The Story Behind Benediction

I decided to use this journal as an opportunity to tell the stories behind some of my artwork. It is only fitting that I start with the story of my most well known series of paintings titled ‘Benediction’.

In 1989 I was working as an independent artist at Accent Graphics/Phoenix Art Press /aka Phoenix Art Group. For a couple of years I hand-painted etchings for the design market. Those were the good-old-days at PAG. I’m sure more of the PAG story will emerge along the way. It was about 1994, I was getting bored and the owners of PAG, John Cline and Joseph Gracia asked me what would make me happy. I said I wanted to paint my own original work instead of hand coloring other people’s art. I guess this is where I got my big chance in the art world, and I will always be grateful to those two guys. They said, okay Susan, you paint whatever you want, one day a week, and we’ll give you $100 for what you produce. That’s a pretty good deal, not many people want to pay an artist to develop their style.

I knew I wanted to paint the figure ever since I attended California College of the Arts in the 70s where I studied anatomy and figure drawing. Some of my influences were Modigliani, Lempika and Picasso. I loved art deco and wanted the figures in my work to be contemplative and sensual.

In 1995 the image of Benediction was selected for use on the High Point Brochure.  High Point is the big show every year for the home furnishings industry in North Carolina. She was also featured that year at Art Expo at the Jacob Javitz Center in NYC.

Phoenix Art Group needed to be able to reproduce her. Most artists would opt for giclee’ prints or serigraphs, but because I use imported papers, composition leaf and various materials to build up the surface, I chose to recreate her as a series of originals. She was 44″ high by 30″ wide and I painted her image over 200 times. I’m not catholic, but she was almost like saying a prayer or a hail Mary, every time I painted her. In 1996 at the first Inizio of Phoenix Art Group I demonstrated my painting technique of Benediction.

In about 1996 she was turned into a poster by Grand Image and sold, I have no idea how many, thousands of posters, world wide. That poster is now out of print. I was approached by the University of Toronto Press and she was used for a beautiful book jacket for a book by Marie Carriere titled ‘Writing in the Feminine in French and English Canada“.  Lastly, my little Benediction has been out there in the world as a greeting card, published by Canadian Art Prints.

It’s interesting to see how an image gets used. I know many people loved her and that makes me happy. I left Phoenix Art Group in 1996 when I moved to New York City. This is the only series of this size (200 +) that I ever did. I may do a series of 5, but more likely I paint one painting at a time.                     Yours truly, Susan Krieg.

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About kriegart

I am Susan Krieg, Mixed Media Artist, since 1989 when I first started working as a water colorist for Accent Graphics. I've lived on the West Coast, the East Coast, the Midwest and the Southwest, and currently in rural Virginia. I studied art at Cal College of the Arts in SF and The Art Students League in NYC. I am influenced by Modigiliani, Picasso, Lempicka, Dunand and a million other things.
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12 Responses to The Story Behind Benediction

  1. shari Armbrust says:

    Your first is still one of your very best. I’ve seen her in many art galleries & stores along the way. It’s been so interesting seeing your work develop over the years and it’s nice knowing the story behind them.

    Shari

  2. Shari says:

    Your first work is still one of your best & I’ve run across it in art galleries more than once. It’s been a pleasure to watch your art & style develop over the years. Knowing the stories behind them make them even more special.

    Shari

  3. Ed says:

    I remember your days in Phoenix. I remember the many trips I made there on business and visiting with you when there.

  4. Carole Segal says:

    Hi Susan, I remember “Benediction” well. When you moved to the big apple, you sent me a postcard of Benediction, I contacted you, and fast forward to the workshops in Montreal…..I still have that postcard. Carole

  5. Robert says:

    One of the coolest paintings that I have ever seen.

  6. Ronda B. says:

    Dear Ms. Krieg, I am in posession of the lovely, and to me extremely emotive, piece Benediction. In apprx. 2005 I found her in a Levitz furniture store (in San Joaquin County California), framed nicely, surrouned by matte papers, two colors, two levels and glass enclosed. The sticker on the back states it came from Gerard Wall Art of Canada. To my understanding Gerard Art is who did the framing. I know nothing of art other than I am very aware of what moves me and to her I was not only drawn but completely taken aback. She was me and I was her.
    I stood gazing at her eyes and expression for I don’t know how long. Finally I snapped out of it and purchased her for $300 apprx. It’s probably the most anyone has ever paid for what I know believe to be a poster.

    Sadly my son broke the glass and scratched the piece. I was going to get her restored but after research and finding the artist, which btw I’m so glad I did and it wasn’t an easy thing to do_ I had to do a reverse image search then went from there. 🙂 I guess I cannot get a poster fixed and it saddens me because I love her so dearly. At least the store sold me a piece of the same dimensions you stated your originals were done. You said you enjoyed stories of other people’s pespectives of your work and considering I found her not long after I was told I was going to be partially diabled for life from a spine injury, she was a fantastic find as her expression encompassed mine so entirely.

    Anywho, scratches or not, Benediction remains in my home and heart forever and I wanted to say thank you for your creation; she’s perfect.

    • kriegart says:

      Dear Ronda, thank you for sharing your extremely touching story of sadness and happiness. I think your story expresses the human condition, our strengths and our frailties, our emotional ties and our physical limits, and so much more. I’m sorry your poster got scratched. I guess now it has even more character and story. That image was discontinued as a poster, but sometimes you can find it on ebay, in case you ever want to try and replace it. I wish I had one to send to you. I do enjoy hearing other people’s stories and learning how we are now connected. It’s a gift from you to me. Thank you.
      Susan Krieg

  7. Dear Susan,
    I love my Benediction. I express how much it means to me in this youtube video.

    Thank you for making such beautiful art!
    sending love,
    Mary Kay

    • kriegart says:

      Thanks for sending your youtube video. That was cool! I have my story behind my paintings, but I’m always touched and fascinated by the stories that my patrons tell me, about why they were drawn to a particular image.

  8. godsgranny says:

    Good Morning, I have a client requesting the print “Benediction”. Please advise me about availability. Can anyone direct me in acquiring this print?

    • kriegart says:

      ‘Benediction’ was extremely popular and unfortunately discontinued by ‘Grand Image’. I think I have several ‘Harmony’ prints available. She was the companion piece to ‘Benediction’. I will follow up, with an image, in an email to you.

      • godsgranny says:

        Wonderful, please send the email in regards to Haromny’ . Thank You
        Also, does anyone out there have a connection to purchasing the print Benediction?

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