Thursday, February 11, 2010

TDIPT Presents......

Suzanne Davis
Peartree Primitives

We asked Suzanne:

Where do you live?
Boise, Idaho

Can you tell us a little about your family?
My husband and I have been married for almost 23 years. Before we had our boys, I taught 5th grade while my husband completed his degree(s). We have two boys 17 and 14, both are on the autism spectrum and after a few years in traditional school, we decided that home school was a better alternative for their it allows me to stay home and paint!

Do you work outside the home?
"Home school" isn't done all at "home"....we are always running around town, so I guess I do work outside my home!

Do you have any hobbies/what do you like to do when you're not creating?
I love to read. Lately though, the books I've been reading are required reading for my boys' classes! But I usually read for pleasure before bed every night, and some books I enjoy are reference books of portraiture or early American art that may inspire my next painting.

What are some of your favorite things?
Antique shops, thrift stores, old book stores, ironstone, pewter, anything 18th/19th century.

Do you collect anything in particular?
No,.....well, maybe frames?! I look for frames that inspire my next painting....or future paintings. I'll find them in antique shops or thrift stores....I usually find too many! So, I guess that could be considered a "collection", or an "addiction"?? Not sure!

How did you get your start in your creative business? When?
When we bought our first home, it needed some "character", so I taught myself to stencil and experimented with faux painting. Friends saw our home and asked if I would help with theirs, and after awhile, that developed into a small word-of-mouth business. Eventually, I was hired by a custom home builder as a paint option for the final stages of a custom home build. After a few years of working with a corporation, I became disenchanted with the business end of things and wanted to be more "creative" than "productive". So, I started painting on canvas and selling my art through a local furniture shop in our area.Since we've moved from the area, the owner has sold her shop and I've started selling online. I've had my own online shop for about two years now.

Tell us how you got your business name?
My husband came up with the name "Pear Tree Primitives" when we were working together making primitive furnishings for the little furniture shop. I like it because it sounds "early American", and primitive to me just means "untrained"....which I am!

Is it in the genes......does anyone in your family, now or generations before create?
My Dad painted a little when I was growing up, and he enjoys woodworking. My aunt, (his sister) is a very talented artist who paints for her own enjoyment. My older son is a budding artist and really enjoys drawing and sculpting.

How do you keep ideas coming?
There are so many examples of "folk art" and primitive portraiture from the past that I am always finding new inspiration for my next painting!

Who/what inspires you?
I love trying new mediums, surfaces and techniques and this keeps me interested and inspired. The fun for me is learning how a surface responds to paint, and how well I can "try" to master it. I've recently tried my hand at painting miniature portraits, and have found it to be a lot of fun.

Do you have a studio or do you work in different parts of your home?
I have a closet where I keep most of my supplies. When I'm painting or creating, it is usually at our kitchen table.

How do you organize your supplies?
In my closet I have my supplies organized in clear plastic containers. So, when I'm ready to work with a certain medium, I can just pull out a plastic container and set it all out.

Do you like to listen to music while you work, if so what ?
My husband is the Music Director at our church, and he has his doctorate in Music (Choral Directing), so through his work and studies we've acquired quite a collection of music.But,most of the time, working quietly is nice....if I can get it!

Do you have a favorite piece of art that you've created?
My favorite piece of art is always the one I'm working on at the time!

What have you learned about marketing?
This one is difficult for me. I don't spend a lot of time on "marketing my art" right now because my main focus is to home school my boys. But, being able to join a group of sellers with a common interest, like TDIPT, has been a wonderful way learn about online business and meet customers as well.

What keeps you motivated?
Painting is a creative outlet that I truly enjoy. So, the "motivation" is in the joy of creating. It also is motivating and brings me joy when customers are pleased with their purchases. Their words of encouragement and their support motivate me to continue offering my art online. It makes me happy to know that some of my paintings are now in someone's home that appreciates the early American style as much as I do.

Do you sell you work in any shops, or will you be in any upcoming shows?
Not at this time. My work is updated the 1st of each month online, unless I add to my online website and Etsy shop during the month.

Has your work been published in any magazines? Have you received any type of awards/recognition for your work?
A few years ago when I was doing decorative painting, I received my certification in stenciling through an organization called the Stencil Artisan League, Inc. (SALI) for stenciling on walls and fabric. But most recently, I was very honored to be selected for the 2009 Holiday Directory in Early American Life magazine for my painted silhouettes.

•Do you have any tips you would like to share?
If you are "inspired" to try something creative...go for it! You never know what hidden talents you may discover in yourself. ( I might also add, don't give up after the first try! It may take some practice to see progress.)

•Tell us something about yourself that may surprise us?
After college, I traveled with a band. I was going to teach 8th grade English in my hometown, but the opportunity to sing (alto) with a Christian band called "Eternity" opened up, and I jumped on the bus! Literally! I traveled for two years with fifteen other members of the group, and I met my husband when we played at his church. He was the Youth/Music pastor and had scheduled our was "love" at first sight! :)

Thank you Suzanne, it's been fun getting to know you better and seeing you in the Spotlight!


  1. Suzanne, what a pleasure it was to read about your family and your art! I admire you for homeschooling your boys. I'm sure that must be very rewarding for you.

    Your work is simply amazing, you have a real gift for it.

    Thanks for sharing your life with us, it was fun reading about you and seeing the pictures of you and your 3 guys.


  2. Oh I just loved reading this! Your boys are as handsome as they can be, and my hat's off to you for homeschooling them - I'm a former homeschool mom myself :)
    I loved hearing about you singing, and had no idea that your hubby was the choir director at church!
    Thanks for sharing this Suzanne :)

  3. Suzanne, loved learning about your family and art. Enjoyed the pics and cant wait to see more of your minature portraits.

  4. Oh Suzanne! What a Beautiful Family you have! I too enjoyed reading about you & your life. You have an amazing talent & I will always cherish the Very Special Portrait you did for me of my Phil in one our TDIPT Christmas Swaps. It is one of my All Time Favorite pieces, along with the Beautiful Handmade Necklace you made too. Thanks so much for sharing w/ us! Hugs, Starla :)

  5. Suzanne ~ your art is wonderful, and I can say that for a fact since I am the proud owner of several pieces. :)

  6. Suzanne, I love this picture of you & your boys, They are such handsome young men.I can see where they get their good looks. Thanks for sharing your profile with us.~~Pam

  7. I've always felt a kinship with you but what an absolute delight reading more about you, Suzanne!

    You are a joy to all of us - your sweet spirit exudes in everything you do and always a bright spot in my day - thanks for sharing with us.


  8. Suzanne, your family is lovely and your work is so beautiful! What a treat to read about all of you! 23 years ~ Congratulations on a match made in heaven! Hugs-Susan

  9. Thanks everyone! And thank you, Patty, for asking me!

  10. Suzanne - I truly enjoyed ready your Spotlight. What a beautiful family you have! I admire your devotion to homeschooling your boys. You are a truly talented artist. I now own one of Lana's paper wreaths that features your fabulous artwork in the center! I absolutely love it.

  11. Suzanne, it was an absolute delight to feature you, and like the others have said, you are an amazing woman! I really enjoyed getting to know more about you. You are not only an exceptional artist and mother, but you are a doll, and your boys are wonderful and so lucky to have a mother like you!
    thanks for sharing with us.


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