Susan Gustafson

The vibrant, shimmering, colors of the tropical Hawaiian landscape inspire Gustafson to paint. Eleven years ago Gustafson retired from a career in dental hygiene due to a rare, progressive genetic blindness called retinitis pigmentosa. It was then that she decided to study watercolor painting. As an undergraduate she wanted to be an elementary art teacher; later, she taught art literacy in public schools while raising her children. Now, she studies art and travels with her Art Adventure group. Retirement has been a blessing for Gustafson. Her visual field is about the size of a three by five index card and her acuity is good. Pilgrim, her guide dog, enables her to move about and paint. Gustafson believes that her loss of sight “compels me to relish beauty, look intently, and imprint the spirit of the object in my mind’s eye.” Blindness generates an imaginative and whimsical interest to her compositions that she hopes her audience will enjoy.