Monday, 21 October 2013

Add a Splash of Joy: Susanne Clark

Susanne Clark, born and raised in a small town in New Zealand, attributes her inclination towards art to time spent dwelling in old-fashioned art rather than watching TV. When she was young, she would sit for hours and ask her father to draw items fascinating her to no end.

"Although completely untaught, he could draw almost anything really well, another skill he had was playing the piano. Without the distraction of a TV, I spent a lot of time in my early years drawing!" 

The Old Men (Clay - 1984)

"I have always been interested in art; although, I was unable to follow it as a career, I would do something every so often over the years when my family was young. Once they started to leave the nest, I was able to spend more time pursuing this interest. Above is one of my very early works in clay, 'The Old Men,' done around 1984."

Distant Vista (Collagraph handprint - 2013)

At school, an amazing nun encouraged Susanne to indulge in her love of art. The school she attended had no real art program, but the teacher enabled Susanne to attend the art program at another college close to the school, so she could take Art for School Certificate: a major set of exams in New Zealand. 

Aggregation in Red (Acrylic on cavas - 2013)

Susanne's parents couldn't foresee a lucrative career in art and dissuaded her from pursuing further education in art. Many years later, when she moved to Canada in 1990, she had the opportunity to study art under the guise of Art Therapy based on Rudolph Steiner's ideas taught in Waldorf Schools. Studying art in this form opened up a whole new vista to Susanne. Further learning occurred when she spent five years in the UK. There she was able to study twice a week under Doug Wales, an amazing artist and teacher and also benefit from the teachings of master printmaker, Peter Wray RE.

Untitled (Conte on paper - 1991)

"In 2001, we moved to the UK, and I began painting with a group in Harrogate. It was a time of experimentation."

Whether it was the course in art therapy or the consistent indulgence in producing art in any form, Susanne's inner artist found a way out into the world of art. Experimentation in one medium lead to attraction towards other media and the colours within Susanne's being burst forth on canvas in remarkable ways. 

Flow (Collagraph handprint - 2013)

The colours she uses represent an invitation. The collagraph handprints exude a warmth welcoming the viewers into the microcosm within the print. It's a happy world, and it is open to interpretation by the viewers. They can find comfort and protection within. Indeed, the company of prominent artists and teachers and the influence of art therapy helped Susanne filter happiness into her work, that happiness eventually filters into the viewers' eye and finds its way into their heart.

Jazzy Cello from the series entitled 'Musical'

Works from her 'Musical Series' have been used all over the world to promote musical events and concerts, as CD covers and even as a cookbook cover for a Cello Society.

"My creative process depends on the medium I am working in as well as the kind of piece I am looking to create. For more realistic work, I draw first and work out a composition from these drawings moving things around until I get it how I want it. 'The Musical' works are an example of this. For non-objective pieces I usually choose a combination of colours I am drawn to and let it flow from there."

Susanne invites viewers to get up close and personal with her work and to interpret in any way it pleases them. She feels it is important to give the viewer a free hand at interpreting the work of art as they wish to. 

Dried Bananas (pastel on paper - 2002)

"I attended an amazing series of workshops at the company where my husband worked called 'Investment in Excellence.' They were developed and presented by Lou Tice of the Pacific Institute in Seattle. They were outstanding and life changing for most people, so I combined these ideas into what I had learned with the Art Therapy training and developed a series of art workshops focussed on using art for personal development. I taught these in Ottawa for eight years."     

Susanne loves using the Kimono as her canvas. Why the Kimono? Because it gives her a wide canvas and the colours used in traditional Kimonos are close to the colours Susanne has used in many of her works. 

Kimono (Collagraph handprint)

"In the early eighties, I visited Japan and loved their sense of design. While living in the UK I was inspired to make a Kimono printmaking plate by an amazing Kimono exhibition I had seen in Ottawa some years ago. I had great fun making these plates and choosing the colours to print them in. It was a little like being a dress designer."

Fractured Cello (used to promote Sinfonico 2012)

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