Susan Lerner

Occupation: Collage Artist
Years in Washington, CT: 20


We became intrigued with the unique work of artist Susan Lerner after attending her solo exhibit at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens. We recently had the opportunity to chat about her artwork as well as her love for Washington. Susan and family weekend and summer in Washington and she shared her favorite things about being a part of our community.


How did you become an artist?

I was a flavor chemist for 18 years before pursuing my passion for art. A flavor chemist, as I am sure you are wondering, is a scientist who develops new flavors for the food industry. It is actually one of the most creative sciences. I mostly worked in a lab and developed flavors for cereals, beverages, and ice creams. I did enjoy my career, but in 2015, after a 10 year gap to raise my children, I decided to follow my interest in photography, and from there studied mixed media collage at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. I was instantly hooked and from then on focused exclusively on my newfound passion.

Can you tell us a bit about your work?

I am an analog collage artist. My work blends personal photographs with vintage images to create complex visual landscapes that capture the past in a new way. I like to call it “modern nostalgia” as I construct unexpected, yet whimsical compositions into visual stories that explore relationships in the world. I use my own photographs and collage them with vintage images, such as old National Geographic magazines, to create surreal landscapes. I do not use any scans, photocopies, or Photoshop. I enjoy the juxtaposition and synergy of new photos with one of a kind vintage images.


How did you discover Washington?

I visited the town of Washington about 20 years ago. Before we started our family, I used to visit friends who lived in Litchfield County and I fell in love with the area. At the time, we lived in New York City and I was looking for a bit of an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. I wanted a small country house that could serve as a quiet retreat and I ended up buying a home in New Preston. After we had two kids, and added a dog, my husband and I needed more space. We bought some land over by Averill Farms and were able to build our dream home.


Making a Splash (Right)

9″ x 12″ hand cut collage, photographs, vintage National Geographic images, vintage illustrations, adhesive on Bristol Board. 2017.

When do you usually come to town?

We have spent weekends and summers in Washington for years. We live on the Upper West Side and head right up on Fridays whenever possible, throughout the year. We adore waking up on Saturday mornings with the whole weekend before us, enjoying country life. The sunrises at our home are just astonishing. Washington is so picturesque and breathtaking; we immediately wind down from life in the city.

How do you kids feel about living in Washington?

They absolutely love it! They have been coming to Washington since they were born and they want to come up as often has they can. At times, living in a city can feel chaotic and often cramped and crowded. There really isn’t a tranquil place where kids can roam, stretch out, and be free. Here in Washington, my kids have been able to feel free and spend time outdoors with their many friends. They love exploring the countryside and getting outdoors to enjoy Washington’s beautiful natural surroundings. We even have a garden where we grow string beans, tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs. Nothing beats growing and eating your own vegetables. During the summers growing up, my kids also loved to play tennis and spend plenty of time on Lake Waramaug.

What are your favorite things to do while you are in town?

I really enjoy starting the weekend at the farmers market at Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens. Many area farms are present and they offer such amazing produce. I am a part of the Waldingfield Farm’s CSA and I get all of my vegetables from them. I just love being able to bring home fresh, local food to cook great wholesome meals. I also have a weak spot for the Bees Knees Ice Pops stand at the farmers market.

My family and I like to boat and waterski on Lake Waramaug from May to October. Being on the water is a family passion. We love to hike up to the Pinnacle with its spectacular views of Lake Waramaug and the surrounding countryside. Also, every Sunday, my daughter and I take a yoga class at ah Yoga.

Are you involved with any organizations in Washington?

I am a member of the Washington Arts Association (WAA). One of the great things about Washington is that the town is just bursting with art and culture. There are several fantastic galleries in town and the art shows are just phenomenal. It’s funny how a small town in Connecticut could be such a cultural hub and attract such great artistic talent.

ASAP! is another organization that I am involved with. I just love their mission and what they have done to foster children’s creativity and supplement arts education. ASAP! has some of the best fine art programs and year after year my kids have participated in summer camp until they aged out.

What do you think makes Washington special?

Washington truly offers the best of both worlds. You get the tranquility and the community-oriented vibe of a small town, with a rich and vibrant cultural scene. Washington has become a very popular destination for many summer residents like myself. However, the town never feels crowded and the lifestyle here has always been relaxed and peaceful. It has been a great place to raise my family.

Where can we find you next?

I currently have a solo exhibit at the New York Public Library, St. Agnes Branch throughout the month of February. Also, I will be curating an international art show in May in NYC as a fund-raiser. This is a very exciting project for me, as I will be collecting collages from artists around the world and installing them in an outdoor setting. (@the_collage_garden) I’m also excited to have a solo show at the Stairwell Gallery at the Gunn Memorial Library in July of 2019.

To learn more about Susan, her artwork, and upcoming shows check out her Instagram page and her website.

“Our summer home in Washington has given us the perfect balance between the hustle and bustle of the city and the tranquility and freedom of country life.”

Local Eats

  • Norimaki
  • Ziggy’s Italian Specialities (the best breads, olives and burrata)
  • Farmers Market (get all of your ingredients & cook an incredible meal)

Family Fun

  • Kayaking, boating and biking around Lake Waramaug
  • Hiking at Bee Brook
  • Tennis at the Washington Club & Rumsey Hall

Must See

  • Washington sunrise
  • Washington countryside
  • Views around Lake Waramaug

Must Do

  • Art exhibits and classes at WAA
  • Farmers market at Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens
  • ASAP! programs and events