Local Del Norte student paints success

DEL NORTE— Del Norte is a small town, with a close-knit community that supports the arts and one local in particular has reached the top of her talents. Suzanne Reed-Fine grew up in the Del Norte area and graduated from the Del Norte High School in 1985. During her senior year, she was told by her art teacher that her talents may be too much for him to form and with permission from the art director at the time began night classes at Adams State University with local painter Steve Quiller.

During her time with Quiller at Adams State, Reed-Fine worked to perfect her craft as an artist and after high school graduation, continued her education with Quiller and other art professors at the college to achieve her bachelor’s degree in art. “Having Steve as a mentor was a huge benefit to me and I can’t thank him enough for helping to shape me as an artist,” said Reed-Fine.

Once graduating from Adams State, Reed-Fine set out on her journey to become an artist for a living. She moved to Atlanta, Ga. where she attended the Portfolio Center and learned the art of graphic design. It wasn’t until years later, when she moved to Virginia with her growing family that she decided she could finally be a full-time painter. “It was one of those moments when I realized that I could actually pursue a career as a full-time artist and it was so exciting,” said Reed-Fine.

While in Virginia, Reed-Fine began to take watercolor workshops and found herself once again under the instruction of Quiller. “After attending those workshops with Steve, everything progressed from there. I didn’t like watercolor at first. I was miserable. I just couldn’t get the paintings to come out the way I wanted them, but after a few years, I started to get the hang of it and now I really enjoy what I do. I think it was the fact that I was so used to drawing at first, but it grew on me, thanks to the direction and teaching from Steve,” said Reed-Fine.

In later years, Reed-Fine began to pay as a member of the American Watercolor Society, with the hopes that one day she would be made a signature member. After deciding to move back closer to family in Georgia, Reed-Fine finally found herself in local galleries and from there continued to get offers from other galleries around the nation. “My art is still in the C Waters Gallery in Creede. I had art featured in there ever since they were a frame shop in the owner’s garage,” she explained.

After years of hard work and dedication, Reed-Fine was offered a chance to feature her art in one of the American Watercolor Society’s shows in New York, N.Y. It was one step further towards her ultimate goal in becoming a signature member of the society. “It was really amazing. I had three more shows to do before becoming a signature member at that point. Now, I was awarded the signature member status as of last year and my next goal is to be a signature member in the National Watercolor Society. It is one of the top honors to get,” said Reed-Fine.

“Steve has been my mentor from the beginning and we still get together and do shows like the Taste of Creede every year. It is just so fun to say that Steve and I studied together,” said Reed-Fine.

She is now on her way to becoming a National Watercolor Society signature member with her first show coming in May. “That’s my next goal; we will see if I can do it.”

To see more of Reed-Fine’s work, visit www.suzannereedfine.com.

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