Art for the Mind and Body

Beth Surdut

Listening to ravens, paddling with alligators

Artist Type: Illustrator, Mixed-Media, Painter, Textile

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Contact: Beth Surdut at (978) 793-1062


As an artist and writer, I dip into a palette of personal experiences infused with the color and romance of world cultures.  My paintings, illustrations, and textiles are shown and collected internationally.

Three years ago, Raven, Bringer of Magic, called me to the high desert of New Mexico, where I fell in love with the layered palette of the American West and  began the current  series  Listening to Raven-Drawings, Myths & Realities.Whether at the giant formations of Tent Rocks, the dancing sculptures of the Bisti badlands, or the pungent local dumpster, Raven shows himself to me. For three weeks, a lone raven even watched me draw every day as I prepared to leave Florida, whereI spent the best part of three years canoeing with alligators on the wild Myakka River. I earned the nickname "Gator Girl" and created a series of luminous paintings on silk and stories called Enigmatic Paradise.

My enthusiasm, coupled with my art that scientists, wildlife rehabilitators, and collectors generously  say  are  among the  most distinctive they’ve  seen, attracts people to tell me  their personal stories of clever corvid behavior and tales of spirit, death, healing, and guidance.

Noted for combining rich jewel tones and fluid movementduring a 10-year career designing architectural art glass in the Washington, D.C. area, I garnered private and public commissions, including 24 windows in a Middle Eastern palace. A stained glass project for a Key West, Florida hotel introduced tropical forms. When I developing a personal style of painting on silk with dyes and resist, the ensuing wearable art, first featured in TheWashington Post, was soon exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution.  Explorations in Indonesia, the West Indies and Australia, and six years residing in Hawaii fostered large-scale silk paintings, and extensive textile and product design. I now  create  prayer  shawls and healing scarves.

Commissions include designing Celtic motifs for fashion icon Mary McFadden, and shaping product identity for Hawaiian resorts. Honolulu Magazineand other island media featured my paintings on covers. In 2007, the City of Sarasota presented my painting Come Walk With Meto the official mayoral delegation from Vladimir, Russia. The piece hangs in a Vladimir public building.

Numerous periodicals have written about or feature my artwork and writing. The painted cape Power without Sacrifice appeared in the Cahoon Museum of American Artand the New Zealand Wearable Art Awards;wearable art at the DeCordova Museum in Massachusetts. The American Textile History Museum exhibited my hand-painted silk men’s Ultimate Aloha Shirts™ in 2004, commissioning me to design a comprehensive exhibit of Hawaiian shirts.Surdut Tropical Table Linen Collection™ debuted in 2004 at major museums and Bloomingdale’s.

Relief and other service organizationsutilize my images for fundraisers for animal rights, and victims of war and natural disasters.

As a journalist and commentator for print, radio, and cyberspace, I've covered the gamut from sewers to senators, beekeepers to Buddhists, and countless profiles celebrating creative spirits. National Public Radioaired my essays on issues including ethnic diversity after 9/11 and a six-part series on the business of art. Projects involving art, writing and oral history have received multiple grant support, notably from the Massachusetts Cultural Counciland Harvard Historical Society.