I've been following Sue on Instagram for a while and love her raw interpretation of Cornwall; wild seas, tangled hedges and crazy skies. I wanted to find out more about her journey.
1. Can you give me a bit of background about you and what lead you to creating Cornish art?
I was born in Bude on a farm and have always had an affinity with the sea and coast. I had a period of illness with ME and it was at this time that I started to reacquaint myself with paint. I started in watercolours which led on to acrylic and then oils. I am self taught but have attended quite a few different courses, which has helped immensely to use different media and techniques to build my own repertoire . I love to experiment and am always trying different ways of producing paintings and effects whilst trying to keep the raw physicality of the act of painting itself. My preferred way is to start outside with sketches or even a bare canvas and then finish it in the studio.
2. It can be quite challenging for an artist to get their work seen – what advice would you give to other artists looking for exposure?
I was lucky to have a break with an interior designer and this gave my work some kudos. I like to do social media and am quite active and have been lucky to have several magazine articles. Advice... Do what you do with confidence and conviction and have a decent website that updates regularly to people can find you. There are a lot of artists out there; it's quite difficult at times, but just trust in yourself.
3. I can see that you’ve done some solo shows – which was your favourite and why?
I have done several solo shows locally in Bude at the lovely Willoughby Gallery. It pushes me to produce a body of work specifically for this each year. I think 'Mordros' is my favourite. One of the earliest, it wasn't so much about the paintings as the atmosphere the word evoked. Mordros means ' the sound of the sea' in Cornish.
4. Is there an artwork you are most proud of and why?
I think my first aluminium painting is one I am most proud of. Mainly because it was a massive leap of faith painting on aluminium for the first time and as a commission piece, I had to get it right. Over 1500 cm long by 70, I used rollers, scrapers and lots of medium with acrylics to get the effect for 'Hot summers night'.
5. What is the best method for people to get in touch with you?
I have a contact form on my website and most people contact me through this as it is direct and they can also sign up to my newsletter. I also get some contact through social media , but I then direct them to email as I can organise it easily from there.
I love Sue's art and can really relate to her tip about attending courses and learning different techniques. Now I've joined the Newquay Society of Artists I hope to attend some eye-opening demonstrations to help broaden my skill-set.
I also completely agree with her advice to work with confidence and conviction. The times when I paint the worst is when I have lost confidence in myself; I experiment less, question each brush-stroke, sometimes I'm too paralysed to paint. As artists we need to believe in ourselves and keep painting regularly. It's ok to make mistakes, that's what helps us grow and become better artists.
I believe that I grow the most after I've had a bad painting or rejection. It hurts, it really hurts, but I come out fighting the other side - I get straight back to it; either researching new ideas or approaches. I usually uncover something new to try which pushes me upwards and on-wards. Something I may not have discovered if I hadn't been tested in that way.
Use every success and failure to move forward, but don't stay still.