Today I introduce Suzi Zefting-Kuhn, an Artist and mentor to many other artists here in Rochester, NY, Read the wonderful article from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle:
At first glance, the portrait paintings of Suzi Zefting-Kuhn look like photographs.
This overlap between art and reality speaks not only to the talent of Zefting-Kuhn, but the path that led her to discover and embrace it.
“I was looking for something to settle my head,” says Zefting-Kuhn, of the tragic impetus that brought her to painting.
It was 1986 and her first husband, city commissioner Douglas Zefting, died suddenly at age 34 following his participation in the Lilac 10K Road Race in Rochester.
Zefting-Kuhn took a drawing class with G.A. Sheller at the Creative Workshop at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester and enjoyed it, but as a newly single mother of two young children, Brett and Lindsay, she did not have the time to devote to art.
In 2000, Zefting-Kuhn married Dr. Gary Kuhn and became the stepmother of Kim and Jeff.
Then in 2002, when Lindsay left for college, Zefting-Kuhn knew it was time to pick up her pencils and brushes again.
“I told myself, ‘I’m going to become a full-time artist,’ ” said Zefting-Kuhn, “I dove right back in.”
And dive she did — over and over again.
She started painting for hours every day and studying with artists like M. Wendy Gwirtzman and Sari Gaby.
“Once I started working full time at it my painting really improved,” said Zefting-Kuhn, who was born in Brooklyn but has lived in Penfield since her teens. “I tell every artist that if you can paint or draw every day it will really make such a difference.”
Three years ago, Zefting-Kuhn founded Main Street Artists Gallery & Studio in the Hungerford Building. In the part of the city where she was once a student, Zefting-Kuhn has now established herself as a sage.
“Suzi is a mentor and a den mother,” says studio member Kathy Lindsley, a former journalist from Brighton who wholly embraced her longtime love of painting in 2010 when she retired. “She has created and facilitates an environment where people can work, create and learn.”
Studio member Lisette Dana of Irondequoit agrees.
She was one of the original artists who joined the studio in 2010 and has seen it grow from 10 members using 1,200 square feet to 16 members with 3,300 square feet.
“Suzi is a wonderful support,” Dana says. “Since I’ve been coming here my work has improved tremendously. She’s an inspiration.”
And Zefting-Kuhn, now an award-winning portraiture and pastel artist, has been instrumental in bringing those who inspire her to the studio as well.
“Bringing national artists to Rochester has been the most rewarding thing,” says Zefting-Kuhn, who has brought internationally known artists like Mary Whyte, Robert Liberace, Frank Serrano and Susan Lyon to the studio for workshops and has lined up Steven Assael for March 2013. “Word is getting around that Rochester is the place to be for art.”
Currently Zefting-Kuhn also serves as the president of the Rochester Art Club, which was established in 1877 and is the second-oldest active art organization in the country.
She is building a body of work called Jazz Hands and hopes to eventually gain gallery representation when the series is completed. It’s a goal that with Zefting-Kuhn’s track record seems more of a when than an if.