Susan Tuttle is the author of Photo Craft: Creative mixed Media Approaches to Transforming Your Photographs (co-written with Christy Hydeck) and two previous North Light books, Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop Elements and Exhibition 36: Mixed-Media Demonstrations and Explorations. She is a photographer and an online digital art and photography instructor who resides in a small, rural town in the state of Maine with her husband and two children. In addition to authoring her own books, Susan is a contributor in various North Light publications, including Jenny Doh’s Art Saves and Liz Lamoreux’s Inner Excavation. Her work has appeared in numerous issues of Stampington & Company publications, including Somerset Studio. Visit Susan’s website, SusanTuttlePhotography.com, to learn more about Susan and her art and for great tips and advice on photography and more. (You’ll also find Susan on Instagram — search username ILKASATTICDOTCOM.)
In this artist profile, photographer and artist Susan offers us a peak into her life and work — Enjoy! (Perhaps with a cup of tea!)
What kind of art are you known for?
DSLR Photography, iPhoneography, and photo-editing and creating digital art with Photoshop.
What is on your workspace right now?
My workspace basically consists of three pieces of technology: a large-screen iMac, keyboard, and a Wacom graphics tablet and pen – nothing very exciting. But I do love the simplicity of it and the ease with which I can “clean up” a virtual mess in my Photoshop workspace – click, click, done! Of course I do keep a few personal items nearby for inspiration, like drawings from my children, photos of my family, and small gifts I’ve received from art friends over the years. I work on editing photos almost daily. My most recent batch is of my family toasting marshmallows over a bonfire in the snow, sledding, and sipping hot cocoa.
Why do you make art?
I make art because I must. Creating art, sharing my work, and teaching the skills and techniques I know are all a part of my soul. I must create every single day. If too much time goes by without making something, I begin to feel off-center, like a part of me is missing.
What’s your current favorite, can’t-live-without-it tool, supply, material, or junkyard find?
I can’t live without my Wacom graphics tablet and pen. I not only use it with Photoshop to manipulate photos and create digital art that requires fine detail and often repetitive work, but, I also use it instead of a mouse any time I use the computer. I have tendonitis from practicing my flute for eight hours a day in music school in my twenties, and ulnar neuritis in my right arm and wrist which I developed from an ergonomically incorrect workstation (I now have a correct one custom-designed especially for my body). Once you are afflicted with these problems you can only prevent and control inflammations, you can’t make them go away. The graphics tablet is such a saving grace!
What’s your favorite tool or material?
I am a lover of photos awash with light! One of my favorite Photoshop features is the Gradient Light Fill, which I use to enhance the natural light already present in my photographs. It helps me create a dreamy look.
What do you listen to when you create?
Current favs include Bon Iver, Patrick Watson, Apocalyptica, Iron and Wine, Message to Bears, Nils Frahm, Andrew Belle, Snow Patrol, and Lhasa De Sela
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
I have read three stellar books lately: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (read this in the Fall), and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (read this in the Winter).
What’s the most inspiring trip you’ve ever taken or adventure you’ve ever had?
I have two! In my early twenties I backpacked by myself throughout the UK. It was a real coming of age, coming into my own skin kind of trip (the pinecone in the photo below, Home, was given to me by an older gentleman in Llanberis, Wales, to remember my trip by. I have held onto it and kept it safe for 17 years). My second trip was with my soulmate, my husband Howie. We went to Paris one summer before being blessed with our children, and spent our time taking in the romance of the place – the art, beautiful architecture, and gardens. We spent endless hours sitting at outdoor cafes, slowly tasting and enjoying our food, people watching, and talking late into the night.
What’s the last thing you cooked?
If you could surround yourself with only one color, what would it be?
What’s your favorite place in all the world?
What’s one thing you want to do that you haven’t done yet?
I would like to live in a foreign country for an extended period of time with my family.
What’s the best day you’ve ever had?
My wedding day!
What’s today’s Word to Live By?
What is your guilty pleasure?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I already have one, but I can’t say what it is or else the magic will be gone.:)
With whom would you love to spend one day making art?
When is your favorite time of day?
I don’t have a favorite time of day. Instead, I like to watch the light change throughout the day and observe how it plays upon objects and living, breathing things. In the summer the light is high, strong, and bright. In the winter it barely crests the tops of the pines outside my window, casting mellow golden light upon the floor of the forest. There is so much to see. So much to learn. I love that.
What is your earliest memory?
Being pushed in my carriage up a gravelly, dirt road in the sunlight. I heard a chickadee sing for the first time – “Phoe-be.”
What was your first job?
I worked at the Bagelsmith in Califon, NJ. After college I became an elementary school music teacher.
What’s your one favorite material thing?
My wedding ring.
What’s your best piece of advice for artists?
Always be yourself, no matter what.
Tell us a bit about what we can expect when we visit your website.
In addition to my photography work, I loves a good DIY project! Not only will you find my photography and iPhoneography on my website and blog, but you will also find lots of stepped-out DIY projects, thrifty fashion ideas, recipes, and gardening tips. I aim to present all of these projects with the most beautiful images I can muster, as large as my blog width will allow for! Eye-candy just for you!
More about Susan:
Susan’s iPhoneography work has received numerous awards and recognitions. One of her latest iPhoneography pieces, her bare feet made an endless chain of prints, was featured in a curated mobile art exhibit at Unit24 Gallery in London, December 2012.
Susan’s blog was also recently featured on derStandard.at, Austria’s leading online news platform.
Susan is an avid flower and vegetable gardener.
(All photos in this cube are courtesy of and copyright by Susan Tuttle.)