Mediums: oil on canvas, drawing mediums
Style: figurative and abstract
I can draw a bit and I can paint a bit, but I'm always learning more. Painting seems to be either the exciting struggle to bring a commissioned portrait to life, with the constraints of getting a resemblance and the wonderful sense of achievement when it comes together, balanced by the sheer joy of abstracts, putting colour onto a canvas and just letting things happen. The following images are abstracts for purely selfish reasons - Suzy Southerton loves to paint!
Can you remember painting or drawing as a child?
I vividly remember enjoying drawing and colouring in when I was at primary school. I was good at it and I had a very steady hand. When I was a bit older I used to copy pictures of models from my Mums' Vogue and Cosmopolitan magazines, good practice for getting perspective right.
What music do you listen to while creating art?
I love listening to trance music, the clue's probably in the title; it helps me go into a zone.. but no more than two glasses of wine whilst painting or else I tend to muck things up.
How would you like others to interpret your art?
I don't really know, it's up to the beholder to interpret my work. Sometimes I paint with a narrative, but these abstracts are escapism I guess. There's certainly a journey involved. Sometimes to me they become earthy or aquatic, but it depends on the colours I'm using.
Please let us know about your creation process.
I get in the mood by listening to music. I open the drawers and inspect my oils. I'll then take tubes out and start mixing colours (if I like what's happening on the palette it's normally very promising) and finally I lay my canvases out side-by-side and choose a paintbrush (the size and shape of the brush is really important btw!). Sometimes the canvases will have a turpsy wash in Sienna on them to distract from the expanse of white, but generally I already have an idea of how the brush will flow... in time with the music of course. It all sounds quite ritualistic but I need to get the first marks down correctly, or else I will end up scraping it all off again at the end of the evening. A triptych can take a few weeks to complete because I work and so painting is done in my spare time, unfortunately. One last thing, I tend to go for balance and beauty - harsh abstracts haven't featured... yet!
What inspires you?
Music, colour, nature, people, a beautiful landscape (although I have never tried doing a landscape, I am smitten with scenery), and finally the simple act of making marks. Occasionally emotions have a hold and will come out - quite fiercely and suddenly.
I've taken part in lots of exhibitions since 2002, mostly in the South of England and London, a fair few in Northern Ireland where I studied, but not so many in the last few years.
Have you sold much of your art?
I've sold a lot of pictures, mainly through word of mouth, once you get known then people will approach you. My problem has always been that my husband is in the Forces and we move every 2 - 3 years. I am going to start using the internet a lot more.
How do you use the internet for promoting art?
I have started a Facebook page and want to submit work to on-line galleries which will hopefully give me honest and constructive feedback. I'm new at this so it will take a bit of time to get things going.
I love Jenny Saville's work, she is figurative in a big way! Mark Ainsworth, a tutor of mine was so influential and is a wonderful abstract artist.
Please tell us about another artist you are inspired by.
Caravaggio is one of my all-time heroes, his dramatic paintings always inspire me when I'm in London at the National Gallery... I also always try and go to the National Portrait Gallery as well. Damian Hirst's dot paintings are wonderfully clean and contemporary and dots seem to figure in my abstracts a lot too. Dots and circles are my thing.
Has there been anything annoying said to you about your art?
Can we haggle on the price? I find it hard enough talking money, so it's embarrassing when people, especially friends, want mate's rates. Yes, I can lower the price, but then I'm giving it away.
Not really - I regret doing things only to please other people. One should never compromise and never get too complacent.
What plans do you have for the future?
To keep on painting, and enjoy it. If I can start selling on a larger scale then yes of course I'd love to be doing it full-time...we'll see!
Advice for emerging artists
Suzanne Southerton Artist - Inner Abstractions
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Southertonart