Susan Manter-Bolen was born in Rhode Island in 1967. After attending one year at Rhode Island College, she worked for about a year at a window blind factory before buying a bus ticket to California and Yosemite. Then followed a couple of years in San Francisco and several art classes at that citys’ community college while cleaning hotel rooms and running the merry-go-round at Pier 39. Back to Rhode Island, by bus, she then worked as a painter in an epoxy jewelry factory, and painted in her spare time before finally returning to Yosemite, via train, to work once again at the Concession in employee housing.
Meeting future husband John Bolen was the best thing that ever happened to her. They married in December 1999 in a Renaissance wedding at the Ahwahnee Hotel.
She bought an easel and began working outside, painting the Yosemite landscape in pastels, and later in acrylic. Susan then moved to El Portal, right outside Yosemite, in 2001, where, many, many El Portal scenes were depicted, and will continue to be painted. She participated in her first Sierra Art Trails event in 2007, (multiple artists at different sites, including Mariposa, Madera and Oakhurst communities), and in November of that year had her first solo show at Williams Gallery as the Sierra Art Trails Artist of the Month.
Susan has participated in many group shows and is continually evolving new ideas and techniques of artistic expression. She works predominantly in acrylic, sometimes incorporating mixed media along with using alternative grounds such as wood cut into shapes, adorned with glass and acrylic faceted gems. She also makes sculptures out of found objects and recyclable materials, usually in a Day of the Dead or Halloween theme.
She creates surreal and symbolic paintings which incorporate archetypal and anthropomorphic figures as well as startlingly vivid and geometric style landscapes.