SUSAN OLIVER, pictured left, ahead of the South Norwood Arts Festival, outlines how she discovered her own artistic bliss
Most people know me as a gardener and bee-keeper. But quietly, in the background, I’ve been seeking my own personal revolution through art.
It’s something I’ve been doing since 1990 – a full two decades – and for most of that time, it was painful. I had a deep longing to draw and paint but there was always something in the way.
I found it difficult to find subjects that I wanted to draw, I was never satisfied with my skill, or some other frustration arose. Although I found other things to do like knitting or singing, they never quite reached the scratch.
Am I any good? To be honest, I’m having too much fun to care. That was one of the problems – waaaaaay too much judgement.
And that searching for subjects? Omigawd! How was that even possible? One of the greatest gifts of art is that it encourages you to see – and value – so much more. Doing art encourages the mind to value the world and its vast array of forms and colours. I am surrounded by inspiration now.
To me, that is art’s greatest gift: its transformative powers. It changes one’s perception; it enriches how you see; it moves the mind to greener pastures. It also helps you develop your own personal value system as opposed to relying on the values commonly held in society. In late 2012, I wrote a small book called That Spark of Life – Developing the Desire to Do Art.
It’s a manifesto of the principles that I relied on in developing my own desire to do art, mainly focusing on the fun and joy of it and being totally authentic.
Most importantly, I’ll show how art is such a wise and empowering teacher. I’m bringing lots of examples of my work – both notebooks and finished pieces – to prove that I practice what I preach.
I’m very happy that we’re being hosted by the Gold Coast Restaurant, one of my favourite restaurants. I highly recommend the pepper chicken; it’s scotch-bonnet heaven-on-a-plate.
- Susan Oliver will be giving her talk on Tuesday, July 2, at 7.30pm at the Gold Coast Restaurant, 224 Portland Road, South Norwood, SE25 4QB as part of the South Norwood Arts Festival, which is being sponsored by People for Portland Road.
- For a complete programme, click here
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