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Local womans artwork at home in the Capitol building
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Several of Susan White’s paintings as well as her mother’s decorate a guest room at her Gainesville home May 19. White’s mother was a artist who used various mediums for her work. - photo by Erin O. Smith

With paintings in every single room of her Gainesville home, local artist Susan White is missing one painting. It is a painting of her husband and granddaughter kayaking on Lake Lanier. Currently the painting is hanging on the state Capitol’s wall.

“It truly is an honor,” White said.

White, along with several other chosen artists, met Gov. Nathan Deal and received a signed photograph with him.

“Paintings were brought in and judged by a panel and then Gov. Deal had the final say so,” the artist said.

Always having a fervor to paint, White started using watercolors as her medium of choice.

“Watercolors, I could never get to perfection,” she said. “And oils are so forgiving and you can go so many other places with them.”

Wanting to learn more, White found a workshop in Atlanta to expand her painting abilities.

“If you want to learn something new, take lessons and enjoy the process of creating,” the grandmother of five said. “There are so many talented people willing to share their knowledge with you.”

White’s instructor guided her through the basics and wouldn’t allow her to do her first oil painting until after she completed a charcoal drawing and still-image painting.

“Painting is an art that opens the world to you in ways that awakens the beauty of this world that we have been given,” she said.

Living in Gainesville since 2004, White fills not only her Harbour Point  walls with her paintings, but fills her three grown children’s homes as well.

“I love giving my paintings to my children, they have a lot of paintings too,” the painter said. “To me that brings a lot of joy to know they have paintings.”

Starting her life in Dallas, Texas, White enjoys plastering oils on canvas resembling her family and travels. Her travels include France, Nova Scotia, Maine, North Carolina, Southern Georgia, China, Australia, Texas and Mexico.

“The paintings are a photograph,” the Gainesville woman said. “I may change it a little bit to make it work as a painting, but it is something that I want to remember.”

Not slaving over her paintings, White enjoys painting when she wants to paint.

“My easel is empty, as of now,” she said.

Along with painting, White enjoys quilting, dyeing silk scarves and making bags and turbans for cancer patients.

Seeing her mother suffer through breast cancer and losing her hair, White wanted to give women a better alternative than wearing asmothering wig, she said.

Recruiting other women within her neighborhood, White started Sew Soul Sisters in 2007, and has given more than 3,500 turbans to Longstreet Clinic and Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

“It’s never about her,” said Longstreet Clinic oncology front office assistant Kristi Mullinax. “It’s about what she can give others.”

Mullinax is pleased to know White is so humble and wishes to keep her name secret from those who receive a turban.

But, White has other secrets. Knowing her for almost a year, Mullinax never knew White was an artist.

“That makes her even more special,” Mullinax said. “That shows her heart and how good she is.”

White keeps her paintings out of exhibits, and does not sell them.

If you wish to see at least one painting by White, she said you will have to visit the Capitol within the next six months.

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