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Susannah Paterson Profile Art Lovers Australia

Susannah Paterson

Curl Curl, NSW

I am a painter, a potter living in and working from my home studio in Curl Curl on Sydney’s Northern Beaches,
I paint in two distinct styles  – one is abstract and the other more realistic. They are both expressive aspects of dream states and dreamscapes, the unconscious mind, and what lies beyond our ordinary states of awareness.

I am also a Potter  and I make whimsical animal sculptures called Dogimals (often appearing in my paintings), functional ware, and large hand painted plates.

 

Artworks: 91


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About Susannah Paterson

I am Scottish Australian painter and ceramicist living on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I create vibrant and powerful paintings about dream states and the symbolic, often evoking comparisons to the work of  Marc Chagall.

I was born into a Scottish Highland farming family and packed off to an English boarding school at the age of 8. My parents were divorced and both remarried – my father remaining in Scotland, and my mother moving to London, marrying a jazz pianist and living a very bohemian life. It was the stark contrast of these three existences that I found refuge in the creative – dreams, fantasy, music, stories and art. 

I left school at 15, and began adult life working in the equestrian world. At the age of 18  I attended secretarial college. As much as I hated shorthand and typing, it did help me get a job in the music industry where I stayed for 10 years working for concert promoters in Scotland and Australia. I moved permanently to Australia in 1995, and began to study psychotherapy concurrently with painting. I attended art school (TAFE), but found the system stifling, so after two years I left to continue developing my art practice on my own terms.  The late Kerrie Lester is a much missed mentor .

Psychotherapy had pitched me into the world of human suffering and the quest for healing and transformation. I wanted to find that light in the darkness and the golden thread of hope and insight for my clients and myself.  I have studied hypnotherapy, trance, meditation and dream states in great depth and I use this knowledge now to allow a painting to tell me what it wants to be. 

All the paintings begin in the same slightly chaotic way, some are taken into a symbolic narrative suggested by the painting itself, whilst others are left in their evocative abstract state. All the time I am looking for that potential, whether it is beauty, intrigue, or something providing a vehicle for conversation and reflection. Much like the therapeutic process, I work from a chaotic and unknown beginning, towards meaning and balance, using colour and form to create dreamlike images. 

I do see the creative process as an analogy of life. We are all born by chance, into some sort of chaos. Everything is unknown. The challenge for us is to create something meaningful and satisfying from the chaos and our inherited “marks”.  I am obsessed with colour and emotions and the need to keep drawing the viewer’s attention , as I might have drawn a client’s attention to what is unseen, unexpressed, invisible and what has the potential and infinite possibility to create something powerful.

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