Adversity becomes artistry


Sue Anderson traveled a hard road before bringing her award-winning artistic talents to Encampment. Severe head and neck injuries resulting from a car accident in 2010 forced her to end a 20-plus-year career in nursing.

The loss of her job meant living on a Social Security disability payment. She couldn't afford the mortgage on her house.

To add to her woes, she has a violent ex-husband with a history of physical abuse who began stalking her and vandalizing her property. The police were of no help in ensuring her safety.

In December of 2013 after not seeing her sister in 20 years, Riverside resident Kim MacDonald decided she didn't like the way Anderson had to live and feared for her physical well-being. MacDonald then started a community effort to get her sister out of the big city and into the Valley.

After convincing Anderson to get out of Arvada, a suburb of Denver, MacDonald and several other Encampment and Riverside locals showed up at Anderson's door with a horse trailer. They loaded up her belongings and resettled her in Encampment.

According to Anderson, "Out of everything bad there is something good."

Having to leave nursing has allowed her to focus on her art. She has been painting with oils since 1992 when she met her teacher and mentor, Jodie Binkley. Anderson primarily paints wildlife, focusing on wolves and bears, but also paints flowers in a style influenced by Georgia O'Keeffe.

After moving to Wyoming, Anderson wants to start working with local wildlife including antelope and coyotes. She said, "Animals have souls like people." She tries to capture the soul in the eyes of the animals she paints. Currently, Anderson has reproductions and prints of her work at The Red Wagon in Encampment.

Anderson has won several awards at juried art shows, but says her favorites are those voted on by the public. It just means more to her than the awards handed out by judges.

After being in Encampment for a few months, Anderson is really enjoying getting away from the stress of the city and feels like she is "done with Colorado".


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