Susan M. Rostan
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Meet The NAWA Artist/Author Susan Rostan

Meet Susan Rostan a Signature NAWA Artist/Author

Some of our NAWA Signature Artists are also recognized authors who have published their work in books, articles, and papers both online, and offline. Their writing is as diverse as their artwork, covering fiction, non-fiction, academic research, poetry, children’s books and more.

A standard set of questions has been proposed to each of our Artist/Authors. These are Susan’s replies.


Susan Rostan

1. What are you focused on in your writing?

Much of my academic research and writing focused on developing children’s artistic talent and creativity. This interest evolved into case studies of individual artists, and currently, a full biography of renowned Long Island artist Stan Brodsky’s artistic development.

2. What drew you to the subject matter of your work?

I have been an artist most of my life, tutored by my grandmother who had her own atelier. My interest in artistic development was instinctive, and an undergraduate degree in psychology gave me a greater understanding of thinking and problem solving, After earning an MFA in painting, I continued my studies in a doctoral program, focusing on creativity in artists and scientists.

3. What type of writing do you do?

My non-academic writing has been in the realm of narrative nonfiction. Digging: Lifting the Memorable from Within the Unthinkable, published in 2013, was the story of how a few members of my husband’s family survived World War II in Warsaw, Poland. My current manuscript is historical nonfiction, tracing the life and art of Stan Brodsky. In this endeavor, I am exploring the emergence and evolution of artistic and creative thinking. To this end, I am writing for NAWA NOW, interviewing members for special consideration, and co-leading NAWA’s Historical Research team, developing biographies of NAWA Presidents, past and present.

4. Who are you writing for?

Who is your target audience? My targeted audience is adult artists and non-artists interested in how artists think, do what they do, and get to where they have arrived.

5. Is your written work related to your artwork?

My writing isn’t specifically related to my artwork but it is related to my thinking as an artist. To write about another artist, or elicit meaningful discussions from another artist, I need to empathize with their work and artistic development. This kind of empathy emerges from my own practice. For example, my interest in color relationships, composition, and movement sensitizes me to these qualities in the work of other artists. This sensitivity also plays a part in my choice of words to use to describe a scene and my awareness of the visual quality of my writing.

6. How often do you write?

I endeavor to write every day, splitting my creative enterprise between writing and painting.

7. How do you balance your writing with your studio practice?

In 2016, my studio practice became a necessary part of my daily engagements with my creative impulses. After decades of research and then a significant investment in writing narrative nonfiction, I needed the hands-on manipulation of color and medium to satisfy my need to generate new ideas and visual experiences. Stan Brodsky, who I had known since his mentorship through my MFA encouraged me to return to concentrated studio work. With his encouragement and the community of artists he had created at the Art League of Long Island, I began to explore new options in my work. I had no idea that he would subsequently ask me to do a favor and write his biography, even as he pushed me to invest myself more fully in my artistic practice. The consequences of my immersion in his life and artistic development have included a deeper understanding of my work and the evolving flexibility in choosing which enterprise I need to focus on. It has become a more graceful flow between painting and writing.

8. When did you write your works?

My published scholarly writing began in 1992, after completing my doctorate. I continued publishing my research through 2008. In 2013, I published my first work of nonfiction, Digging: Lifting the Memorable from Within the Unthinkable, and began writing Brodsky’s biography in 2017.

9. Are you currently writing articles or books for publication?

Since joining NAWA in 2022, I have been a contributing writer for NAWA NOW, focusing on the artistic development of celebrated NAWA members.

Digging by Susan Rostan an Artist/Author Signature Member of NAWA

10. How and where have your works been published? Online? Print?

My scholarly work is in peer-reviewed print journals. My book was self-published in print and digital formats.

11. Do you self-publish your writing?

My first book was published by an independent publisher, giving me ample opportunity to participate in most aspects of the process.

Digging by Susan Rostan an Artist/Author Signature Member of NAWA

Digging by Susan Rostan an Artist/Author Signature Member of NAWA

12. How do you market your written work?

Much as most contemporary publishing endeavors, a great deal rests on the author. I learned how to participate in workshops and community reviewing to elicit reviews of my work and opportunities for blogged interviews. Through Independent publishing services, I was also able to enter my work in competition and reaped the rewards of a beautifully executed book.

13. Do you do book readings? Promo tours? Library lectures?

My marketing endeavors have included book readings discussions, and library lectures, all building on the skill set developed from presenting my academic research at national and international conferences.

14. Where can people access your publications? Links? Libraries?

My academic research is cited on my website: SusanMRostan.comDigging is available on My artist interviews are available in NAWA NOW.

15. In a few sentences tell us who and why people might feel compelled to read your publications.

As an artist trained in close and intensive observation of the world around me, I have brought this proclivity and skill set to my explorations of artistic and creative development in its varied manifestations.


Congratulations and Thank you for sharing!

Mary Ahern – Chair: NAWA Public Relations Committee

National Association of Women Artists

NAWA. Empowering Women Artists Since 1889

Meet Susan Rostan