Susan R. Kirshenbaum

art and life - both the cherries and the pits


My work expresses a contemporary perspective on the figure, capturing a moment and reflecting an intimacy with my subjects. Drawn from a live nude model, my style is graphic, sensual, and fluid. Sometimes it is tongue-in-cheek or whimsical. Women and men are portrayed equally 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. 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. Recently she created three monolithic figurative series on fabric and introduced them in several art shows. Living and working in San Francisco, California 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.


"Reveals", Secret Agent, March-May 2018

"And Figuratively Speaking", The Troll House, Aug. 2017

"Exposed", Bayview Boat Club, Aug. 2017

"Figuratively Speaking", The Troll House, June-July 2017

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

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

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



City Art Gallery, Members Group Show, San Francisco, CA, April

SFWA, Juried Group Show, “Homage”, San Francisco, CA, March

Arc Gallery, Invitational Figurative Group Show & Event, "Life/Live", February-April

SFWA, Juried Group Show, “Eye of the Beholder”, San Francisco, CA, February

Back to the Picture, Invitational Figurative Group Show, "Paradise Lost", January-February

Arc Gallery, Juried Group Show & Event, "Snap!", January

SFWA, Juried Group Show, “Discover”, San Francisco, CA, January


ArtSpan SF Open Studios, John Goodman's Drawing Group Exhibition, The Allied Box Factory, November 

ArtSpan SF Open Studios Gallery Group Exhibition, SOMARTS, October 

SFWA Juried Group Show, “Reflection”, San Francisco, CA, November 

Art Guild of Pacifica Members Show and Merit Award Winner, Pacifica, CA, October-November 

SFWA Open Studios Group Exhibition, San Francisco Women Artists Gallery, SF, CA, October 

SFWA Juried Group Show, “Loving Golden Gate Park”, San Francisco, CA, October 

SFWA Juried Group Show, “New Works”, San Francisco, CA, September 

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

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

SFWA Juried Group Show Juried Group Show, “City, Sea, Landscape”, San Francisco, CA, August 

SFWA Juried Group Show, “All Botanical”, San Francisco, CA, June 

PAL Juried Group Show, “Summer Exposure”, Palo Alto, June 

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

"Art Attacks Cancer", A Fundraiser for Kids and Art, Art Attack, San Francisco, CA, April 

"The Blueberry Farm Annual Group Show", Sebastopol, CA, December 

Prior to 2017

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

Debbie Droskin, Leawood, Kansas

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: City Art Gallery (SF), San Francisco Women Artists (SFWA), ArtSpanSF, Pacific Artists League (PAL), Art Guild of Pacifica, Southern Exposure, Richmond Art Center (RAC), Women Who Draw, Artists United

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


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 / 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. Travels in 2017: Myanmar (Burma) and Greece/Turkey

Avid Pure Barre maven, walker, culture hound, book group leader and 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 under 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, On-going


YouTube: Video bio: and process videos of drawing: