By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury- People look at retirement in different ways. For some, it means relocating to a warmer climate. For others, it might mean moving closer to children and grandchildren. Others reflect on their life’s achievements and focus on interests and passions that they might not have had time to pursue while holding down a full time job.
Almost two years ago, at the age of 71, Suzanne Foxwell retired from the hospitality industry after working for the DoubleTree Hotel for many years. She enjoyed her time spent there and made many connections while being involved in corporate events. But she knew it was now her time to focus on herself as well as her family.
As an artist, Foxwell felt a strong desire to return to painting. On her website, she has a great variety of her beautiful paintings for sale, ranging from local attractions such as Wachusett Reservoir and Auburn Pond, to sea creatures and landscapes.
Using her background in hospitality, arts and interior design, along with her love of people, she also decided to open her own business, Suzanne’s Art-Different Strokes. As such, she currently hosts painting events, team building, social events, wedding showers, birthdays and more.
Last May, Staples hired her to participate in their large corporate meeting, which was an event that spanned over several days in Portsmouth, N.H. Employees got to select activities incorporated into each day’s schedule. Foxwell offered a painting class where each participant painted the Portsmouth Lighthouse, which was well attended.
As she loves working with people, Foxwell also teaches classes at the Shrewsbury Senior Center. Foxwell has also just self- published her memoirs in a book titled, “The Art of Living A Colorful Life: A Memoir.” Originally from Springfield, she attended Becker College and lived for a time in Boston. In her book, she details one chilling episode where she and her roommate had a chance encounter with Albert DeSalvo, who later confessed to being the notorious “Boston Strangler.” DeSalvo came to the apartment building where the young women lived at time, claiming to be a modeling agent. It was only when Foxwell and her roommate were living in San Francisco that they saw a Time magazine cover story on DeSalvo’s arrest that they finally realized exactly who that “agent” was.
After her marriage to Stephen, the couple owned several farms and restaurants before Foxwell’s career at the DoubleTree.
With such a varied past, Foxwell said upon reflection, she felt “how similar my approach to life and art have actually been.” “I thought sharing my story might be helpful to others because if there is one thing I learned over the years, it’s that when you make a mistake, even if it’s a big one, you can start over in both life and in art. It may not be easy but once you’ve made that first stroke on your blank canvas, each stroke after that will be easier,” said Foxwell.
Now living in Shrewsbury, Foxwell is currently seeking a creative outlet for other artists. She feels there is a strong need for people to be able to go and rent space, set up their creations, exchange ideas, introduce new artistic approaches and have an art forum.
“Art is a never ending journey and it is the interpretation of what we see and how we see it that fuels our creativity. I’m hoping to find other artists who would be interested in forming a co-op,” said Foxwell. For more information go to www.suzannefoxwell.com