Susan McQuerrey, a California native, was raised in Sacramento and earned her B.A. in modern languages from the University of the Pacific in Stockton. She also enrolled in Covell College, inside Pacific. It offered general education classes taught in Spanish by professors from Peru, Columbia and Mexico. In her junior year, a scholarship from NYU allowed her to travel to Spain where she attended Madrid University and lived with a Spanish family. She took a variety of classes, one at the Prado Museum. Studying the remarkable paintings of the masters, her love of art began. She re-turned to Pacific for her senior year and graduated, meeting her husband, Michael, in the University choir and marrying soon after.
Susan took credential classes while teaching multiple subjects as an elementary school teacher in 1968, in Lodi. Later the family moved to Bakersfield where she taught 6th grade in Shafter. Her daughter was born in 1975 and Susan stayed home. During these years she began painting on her own using watercolor. Later she earned an M.A. in English at CSUB. Then she began her second career as a professor at Bakersfield College. When she retired she could freely devote time to art classes. “The more I learned, the more I wanted to use water-color,” she says, “The medium allows for so much; representational, fluid, soft, planned or spontaneous approaches. Of course, there are challenges with a medium that does not allow one to paint over mistakes. She cites, “It’s almost always better to chuck than to fix.” “But starting over on a painting doesn’t (usually) discourage me.” she says.