About

Suzanne McDermott is a multi-disciplinary artist, encouraging teacher and enlightening coach sharing her songs, watercolors and experience around the world for over two decades.

After teaching drawing and watercolor for almost two decades as a creative practice and path to self-realization, I've added transformational coaching programs.

Life is the First Art offers a selections of coaching programs to help creatives and women at midlife reframe their experience, redefine themselves, and gain clarity about problems, solutions and inner resistance.

Introduced to watercolor at the age of five, I've been privately commissioned for most of my work over the past thirty-five years, have been featured in solo and group shows in Los Angeles, Sarasota, FL, Charleston and Edisto Island, SC, Petersburg and Culpeper, VA, Nashville, TN, Asheville and Raleigh, NC. My paintings are in private collections throughout the US and Europe.

I've taught my signature workshop and courses in Basic Drawing and Watercolor throughout New England, California, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Between 1993 and 2005, I recorded five critically acclaimed albums of songs and toured extensively throughout the US and Europe. My best known songs include The Roswell Incident and The 3 Dreams of J. Robert Oppenheimer. During these years, I created performance programs on song for adults and children through state and local library systems throughout New England, Illinois, Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia including Out Under the Sky on the origins and history of the Christmas carol.

Community service work includes creating and spearheading The Spirit of the Gulf Challenge, an artists response to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, founding and directing the national community drawing initiative, Drawing America, producing Big Draws in Nashville, TN, and other cities (including Asheville, NC, Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Merion, PA, and Monterey, CA) and acting as juror in the Drawing and Printmaking categories for the Scholastic Art Competition.

Additional creative work includes design partnership in a museum exhibit firm, writing and producing my original play with music at the Asolo Repertory Theater, and a visual history of Sarasota, Florida through its residential architecture for the city’s centennial, plus contributions to various world and experimental music projects.

My business and organizational experience includes staff and administrative support at MIT for the Office of the President under Charles M. Vest, for three chairs of the MIT faculty, for the MIT Media Lab Music & Physics Group, and roles as Investment Research Librarian for David H. Murdock's private holding company, as secretary to Sarah Vaughan, and as a US delegate for President Carter to the People's Republic of the Congo. Further production experience includes support for McCabe's Guitar Shop concerts and La Musica di Asolo Festivals. My work life started as a teenager for music publisher Theodore Presser Company under Arnold Broido.

I studied fine art, design, and art history at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Santa Monica College, Ringling School of Art & Design, and earned a BA in Humanities (Drama, Art and Music) from New College of Florida. I grew up within walking distance of The Barnes Foundation, where I was deeply influenced at an early age by Dr. Barnes and his collection. Throughout my teens, I was educated in itinerant folk tradition, singer songwriter form and acoustic guitar styles while perched on the narrow radiator against the back wall of The Main Point.

Raised by devout Irish Catholics and educated at private convent schools in a region forged by Quakers, my spiritual approach to the creative process is also influenced by decades of daily yoga practice, years of listening to Alan Watts, direct study with Ram Dass and Pema Chodron, over a decade of Kundalini Yoga training and Shambhala Training completed at Karma Cholling in 1994.

Photograph by Itaro Okada