About Susan
Susan Schary
A Biographical Sketch

Susan Schary is a world-renowned artist whose lushly painted and realistic images have been gracing the walls of private collectors as well as institutions throughout the world for more than forty years.  Her portraits hang in universities, Judges' chambers, courthouses, businesses and private homes which span the country and cross the seas to Europe, Japan and Saudi Arabia.  She also has another specialty that no other painter can equal or surpass, that of a Courtroom Artist.

Schary began seriously drawing at the age of three and commenced her formal art education at age eight.  Her youth was spent studying art at many different Philadelphia art institutions such as the Museum School of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Art Museum and Fleisher Art Memorial.  During high school, the well-known artist and educator, Jack Bookbinder, took her under his wing, teaching her privately and at age seventeen, Schary began private study with the great Russian artist, Vladimir Shatalov.

Schary's artistic interests included both the dramatic and vocal arts, with a passion for operatic singing.  She was led to New York City in 1956 to the Neighborhood Playhouse where she actively pursued a course of study with well-known drama teacher, the late Sanford Meisner, and the now successful Hollywood director, Sydney Pollack, with such illustrious classmates as Robert Duval and Suzanne Pleschette.

Feeling strongly that she really needed to "serve one master," Schary returned to her Philadelphia studio, painting on her own for two years.  At twenty-two, she enrolled at the Tyler School of Fine Art of Temple University with a scholarship from Dean Boris Blai, where she earned the Dean's Prize for Painting at the Student Exhibition in 1957, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, cum laude, in 1960.  Upon graduation, Philadelphia artist and head of Harcum Junior College Art Department, Martin Zipin, offered Susan Schary a position as his Assistant Professor where she taught for two years.

In 1964, Schary left her teaching position at Harcum to pursue her own personal development in painting and traveled to Florence, Italy where she remained for nearly a year, immersing herself in the magnificent omnipresent Renaissance art of Italy.

When she returned to Philadelphia, Schary painted, exhibited and was on the Faculty of Fleisher Art Memorial, where she was awarded the B.W. Gottlieb Memorial Prize for her work at a Faculty exhibition.

Seeking change and a fresh perspective, Schary moved to Los Angeles in 1967 to reconnect with her family who was involved with movie production, including her uncle Dore Schary.  She remained in California for eighteen years, exploring a broad range of themes in her painting, including many portrait commissions, and exhibiting her work frequently.

An opportunity arose in 1980 for Schary to travel to Saudi Arabia where she found a new and very different source of inspiration.  The Saudi culture and extraordinary landscape provided Schary with a new frame of reference for her work, creating a palette filled with colors and textures of an ancient society living in the modern world.  Schary lived there for eighteen months both exhibiting her work and painting many portraits, including some members of the Royal Family.

Shortly after she returned to California, Schary decided to travel east for a brief stint in New England before she ultimately returned home to Philadelphia in 1987.  Aside from her paintings and exhibits, she embarked upon a new venture into the arena of courtroom art and since her entry into the field, has become the area's foremost courtroom artist.

Schary has received numerous awards and honors from Philadelphia area institutions and city departments, including an Award of Honor from the Tyler Alumni Association for her contributions in her field and was given a thirty-five year retrospective exhibition held at Temple University in 1993.  She also received an Award of Honor from the Philadelphia Police Department, Homicide Division in 1994 for her generosity and portrait contributions to the fallen victims of crime.

Since Schary's return, she has had several one-woman exhibits and numerous high profile portrait commissions.  She plans on remaining in Philadelphia.  Schary has two daughters, Jennifer and Karima, and two grandchildren, Dylan and Jordan.

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Last updates:  Monday, January 21, 2013.

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