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Paint Nights Get "Luckee"
Local artist Suzee C. White inspires others through paint night parties and gets to do what she loves in the process.
Suzee C. White has been successfully selling her original artwork for many years, but now she is helping to put paintbrushes in others’ hands by adding a new aspect to her business. The popularity of painting parties, where friends gather to individually re-create an agreed upon composition, has exploded in the region; but Suzee has come up with a clever spin on the trend. Instead of just meeting at a restaurant, church, or business, she will also come to your home to host the party. “I’m kind of like the Tupperware lady of paint nights ’cause I come to the home,” Suzee says.
When she announced her availability for parties last summer, business immediately exploded with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening parties, which are booked about a month in advance all over the area including in Waynesboro, Pa., Frederick, and Hagerstown. Because they are hosted in homes, the atmosphere is »
usually very laid back. Friends and/or family can talk, laugh, bring food, and take as many breaks as needed. “I love the fact that people are really into creating their own art and getting into the creation mode,” Suzee says.
No Experience Necessary
Having aced art classes in school isn’t a necessity to paint. Some of Suzee’s clients have never picked up a paintbrush as an adult. She walks participants through the process step-by-step. Some are still apprehensive at first, but she tells them, ”You need to just let it go and just do what you feel. Just get in there. What you think a tree looks like is not going to be what the person painting next to you thinks a tree looks like, so each time it is different. Every person’s painting is always completely different and I love that.”
Each group gets to choose what painting they would like to create, but Suzee has noticed “as the seasons change, what people want to paint changes.” Sunsets, palm trees, and beach scenes dominated summer months; pumpkins and falling leaves were popular in the fall; and a snowman in a snow-covered field was created in the winter months. But Suzee is open to all types of canvas creations. “I’m willing to do whatever because it is so cool to me just to bring what I am doing to other people in such a different way,” she says. “I love art and I love to be around people so it kind of mixes the two things together. It’s not even like work to me.”
Growing up, Suzee says she would paint all the time, but moved toward writing as a creative outlet in college where she majored in English. Later, while working at the small, independent retailer Hands of Time in Savage, she reignited her love of art because the owner often hosted events for local artists. Little by little, she began creating her own work and decided to start her business, Luckee Art: The Art of Suzee C. White, in 2009.
The word Luckee is a play off the spelling of her first name, but is also representative of her desire to convey to others how blessed she feels about her current life. After her father and grandmother passed away the same year, Suzee went through a tough emotional period where she wore all black and had a negative outlook. She reached a point where she decided to change her life around. “I feel very lucky to be alive,” she says. “To be able to work and do the work that I love…I think that’s what really brought about the name Luckee Art.”
Suzee creates original paintings, but her brush has reimagined many every-day objects including ornaments and wine glasses. “Anything that you can think of that I could paint — if somebody has something they want done — I’m going to try to figure out how to do it,” she says.
Making Ends Meet
Suzee has also co-owned Outback Primitives with her wife for several years. The business is more craft-based featuring special orders, candles, and tarts. They take Outback to area craft shows, while Luckee Art can be found at art events. Both get lots of orders through word of mouth, social media, and the online marketplace Etsy. She can also often be found at The Downtown Movement’s monthly Pop-up Shop event or through her website, www.suzeecwhiteart.com.
“I love art and I love to be around people so it kind of mixes the two things together. It’s not even like work to me.”
suzee c. white, owner, luckee art
Hagerstown resident Kathy Bohrer first met Suzee at Cracker Barrel where Suzee works part-time as a server. “We just fell for her personality,” she says. “She’s just a wonderful, caring young lady. A beautiful spirit.” Kathy has since bought several paintings from her and signs from Outback. She also did one of Suzee’s paint nights during a pop-up shop event. “I am a horrible, horrible, horrible painter,” Kathy says. “I’m sacred to death to paint.” But after completing a paint night where she created a snowman, “I actually feel good about it. She made me feel very good about it. She is very helpful with everybody.” The painting now hangs in her bathroom.
Summer Walker found Suzee on Facebook and asked her to do a paint night for her and some women from her church. Hosting the event at Maloo’s Pub in Hagerstown, the group picked an empowerment painting with the words “I AM ...” and completed the sentence with what they believed they were and a woman with her hands lifted into the air.
Summer, a Hagerstown resident, had never painted before. “It’s one of those things where you go in it thinking you can’t do it, you know, because you look at the picture and you get intimidated. But Suzee is really good with breaking everything down,” she says. “Suzee is just really patient and she is very creative. She helped us create these really beautiful pictures that we would never have imagined we could make.” Summer’s painting now hangs in a stairwell in her home.
The experience has even inspired Summer to take up painting as a hobby. “I’m all in,” she says. “I went and got easels and everything. I’ve started painting in my house. ...It’s such a relaxing thing. It was a great experience. If someone hasn’t done it already, they definitely should try it.”
This year, Suzee plans on introducing new ideas into her paint nights including themes like Disney and Star Wars and a Pass the Paint event where friends rotate canvases and paint a portion on each. “I have a lot of things in my head that I really want to make a reality,” Suzee says. “I’m always excited to create. I’m always excited to make something new.”