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“Painting is an expression of my soul and is reflected in the liveliness of my pictures.”

Susanne Witzig: Painting Beyond Boundaries

Susanne Witzig‘s journey into the world of art is not a typical one; it’s a vivid saga of resilience and self-discovery. Born in 1971 in the former GDR, her childhood was a constant struggle against a repressive regime that failed to nurture her budding talents. Her early years were marked by a unique perception of color, which set her apart from her peers and often brought her criticism rather than praise. This unconventional color sense was evident when she mixed her own shades to better express her emotions through art, often resulting in punishment rather than encouragement in her school’s art classes.

The difficulties of her early life, compounded by a chronic illness diagnosed at just 12, imposed severe limitations on her, stifling her emotional expression and pushing her towards a conventional career path. Despite these challenges, Witzig’s innate passion for art refused to be silenced. Her career as a legal and notary assistant was punctuated by excessive workloads that eventually led to burnout, but these breakdowns also steered her back to her first love: painting. The introduction to art therapy during a critical recovery period was a turning point, providing her a way back to a somewhat normal life, though she initially resisted the emotional release that painting required.

Susanne Witzig: A Colorful Resurgence

2015 marked a significant turning point for Witzig. A severe physical decline left her largely dependent on a wheelchair, but instead of viewing it as an end, she started seeing it as a new beginning. Her eventual total collapse in 2022 became a crucial catalyst for change, prompting her to re-evaluate her life and embrace her artistic calling fully. She resumed painting, this time allowing her feelings to flow freely into her work, resulting in vibrant, abstract expressions that resonated with deep emotional authenticity. This newfound freedom in art allowed Witzig to reconnect with her soul, recognizing that her true fulfillment lay not in the rote tasks of office life but in the boundless realms of creative expression.

The style that Witzig developed is both unique and compelling, characterized by the use of bright, intense colors that illustrate the chaos and passion within her. Each canvas is a battle, a dialogue between her inner turmoil and the peace she seeks to find. Art historian Elvira Meisel-Kemper describes her style as abstract, expressive, and constructive, highlighting her distinctive approach to combining vivid backgrounds with geometric shapes that bring order to the emotional intensity represented by her colors. This process is not just about creating art but is a therapeutic ritual that helps her manage the emotional and physical challenges posed by her chronic condition.

The Therapeutic Canvas: Susanne Witzig’s Artistic Process

Susanne Witzig’s artistic process is an intimate dance between her emotions and the canvas, where each brushstroke brings her closer to inner peace. The genesis of her works begins with choosing the right colors—this selection isn’t merely aesthetic but an emotional undertaking, where multiple shades are mixed to perfectly capture her internal state. This meticulous process can take hours, during which Witzig delves deep into her feelings, stirring up the inner chaos to bring it forth onto the canvas. This initial phase is crucial, as it sets the emotional tone of the artwork, with backgrounds that are often alive with vibrant, almost neon, colors.

Once the emotional groundwork is laid, the physical exertion of her process takes its toll. Due to her health issues, each session at the canvas is a feat of endurance, requiring breaks that allow both the paint to dry and her body to recover. This pause is as much a part of her artistic method as the painting itself; it allows her to step back and return with renewed perspective. The subsequent layers involve more detailed work, employing acrylic sprays and pens to add depth and structure to the chaotic underpainting. The geometric shapes that emerge are not random but are carefully crafted to bring balance and harmony to the vivid expressions of her psyche, turning tumult into tranquility.

Susanne Witzig: Echoes of the Soul in Color

In her studio, a sanctuary of light and color, Susanne Witzig creates more than art; she creates experiences. This space is tailored to her needs, equipped with tools that accommodate her physical limitations and enhance her artistic expression. Her wheelchair is not just a mobility aid but an integral part of her artistic equipment, allowing her to navigate around large canvases and immerse herself fully in her work. The presence of natural light is critical, illuminating her studio and ensuring that the true vibrancy of her colors shines through, as artificial light dims her creativity.

Witzig’s companions in this creative journey are her three kittens, whom she describes as her muses. They provide comfort and company, lying beside her as she navigates her emotional landscapes through her paintings. Music also plays a pivotal role in her creative process, with her choices ranging from the classical tones of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to the pulsing beats of electronic music, reflecting the emotional spectrum that she traverses in her work. Her workspace is a microcosm of her world, where every element is carefully curated to foster the creativity and resilience that define her artistry. Here, Witzig is not just making art; she is engaging in a profound act of self-healing, using her canvases not only to explore her identity and struggles but also to communicate with the world in vibrant color and form.

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