It’s hard to catch local artist Suzanne Posner, a Great Neck resident dressed in a polka-dotted skirt and coral-colored shirt, without a smile as she makes her way around the crowded Great Neck Plaza courtroom.
Among the pieces now on the wall are charcoal drawings inspired by her dark-furred service dog Brianna, who followed her as she spoke with friends, acquaintances and other curious people. There are also sculptures and colorful pictures, both encased in glass and not, of people and scenes from daily life.
When asked what she wanted people to feel seeing her work, on display at 2 Gussack Plaza from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. until the end of the month, Posner responded almost instantly.
“Happy,” Posner, the village’s “artist of the month,” said in an interview. “I want them to smile. I want them to be in a good mood when they see my art.”
Posner, a teacher at the Cumberland Adult Center in Great Neck who also does commissions for clients, worked in the dental field for about 20 years before turning her focus to the arts.
Posner said she has been working as a professional artist for about a decade now, developing a style involving “bright colors and painting from life” and “gracefully” moving tools through stone.
In that time, Posner has also created a “whole gallery at home.” There, she said, she has “probably hundreds of paintings and about 50 sculptures,” all of which are for sale.
But, Posner noted, she had always been interested in creating things.
“This is my second career. I’ve always done art,” Posner said, recalling when she would “sculpt” in her mashed potatoes as a child. “I had to stop doing dentistry because I have Parkinson’s disease, and I was able to give myself full-time to sculpting and painting and making jewelry.”
Leila Posner said her daughter Suzanne always had a creative streak.
She recalled people looking at her as a baby because of intelligent eyes, her curiosity “about everything,” and creations ranging from daily drawings to the first clay pot she ever created.
Suzanne’s mother also described her as both talented and a “very happy child,” who often filled the family home with children – her friends – when growing up.
“I’m used to having her sparkle. She lights up our lives and she’s such a giver,” her mother said when asked about how it feels to see her daughter’s work on display. “She’s always sharing and trying to help people and she’s so well-loved.”
Later, Leila Posner added, “Instead of hiding away, she’s an example that people can have a problem and can still lead a wonderful life.”
Lori Oppenheimer, a friend of Suzanne Posner’s, said she first met her at least six years ago because they both owned dogs – Posner had two, she had one. Sometimes Posner would sculpt at the dog park.
Now, Oppenheimer said she knows Posner as a kind woman of many interests ranging from traveling and horseback riding to diverse art forms and a shared interest in mahjong.
“She’s a great person and we’re very happy to know her,” Oppenheimer said. “She’s very colorful.”
Margot Solomon, another friend of Posner’s who has known her for about a year, said she came by to see her show again and has always been “very impressed by her skill.”
“She’s very down to earth and open-minded,” Soloman said, adding Posner has a “creative spirit” across many mediums.
When asked for advice to give an aspiring artist on how to balance the professional and creative pulls, Posner recommended always finding the time for art.
“Always do your art. Whether you do it as a profession or as a sideline doesn’t matter as long as you can feed yourself,” Posner said. “And if you’re as lucky as I am to have a wonderful partner – my husband – you may get the opportunity to do your art full-time.”