Susan R. Kirshenbaum

art and life - both the cherries and the pits



I am a San Francisco-based figurative artist whose expressive, gestural work reflects a fresh, contemporary perspective on the female form that captures a moment and reflects an intimacy with my subjects. Drawn from a live, nude, female model, my style is graphic, sensual, and fluid. It feels intimate and natural. Sometimes it is tongue-in-cheek or whimsical. Women are portrayed as strong, decisive, confident, and unique individuals – this is my underlying narrative.


Kirshenbaum was encouraged early in life to pursue art. She grew up in a family of visual artists who started an art school, the Ivy School of Professional Art, in Pittsburgh, PA where she studied and worked throughout her life. At 15 her father guided the family on an extensive art tour of Europe, initiating a life-long travel bug and love of museums. Since Ivy, she’s studied at SFAI, CCA, UC Berkeley Extension, Kala, City College, and in Girona, Spain.

In 2016, Kirshenbaum returned to full-time art making after a long hiatus, but she never lost sight of art as her center. Her long-time career as a creative director for marketing and branding was closely connected to art. Over the years, Kirshenbaum has exhibited in group and solo shows in Pittsburgh, Sonoma County, and San Francisco. Her works are in collections nationally and internationally. During her official re-launch in 2016, she created several new series and introduced them in three year-end art shows, including a solo exhibition at The Laundry, in the Mission. Living and working in San Francisco, CA, since 1980, she’s taken a couple of breaks to live in Hawaii, NYC, and Spain. She can be found making art at her hilltop home with her cats and husband nearby.


And Figuratively Speaking, The Troll House, Aug. 2017

Exposed, Bayview Boat Club, Aug. 2017

Figuratively Speaking, The Troll House, June-July 2017

Susan R. Kirshenbaum, The Laundry, San Francisco, CA, Nov. 2016

Cherry Pits Pop-Up Show, Maker & Moss, San Francisco, CA, Oct. 2016

(Breakdown) After Five, Mendelson Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, 1980


Open Studios Drawing Group Exhibition at The Allied Box Factory, November 2017

Open Studios Rear Gallery Group Exhibition at San Francisco Women Artists, October 2017

San Francisco Women Artists, Juried Group Show - Loving Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, October 2017

San Francisco Women Artists, Juried Group Show - New Works (Members), San Francisco, CA, September 2017

mDAC Summit, Juried Group Show of Mobile Art, at Pacific Art League (PAL), Palo Alto, August 2017

PAL, Juried Group Show, Science, Tech and Art, Pacific Art League, Palo Alto, August 2017

San Francisco Women Artists, Juried Group Show - City, Sea, Landscape, San Francisco, CA, August 2017

San Francisco Women Artists, Juried Group Show - All Botanical, San Francisco, CA, June 2017

PAL, Juried Group Show, Summer Exposure, Palo Alto, June 2017

stARTup Art Fair, ArtSpan Juried Group Show, San Francisco, CA, May 2017

Art Attacks Cancer - Fundraiser for Kids and Art, Art Attack, San Francisco, CA, April 2017

The Blueberry Farm Annual Group Show, Sebastopol, CA, Dec. 2016

Ivy School Alumni Show, Spinning Plate Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, 2015

International Group Show, Essence Gallery, Freestone, CA, 2006

Business of Art, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA, 1990

Women of the Women’s Building, Group Show, San Francisco, CA, 1980

Graduate Show, Ivy School, Pittsburgh, PA, 1976


Troll House, Co-work space, Pier 26, San Francisco, CA, Summer 2017

The Laundry, Co-work space, Mission District (Mission and 26th), San Francisco, CA, Fall 2016


Ivy School of Professional Art:

Marks on Paper, 1976

Life Drawing, 1978-1979


Melissa and Chris Baker, Sebastopol, CA

Nancy and Philip Crawford, San Francisco, CA

Kim and Peter DeJong, Les Cluses, France

Joanne Dierbort, Sausalito, CA

Ava and Art Doppelt, Orlando, FL

Marie-Jeanne Juilland and Garey Johnson, Redwood City, CA

Barbara Lane, Mill Valley, CA

Lorraine Lerner, Oakland, CA

Patricia Meager and Kevin Stapleton, San Leandro, CA

Marc Prisant, Boulder, CO

Katherine Shedrick and Jon Bonanno, San Francisco, CA

Vicki Simon, Portland, OR

Lyndee Sing and Andy Small, San Luis Obispo, CA

Eric Tam and Lucy Delgado, Oakland, CA

John Venuti and Regina Parsons, San Mateo, CA


Model Drawing Groups: Hosted by John Goodman, 1995-present, Hosted by Robert Windle, 2017-present


Founding Member: Bay Area Made; Member: San Francisco Women Artists (SFWA), ArtSpanSF, Pacific Artists League (PAL), Southern Exposure, Richmond Art Center (RAC), Women Who Draw, Artists United

Asian Art Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, SFMOMA, YBCA


SFWA - MArketing Committee, 2017

Board of Directors:

River of Words – an educational nonprofit for children’s art and poetry, co-founders: Poet Laureate Robert Hass and Pam Michael, 2007-2010

Pacific Chamber Symphony, 1999-2003

Planning Committee and Participant:

City of Poets with Annice Jacoby and Lisa Citron, 1993

The Roof is on Fire with Suzanne Lacey, Annice Jacoby, and Chris Johnson, 1993-1994


Lived and worked: Girona and Barcelona, Spain; New York, NY; Oahu, HI; Albany, NY; Silverton, CO; Madison, WI; Northern Israel; Pittsburgh, PA; San Francisco, CA (current)

Travels: Asia, Middle East, UK, Europe, Central and South America, Canada, and N. Africa. Returned from Myanmar (Burma) in January 2017

Avid Pure Barre maven, walker, culture hound, bookgroup leader/fiction reader


Graduate of Ivy School of Professional Art, Associate Degree, 1976

Additional studies:

University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 1973-1974

San Francisco Art Institute, SF, CA, 1980 (studied with Howard Fried)

California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA, 1990s

Private painting classes with Kim Anno, Oakland, CA, 1995

Painting (Plein Air and figure painting) workshops with Randall Sexton, San Francisco, CA, 2000-2003

Painting, La Merce, Girona, Spain, 2004-2005

Silkscreen printing with Master Printer Antonio Gonzalez, El Lledoner, Spain, 2005

Etching with Master Printer, Sebi Subirós, Lupus Grafic, Girona, Spain, 2005

UC Extension and City College at Fort Mason


YouTube: Video bio: and process videos of drawing: