Hello! I’m Sue, a contemporary artist, inspired by the wild beauty of the natural landscape which I believe brings nourishment, joy and peace to our lives. Responding to these natural influences, in my Cambridge studio, I create original land and seascape artworks that convey this emotional connection – to capture the essence of a moment in nature.Sue and Mary in conversation over a cuppa at Sue’s studio …..
Q: What do you love most about being an artist?
A: As an artist I love the inspiration I find through deep connection with Nature’s beauty, which I believe brings nourishment joy and peace to our daily lives. Responding to these natural influences, in my Cambridge studio, I create land and seascape paintings that convey this emotional connection.
Painting is my meditation, a way to free my spirit and connect with my process, to calm the mind and find sanctuary, especially in the unprecedented times we have all been living through.
Q: How long have you been painting?
A: I have been creating art for about 15 years, initially as a hobby. Then, steadily developing my creative practice, I started working as a self-employed artist from about 2013 onwards.
Q: Which artists are you most influenced by?
A: There are many artists that inspire my own work, perhaps most significant influences include David Hockney, Matisse, Monet, Cezanne and Picasso, as well as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: A thought provoking question, but most important, to believe in yourself and your creativity…and just do it!
Q: Did you always want to be an artist?
A: An interesting question! When I was at art school, I aspired to be more of a designer, and it took some time to explore different media and making before I discovered that I loved creating with paint!
Q: Are there any little tips or tricks you’ve learned over the years, that would help or inspire budding artists?
A: The advice I would give is to develop your marketing and promotional skills as this is very important to growing a thriving creative practice. On my creative journey I have learned so much from joining on-line communities, memberships and courses, both for marketing and for honing and developing my painting skills.We never stop learning.
Q: Tell us about your workspace – what do you like about it?
A: I work from a beautiful light-filled studio which was built in 2016.I have floor to ceiling folding doors which I can open on warm days and let the natural light and surrounding garden in. My studio is a wonderful dedicated workspace to nurture my creativity, and it’s made a huge difference to growing my creative practice and business.
Q: Do you listen to music when you’re painting?
A: I tend to listen to Radio 4 mostly, and sometimes various podcasts.There are also times when I need complete silence to work, particularly when I am painting.
Q: Do you use photo references?
A: In my creative process I sketch, take photos, but ultimately I respond to my memories and feelings. The time I spend in the natural landscape, I explore with all my senses, and this is really where my creative practice begins.
Q: What subjects inspire you?
A: The natural landscape near and far, inland and by the sea.I am always interested in responding to the movement and feeling of the place I am in.
Q: How important are titles to your paintings?
A: I would say that a painting is not complete until it has been given a title.For my process, this usually happens when a collection of paintings is nearly finished.I will ‘brainstorm’ ideas and write about the new body of work.Through this process the words and titles evolve that ‘speak’ to the work.
Q: What do you personally find the most challenging thing about being an artist?
A: I enjoy my own space and time to paint.But with the need to work alone for periods of time, I find it is important to try and mix things up with social time with friends and family.I can feel a little isolated sometimes.
Q: What’s the highlight of your career so far, or your proudest moment?
A: Summer 2017: Addenbrooke’s Arts approached me to acquire two large oil paintings from my Spring 2017 collection for a new Treatment Unit at the hospital. Part of a major re-development funded by their charity Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT, I am delighted that my artwork is enhancing private patient spaces to bring and uplifting feeling and sense of calm. It is such an honour to know that these paintings will be appreciated by those who visit the unit. They are providing a calming and nourishing experience
Q: You launched your 2020 collection this year and by all accounts it was a success (it’s not part of this exhibition), do you have any future plans for 2021 that you would like to share with us?
A: The vision for my NEW Twenty20 Collection of oil paintings is very much connected with my planned launch painting workshops earlier this year, which had to be postponed due to the pandemic. However, I will now be launching these exciting new painting workshops both in-person here at the studio and virtual events from Spring 2021.
Q: How would you describe your artwork to someone sitting across the dinner table that had never seen your artwork before?
A: I am a contemporary artist inspired by the wild beauty of the natural landscape, which I believe brings nourishment joy and peace to our daily lives. I translate these natural influences in an expressive way, using my visual memory and emotions to capture the essence of a moment in nature – to create a response, a feeling, an emotion. Building layers and textures with strokes of my palette knife I create movement and a sense of actually being there in the landscape.
Q: What is your favourite piece in your collection for your artist of the month exhibition at Wonky Wheel Gallery, and why?
A: For this transitional month of September, we start to experience a seasonal shift from Summer to Autumn. This is reflected in the choice of artworks curated for this show. From the vibrancy of meadow-inspired artworks to the heart-warming mellow tones of Autumnal landscapes.
For me, there are two favourites: “Transcendent Beauty”, which captures the harmony of the morning sunlight filtering through the lush meadow greenery to bring a sense of calm and peace to these Summer moments remembered. And, “As Night Falls”, which brings the drama and contrasts of earth and sky. There is a feeling of wide open space, lines and patterns to trace and follow, and a meditative moment to look, listen, and breathe in the beauty of this seasonal piece.
Sue Rapley Artist of the month exhibition will run from 1st September to 30th September 2020 at Wonky Wheel Gallery in Finchingfield.
Our opening event is on Tuesday 1st September with an Instagram live where we will show and talk you through the collection at Wonky Wheel and we’d love for you to drop in with a cup of tea and sit back and enjoy the collection...
You can find out more about Sue and her available paintings by clicking here