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Susan Catherine Waters

(1823 - 1900)

Susan Catherine Waters was born in Binghamton, New York, on May 18, 1823. In 1841, she married William Waters, a Quaker, who encouraged her talent. She received her artistic training at a female seminary and earned her tuition at a female seminary with drawings for her natural history teacher. From 1843 through 1846, Waters painted portraits in many small towns in the southern tier of New York.

During an artistic career that spanned almost 60 years, Susan Waters created two distinctly different bodies or work. Although well-known for the innocently-rendered portraits produced at the start of her career, she later became a successful still-life and animal painter, displaying a level of proficiency rarely achieved by folk painters.

In her later years, Waters was painting in a much more proficient manner, producing highly accomplished still-lifes and animal pictures to meet the public demand for fashionable parlor ornaments, using the materials available to her in the rural areas in which she traveled. She painted on linen, cotton or mattress ticking stretched on simple butt-end strainers, and often nailed fabric loops to the upper member of the strainers to facilitate the hanging of her portraits.

Waters continued painting until the end of her life; she died on July 7, 1900.

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