I first saw Australian artist Susan Sheridan’s work at the Strawberry Hills Gallery*, Surrey Hills in the 1970’s and was captivated by the serenity! Words of description and observations along the lines of – muted tones, atmospheric, impressionistic, sublime, dreamy, understatement and capturing a feeling, all described her art convincingly.
Nature is the all pervading passion for this artist, perhaps she prefers to live outdoors more than in. When she describes the landscape or seascape subject being her primary interest she says she likes to ‘listen’ and absorb the scenery. Susan notes the landscape usually with a sketch-ink and wash in her travel book. This provides the reference to develop a full sized painting in the studio at a later time. Previously her art focus was influenced by urban life and architecture and the landscape interest and transition did not develop easily. It’s no wonder her love of lines and marks in the landscape are a feature in the development of her choice of her compositions to paint.
Watercolour, mixed media, acrylic and oil paints are incorporated within the genre of her painting. They are applied with a ‘soft touch’, almost a suggestion in some cases. When more drama and energy of the composition requires a definite or blatant use of a tone Susan chooses to play down the colour and as such develops a mood and feeling. In her words she ‘accentuates the subtleties’. In fact her choice of compositions is often influenced by a visual excitement e.g. a Rocky outcrop, a sailing race and dual, a maze of confusion – marina, and jostling birds in an egret’s nest. The attention is on the focal point of the composition however the harmonising of surrounding tones is in balance.
Figures are not evident in the landscape, something the artist consciously avoids, saying ‘she needs to make a choice which is important in the composition, the figure she sees as a distraction in the main’. This is not to say they are dismissed altogether the artist prefers the pattern of figure rather than the individual.
A traveller at heart and often in need of a ‘fix’ to another place Susan is most comfortable in isolated environments. Roughing it on a camping trip, time alone in the wild or the trek to get off the beaten track is where she is most comfortable. As a passionate wild life observer the thrill of discovering animals or birds in their natural habitat delights and adds to the outdoor experience. To then develop an impression of what she sees based on a ‘feeling’ from location individualises her art. The site has its own spirituality and Susan has the ability to empathise with it. I for one appreciate the vision Susan possesses and the manner she records it!
Formal art and design training is the foundation of her painting. National Arts School, Sydney followed up with classes at the Julian Ashton Art School. Her career in art has been a balance of time around family commitments however Susan has taken the more disciplined approach keeping her art in balance with family and social life. Not an easy achievement but her art skills were never to be suppressed.
This collection of paintings and drawings titled ‘Ambient Impressions’ is primarily curated from her own home. Susan recently downsized and as such we have the privilege to acquire the art from her own walls! It could be regarded as a personal invitation to enter the inner sanctum of the artist’s private collection. Hence some earlier dated works are available. These paintings have been selected from the studio as well.
What will you see? textures, light play and complimentary tones. Tasmania – Around Franklin River and south coast; W.A. – Kalbarri National Park; Queensland – Atherton Tableland and surrounds; NSW- around Oberon Orange districts- fishing holes, Thredbo and the NSW Highlands range and Pittwater; New Zealand – mountain range from the South Island. Art prices are affordable with the exhibition range priced from $550-$5,500 with featured work from NZ and Thedbo, NSW at $10,000-$8,000 respectively.
Please join us for the opening evening of Susan’s new exhibition, ‘Ambient Impressions’ on Thursday 5th June from 6-8pm at The Gallery. RSVP for this exciting event here. It continues until June 30. NB a week night because the long weekend follows and we have altered our opening date realising our clients may be unavailable over the Queens Birthday weekend. Please remember we have an option to buy from the exhibition using our interest free installment plan!
Yours in art,
* The gallery has been closed for decades but was most successful in its day.