Susan Stockdale was born on October 3, 1954, in Miami, Florida, United States to the family of a former ambassador to Ireland Grant Stockdale and an author and poet Alice Boyd Magruder Proudfoot. She grew up in Coral Gables, Florida, the youngest of five children. Her interest in nature and her love of color evolved during these formative years. She also spent a few childhood years in Ireland, where her father served as Ambassador during the Kennedy administration. The Irish landscape was a patchwork of sparkly greens, filled with cows, sheep and other animals she'd never seen in tropical Miami. These two very different environments - the sunny tropics of Miami and the magical surroundings of Ireland - influenced her development as an artist.