As artist Suzi Dobbelaere sees it, there’s no end to creativity.
When she spies a stick, it might become a giraffe walking cane with the addition of some acrylic paint. When she looks at driftwood, she can see that it’s destined to become a bird in flight, a creature perched on a log or perhaps even an alligator. Scraps of fabric become beautiful tapestries or stuffed imaginary creatures and even some gourds she grew will soon be transformed.
Dobbelaere submits pieces each month to the rotating art gallery at Tallgrass Creek Senior Living Community in Overland Park, Kan., much to her fellow residents’ delight. The theme for the gallery changes each month. Sometimes she displays old pieces of her work, particularly from her time at Hallmark Cards when she was working in black and colored inks, gouache and oil on canvas. But she’s also shared her newer work.
While she’s always loved animals as well as elements of ancient and indigenous art, color and design, Dobbelaere’s artistic exploration took a new direction as she began incorporating wood into her pieces after moving to Tallgrass Creek in 2017.
“I have always had a love to work dimensionally and not just flat,” she explained. “Wood boards, driftwood, tree branches all gave me the opportunity to have fun with something other than paper and canvas.”
During the COVID lockdown, she assembled intricately-crafted and brightly-painted creatures into an 8.5-foot totem, which now hangs on the wall of her apartment. A smaller totem came to life in 2022 and spent some time in the Tallgrass Creek gallery.
“Once I start, it is hard to stop adding more parts to whatever I am making. It just continues to evolve. It is difficult to stop thinking and creating more additions.”
Dobbelaere seems to always have a new idea in the works.
“I enjoy creating as it really is endless.”