Susan Sallade

1943 - 2009, Santa Barbara

Mother, Artist, Guide

The community has lost one of its true artistic treasures. Susan Sallade transitioned to a new existence Monday, January 12. Those whose lives she touched were blessed for knowing her.

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Susan received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design and had her own freelance artwork business. A former colleague recalls that Susan was multi-talented at logo identity development, hand lettering, and painting with emphasis on watercolor. She was a sought-after instructor in Continuing Education. Susan was the consummate teacher: she loved to teach either individually or through SBCC Adult Education Program. Many of her students took her classes over and over and always learned something new and many became her friends. She is remembered as being soft-spoken, articulate and especially caring in helping her students pursue their love for watercolor painting. Her gentle and unobtrusive way hid a deeper truth. Through art Susan taught life lessons and the most important thing she taught was to be kind, loving and accepting of ourselves and others. Susan applied the same principles with her friends who loved her dearly; her passing leaves a void in their lives.

Susan always spoke fondly of her time abroad: riding horses and painting in Ireland and New Zealand. In Santa Barbara, she enjoyed riding on the trails of Hope Ranch through the kindness and generosity of a friend.

Susan loved and lived art. Her watercolors and collages show her spiritual, mystical and often whimsical side. Nature and animals were her favorite subjects. The simple beauty of a tree leaf was wonderment. She was the recipient of many artistic awards and often had shows of her work in the Santa Barbara area.

Three years ago Susan took on a new "adventure" and became Nonna to her first and only grandchild Megan. In these last years Megan was the love of her life. Susan's face would light up when Megan entered the room. In that light painted with emotional clarity stood grace and unconditional love. A life lesson we are all blessed to be part of. Her son Evan, Tisha and Megan, her friends and students have her eternal love. Susan will live on in the bright colors and textures of her work. For those who knew her, and feel a need to fill the void created by her passing, Susan's art can be seen anytime at To see her art is to see all that Susan was.

A resident of Santa Barbara, Susan's family include her long-term partner Paul Fuller, her son Evan Dalke and his partner Tisha Saragosa, and granddaughter Megan Dalke.

A celebration of life will take place on her birthday January 24, at Godric Grove, Elings Park at 11 a.m. weather permitting. Any venue changes will be posted on

Memorial contributions can be made in Susan's honor to: Return to Freedom -- American Wild Horse Sanctuary (Lompoc); Land Trust for Santa Barbara County; or Dog Adoption & Welfare Group (DAWG) of Santa Barbara.

The family welcomes you to share your thoughts and wishes at or email

My paintings are the product of an ongoing narration celebrating the exultation of nature- it's abundant surface colors and forms, as well as the essence of it's mystical depths.

- Susan Sallade

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Independent Discussion Guidelines

Dear Evan, Paul and Tisha:
This lovely tribute has brought back many good memories
And the picture you've chosen is the perfect image to depict all that Susan was. Thank you for this beautiful recollection.
Susan has been my daughter since she was 14, when I married her father. So I share the depth of your loss, and understand what you're feeling. You have my sympathy.
It's good that you'll hold a celebration of her life. My spirit will be there with you and Susan.

PatS (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2009 at 12:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was one of those adult education students that took Susan's class over and over. Susan was so inspiring and kind and I'm not sure how I'm going to watercolor anymore without her. My thoughts go to her partner and family and beloved animals. Santa Barbara and I will miss you.


desertrose (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2009 at 5:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was one of those Susan "guided" through watercolor for many classes. Being new to Santa Barbara I felt I had landed in the wrong class that first night- she redefined watercolor for me. I've never been so glad to feel that twinge of discomfort and find the willingness to play it out. I saw it happen over and over with others that entered her room. She was a teacher, mentor and friend who reveled in the magic students created through her love and guidance. I remember her glee at emailing the baby photos of Megan, and the joy she found in the simple sharing of a grilled cheese. She is riding with her beloved wild horses now. Susan, thanks for your blessings and the time you gifted us - Betsy E

Betsy23 (anonymous profile)
January 23, 2009 at 8:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Susan Sallade was my first watercolor teacher, starting with her wonderful adult ed class, "Animals in Art". She taught me to paint LARGE and freely, and I was amazed during our class critiques that she always found something "delightful" in the most elementary attempts at painting. A wonderful teacher, Susan had an incredible talent and eye for critique - she could take one look at your painting and suggest a stroke here or there that "finished" the work.

Susan and I gradually became friends over our love of watercolor painting, animals and nature. About five years ago, she invited me to visit to Return to Freedom Mustang Sanctuary with her. We were thrilled to discover that Spirit, a huge stallion who inspired the cartoon movie charactor, was being delivered to the ranch that day! Susan was mesmerized as they unloaded this gorgeous horse from his trailer - if a horse could look like a movie star, Spirit certainly did! Animal Planet tv channel was there documenting the day, and we chuckled at our "15 minutes of fame" as they filmed us hiking up the rise to view the wild mustangs.

I am surprised how very much I miss Susan already - I miss her quiet laugh, her trademark bandana, her gentle spirit. I was sure we would have more meals at the Natural Cafe, more walks with Shawnee, her beloved dog, more art shows to visit....and more of her fabulous art.

But I am glad you are free now, Susan. See you on the other side. love, Nancy

nrinno (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2009 at 10:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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