Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 25, 2012

Former resident is watercolorist

Pat Smith
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Sue Ann Lee and partner Rick Hum were in town a couple of weeks ago to help celebrate the engagement of son Grady Bass to Natosha Guy.

She didn’t forget her friends though. Here only a few days, she managed to find time to invite a few friends for a casual get together.

We were all so glad to see Sue Ann and Rick that we didn’t notice Gloria Austin was looking a bit “pillowy.” It turned out she had on a dozen or so t-shirts that she took off one at a time until the last one, of course.  The t-shirts, the oldest being Grease from 1984, told the story of Sue Ann’s directing, acting and producing plays with Tree County Players. Her current passion for painting may have its roots in doing make-up for the theater group, where she created startling special effects with liquid latex, colorful grease sticks, and assorted other tools.

I asked that she bring a few of her watercolors for us to see. She’s even doing portraits. Typical of Sue Ann, she said, “I didn’t know they were supposed to be difficult so I just started doing them” The ones I saw were extraordinary. Her friends have taken it for granted that she would become recognized for her work. Why? If you didn’t have the opportunity to get to know her while she lived here, let me tell you about Sue Ann Lee...

Graduate of North Decatur, she spent a few years in New York with the Long Island Gateway Playhouse Summer Stock Theater group, well known for its workshops which included classes, rehearsals and performances.

Returning to her Hoosier roots she started working at WTRE and soon named news director of the station. Then we experienced the Blizzard of 1978. No one could get anywhere for any reason but – the impossible has never stopped Sue Ann.

Sue Ann was brought from her home on Fourth Street to the WTRE Radio Station on Park Road on a big old snow plow. The Greensburg Optimist Club awarded her with a special award after her work during that blizzard. Mayor Jim Ryle also named a day “Sue Ann Lee Day,” in honor of her help to residents during the storm.

She was one of two women to participate in the Fourth Annual Wheel Horse Indianapolist two and a half mile race that marked the opening of the Indianapolis Speedway month. It’s the first time women were featured in any motorized race at the Speedway. She finished seventh.

She left Greensburg to work at Disneyworld, and was there for 15 years until moving to Colorado to become manager of private events at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Nearly every foot of the Gardens is filled with colorful, wondrous beauty. She had plenty of inspiration for her love of art.

She’s been drawing all her life and painting (in acrylics) since high school. As a matter of fact, she won first place in the Safety Poster Contest one year. She did her first mural in the mid 70’s, been doing wood burning and painting furniture for years when she started her faux finish business in 2004. ( She took a watercolor class, just to be able to do small renderings to show clients her murals. She fell in love with the medium.

She’s visited France twice, once with her mother and sister and the second time with a childhood friend. During the second visit to Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France she had the amazing experience of painting in the famous garden.  That’s when she had a life changing moment. She started the business called “My Art Trip.” ( Art Trip). Sue Ann said, “Monet loved gardening. In fact, he may have loved it even more than painting. Some believe that his beautiful garden is what made him want to become a painter.”

She said she started the business so art lovers, regardless of ability, could paint in various locations in the world. At present, trips are planned in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and a spring trip to paint in Monet’s Garden in Giverny.

If you have a computer and would like to see other works by Sue Ann go to Sweet Surrender Arts at Artist or one of the previous sites given above.  If you don’t have a computer you can see the sites at the library. They will give you help there. The three sites given will give you an idea of her artwork. Her friends are saying, “Way to go Sue Ann!”