mixed water media

Susan Mendenhall at work
My "JazzArt" is about simplicity; simple lines - simple patterns - simple colors - simple subjects. All to create a simple elegance. What brushstrokes bring whimsy and delight? What designs invite intrigue? What colors are the storytellers? JazzArt takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.

The process I use with watercolors is called masking. The design is created using masking fluid. When the masking has dried, the background and defining colors are painted. After the masking has been removed, white organic borders surround the design. These designs are then ‘inked’ to make the painting come alive.

With acrylics, the simple use of circles and lines prevails. In some cases, layers of colors and markings give the painting texture and dynamic. This results in many paintings, one on top of the other, each informing the next. The final painting becomes more interesting because of the many stories it holds.

Click artworks to view slide show of larger images.


  • Circles Galore
  • Trio
  • Evening Elegance

A recent discovery that has brought me delight is what I call my Sketch Portfolio. Once again, simplicity is my teacher. Circles and lines shape my design. Using only marker and paints, I find the simplest story to bring whimsy and play to the paper. JazzArt began with inspirational greeting cards. A lover of succinct quotations, I desired to make the words visible. The objective of both the words and design is to express only what is needed and nothing more.

It has been an honor to be commissioned for paintings, greeting cards and business logos. Buyers and on-lookers describe JazzArt as simple, happy, whimsical, playful, joyful, and calming. To bring these qualities into people’s lives is a privilege as an artist. If your eyes fall onto a JazzArt painting and your heart finds delight, I have done my job.

DEMONSTRATION: I will be demonstrating the masking process used in my watercolors. A fluid called masking, much like rubber cement, is applied to the paper. When the masking dries, (usually a day) the watercolors are applied to the background and the defined design created by the masking. Remove the masking leaves a white organic border around the watercolors. While this could certainly remain as a finished painting, I prefer to ink all around the design, making the painting pop.

STUDIO ACCESS: I will be working out of Rick Ross' garage located in the front of his home. Wheelchair accessible.

Credit Cards are accepted by this artist.

Susan will be exhibiting with Rick Ross at:
905 Daniel Pass, Mount Horeb, WI 53572 | 608-437-4792
Contact Susan at 608-846-2542 | | |