Artwork Description

Birds have been a source of fascination for me for many years, and I am very lucky to have over sixty species visiting me at my home in the Gold Coast hinterland. As an artist, birds are a never-ending source of inspiration, with their vast range of forms and colours, and of course their individual personalities and unique behaviours. I am happiest with my work when my paintings bring together many things that I love. These include, firstly, a delight in the natural world surrounding me. The Gold Coast hinterland is an area rich in sub-tropical forests and streams, full of life, colour and pattern. Layers of colour and pattern underlie my paintings, often combining natural plant forms with other elements from different times and cultures. My current work brings together a diverse range of influences including Asian philosophy and traditional art, textile pattern, bird-watching and the phenomenology of perception. As with most of my current work, this painting includes some areas of reflective metallic paint which gives the painting a changeable appearance under different light conditions. My work goes through four processes (at least) Firstly, I create an abstract colour background using vibrant lithographic inks with solvent to create fluid organic effects. Then I work with my ever growing library of custom made stencils – sometimes plant forms, sometimes abstract or classical patterns. In creating these backgrounds, which I think of as abstract paintings in their own right, I try to build up interesting layers of forms, patterns and colours, so that the eye looks through depths of space, and nothing is fully grasped in the instant. This is how our visual systems work, glimpses, and layers, and things half-seen. When I am happy with the background, then it is time to consider what bird subject it suggests to me. I paint the birds as realistically as my skills permit. I enjoy the contrast of a realistically detailed and modeled bird "popping" out of an abstract painting. The final stage is to re-balance the work tonally so that the subjects sit happily with the background.


oil paint over a background of lithographic ink and aerosol on stretched canvas, unframed, ready to hang.

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Ready to hang

This artwork is ready to hang.

Susan Skuse

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