacted by  Weston Magazine Group to feature my portraiture in their "Appraised and Approved" magazine section. What an honor! The Weston Magazine Group is a publisher of 14 upscale hyper-local regional luxury lifestyle magazines in the  metro New York, Connecticut, Long Island and New Jersey Area. The article will come out in February 2015.

Below is a copy of the article with the  enlarged text with easier reading below.


The  ability to  capture  the  unique spirit  of  an  individual on canvas is a challenge that  award-winning portrait artist Susan Boone Durkee has mastered.  Portraiture is all about  love and respect. Once that catch light is perfectly placed in the eyes, the portrait comes alive… forever becoming a cherished heirloom. There is a spiritual nature to portraiture, the more the artist is open and truthful, the more the portrait flows, almost like you're an instrument playing to capture the spirit and likeness."

Over her 25 plus years of commissioned portraiture, Susan has painted many famous individuals: Paul Newman, Mrs. Ban Ki-moon, New York Yankees legend, Mariano Rivera, former Supreme Court Judge, John Paul Stevens, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Malcolm Baldrige, and Congressman James Collins. She was recently commissioned by the prestigious preparatory school, Choate Rossemary Hall, to paint Phoebe Dey, the wife of a former headmaster.

The Dey family, along with present and future Choate generations, shall ever be the beneficiaries of your accurate and sensitive portrayal  of dear Phoebe. And the most important tribute came from your subject's first reaction to seeing her portrait, "I could not be more pleased!"   Charles F. Dey, former headmaster, Choate Rosemary Hall

A sampling of her past clients includes: UST Inc., Baylor University Medical Center, Standard Oil of CT, Johns Hopkins University, Pro Football Hall of Fame, United States Court of Appeals of the 7th Circuit, and The Cancer Research Institute.  

The  process of  commissioning a  portrait with Susan is simple, she will guide you step by step, through all the details and considerations. Susans home and studio, The Lobster Pot, is located in Redding on property once owned (and named) by Mark Twain.

To see more  artwork by Susan Boone Durkee, visit:  www.SusanDurkee.com

   Susan Boone Durkee, The Lobster Pot Studio & Gallery, 23 Mark Twain Lane, Redding, CT 06896

                                                   Studio: 203-938-2760 email:   Susan@SusanDurkee.com


To see more artwork by Susan Boone Durkee, go to: www.SusanDurkee.com