Over the past few months, our nation has relished the opportunity to fill our newly gifted spare time with creativity. Amongst some of the most explored activities has to be painting and drawing, after all art is for everyone – you just have to learn.
Here at Create98 we have been busy running live, online classes during the lockdown period. As always our wonderful tutor Susan Allen has been helping people to stay creative, with her weekly portraits in pen and wash, and watercolour classes, as well as her hugely popular ‘Prosecco and Paint’.
Therefore we thought it would be a great time to catch up with Susan and learn a bit more about how she became the amazing artist she is today.
Susan, great to speak to you. For those who don’t yet know you, how did your career begin?
“I have always loved drawing and making things, ever since I was a child. Then when I went to High School I had a Tutor who introduced me to painting, and I never looked back. I studied Fine Art at college in Vancouver, where I grew up, and then went on to do my degree at the Ontario College of Art. I was really lucky to spend the third year of my degree studying in Florence Italy, an experience I will never forget. I went on to pursue a career in art, exhibiting my work and starting a small business, before I then moved to England and had a family. Since then I have gone on to have a wonderful career, both creating my own work and using my experience to teach others.”
What a wonderful career so far. What is the focus and inspiration for your own artwork?
“I have a passion for landscape pictures, in particular of Leigh-on-Sea and other British coastal areas. I am drawn to work that borders on the edge of both realism and abstraction. I love the tide and the patterns it allows me to create – using angles, broken lines and different brush strokes. To me it’s important to reflect so many different elements in my work, including my mood, the time, the weather – all of these can have such an impact. At the moment I am working on my ‘Tide and Time’ series alongside my ‘Short Stories’ series; inspired by people and their reactions to their environment.”
When you’re teaching, what is it that you think students get from your classes?
“I think it’s the support that a class provides. Even with online classes, which are currently the norm, you have me and the rest of your class on hand to guide you through, and even in a short space of time you can create so much. I truly believe that art is for everyone, there is so much you can learn and so many
ways you can expand upon your current skills, whether you’re a beginner or more experienced. Art is great for your mental health too, the relaxation and positivity that it encourages is just something else!”
That sounds wonderful, and finally what about art in Leigh-on-Sea? It’s such a creative, vibrant area, is there anything else people should know about?
“As an exhibiting artist with Two Tree Gallery, I am so pleased to see it reopening after having to close its doors during lockdown. It’s located right in the heart of our town and celebrates some very talented local artists. It will be open every Saturday going forward, and at other times when you book an appointment in advance. As this year’s Art Trail has sadly been cancelled, this is giving artists like myself a wonderful opportunity to showcase our pieces within our community.”
Susan has been a Tutor with Create98 since we began and runs a number of classes throughout the week. To find out more about her classes, please visit our website.