Susan Carlisle Bell

Associate Professor of Art

Area: Art Survey, Art Education, Painting

Office: 704-406-4656


Susan Carlisle Bell has served Gardner-Webb University as Professor of Art since 1985. Quick mathematical calculations reveal that in this time she has taught an estimated 3,000 students in art survey classes opening up the world of art appreciation to them. She has learned more then a few things about teaching in her years of service and, as judged by student evaluations, has been awarded teacher of the year in Fine Arts for three different years. Susan has also established a Christianity and Art course that remains a popular course for students in all disciplines across campus. Her lectures in art are informed by personal museum studies in over ten different countries and over sixty American art museums. Susan holds professional memberships in Christians in the Arts, Cleveland County Arts Council, and Southern Arts Society and additional national organizations.


Ms. Bell continues her activities as a painter. She is a specialist in watercolor and continues to hone her skills in summer watercolor workshops held around the world. She has used her skill in the medium to illustrate over five publications. She has exhibited in over one hundred group and solo exhibitions winning numerous awards for paintings of landscape and portraits. Her work in watercolor and pastels is included in many church, university, and corporate collections.


M.A. Art Education, University of South Carolina

M.A. Christian Education, Presbyterian School of Christian Education

B. A. Art History, Studio, Mary Baldwin College


Artist Statement

“Extraordinary Ordinaries” is not only the name of one of my exhibitions but also expresses my approach to art. Whether drawing or painting, my work is grounded in the principles I have learned from my extensive historical studies of the masters. The composition of Cezanne and Matisse, the figures of Degas, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, the exuberant color of Wolf Kahn landscapes, the spiritual insight of Tanner and Chagall inspire and challenge me. My subjects are the ordinary-people, places, objects with the hope that by composition, color, the play of light I might help others see the extraordinary beauty or design in these ordinaries. This is a way that I can reflect my faith in a loving Creator.