by Patrick B. McGuigan
At Paseo Gallery One, Susan Cromer Yback is enjoying a fulfilling second career as a full-time artist.
Her art works and those of colleagues adorn the walls at 2927 Paseo Drive, near the southern edge of the historic Paseo Arts District. As both a painter and a clay artist, she keeps busy.
It is, to be sure, a different kind of “busy” than during her decades in education.
Yback worked as an elementary art instructor in the Putnam City system, retiring recently to go into full-time production of her own original works.
At any one time, she is working on a handful projects in both of her favored media.
Asked why she chose art as a lifetime commitment, Yback said she wanted to be an artist “ever since I was a kid.” After those years in the classroom, which were fulfilling, she now is devoted to her own work. In a recent interview at Paseo Gallery One, she reflected: “Although I love some traditional art, I like to change things up, take a different approach to presenting an image.”
Asked to name three influences on her style, she replied, “I love Henri Matise, the bright colors. And Pablo Picasso, the way he took things apart, then put them back together. And Joan Miro.”
Miro, a Spanish painter, has inspired her for “the way he employed abstraction, and his use of lines.”
During her years in the classroom, Yback participated frequently in workshops for teachers at Quartz Mountain in southwest Oklahoma. She learned or developed skills such as printmaking, “from master artists who came there from all over the United States.”
She has engaged more in clay work since coming to the Paseo earlier this year.
Susan has not really stopped teaching. She works with special needs children once a week at her home gallery, and particularly looks forward to that time. It reminds her, she told The City Sentinel, of the best work she did during her years in public education.
At the Paseo studio, Yback engages with a class of acrylic painters every week. And, at the nearby House of Clay (at N. Western Ave. and N.W. 30, just three blocks east of the Paseo) she particularly enjoys teaching the “Wine and Women” class.
Each month on First Friday (upcoming on Oct. 4) she helps to host Paseo visitors for the gallery walk. On Sept. 6, for September’s First Friday, food and wine rested on a table in the front room of the gallery, providing a welcoming environment for visitors.
Yback says, “First Friday has become a wonderful tradition for all of us who work along the Paseo, and I love it.”
Susan Cromer Yback, one of the Paseo’s creative spirits
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