Art for heart’s sake: seeing the world afresh

Susan Oliver Susan DavisSUSAN 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.

Grapes artBut in 2010, I had a breakthrough. Gradually, it became easier to draw and I began to do art more and for longer periods. Now I can draw for a couple of hours without breaking sweat.

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.

Oliver art 2To 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.

Purple ship corrected artI’ll be giving a talk about my artistic pilgrimage during the up-coming South Norwood Arts Festival. I’ll also explain what I think artistic frustration is and suggest some steps to overcome it.

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.

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2 Responses to Art for heart’s sake: seeing the world afresh

  1. Well done Sue, you’re always very courageous opening yourself up. I like the examples, I now fancy some grapes. Are you exhibiting at South Norwood? Or put on an exhibition at Clocktower Cafe.

  2. Thank you Andrew! Not courageous – just totally bonkers about art! 🙂

    I am putting up a few things during SNAF but they’re some pictures I did last year.

    I don’t know when I’ll be having a new show – but I’ll definitely let you know when it happens. Many thanks for your support.

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