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Suzanne Lane, A Brush With Nature


How artist Suzanne Lane captures the beautiful St Ives bushland in her artwork.



We meet Suzanne Lane, St Ives artist

Local artist, Suzanne Lane, is a lover of nature and finds such joy from being out in the surrounding bushland. She translates this love into her beautiful artworks which are often exhibited in the local St Ives Shopping Village.


Suzanne’s passion for art spans many decades having attended The National Art School in the 60’s and exhibiting widely in the 70’s, including joint exhibitions with her artist mother and being a Finalist in major exhibitions such as the Archibald, Sulman and Portia Geach exhibitions. She taught Secondary School Visual Arts for over 30 years. Suzanne is this edition’s cover artist, so we sat down with her to understand her journey and artistic process. 


You’re part of the Ku-ring-gai Art Society (KAS). What is a core value of the KAS that you want people to know about?


It was only after I retired from my position as a local high school art teacher that I had time to return to my passion for painting and exhibiting. I wanted to be an active member of KAS, so I immediately joined the committee and became part of the team organising and installing the exhibitions. KAS is a community of like-minded people with a passion for art and I have made life-long friendships since joining. 


What do you think is special about the St Ives Shopping Village exhibiting your work and other local artist's pieces?


KAS has had a long association with the St Ives Shopping Village for nearly 50 years. They are an amazing team to work with and have been a huge sponsor and support to our society throughout the years, especially during our major awards exhibition in July and providing us with our new gallery space.


The locals are also great art lovers, purchasing works and attending our exhibitions. It is so good to have such an appreciative viewing audience, especially when children take an interest and discuss the works!


Suzanne Lane painting of St Ives scene

How do you decide which bushland scenes to capture in your art?


I choose subjects that I am most familiar with. I walk straight out of my house and into the bush and often suddenly see a familiar scene from a new perspective or in a different light. I like to create atmosphere and to show the patterns in nature rather than replicate a scene.

The birds and animals are often present around our house as well and we often have to chase a lyrebird, turkey and water dragon out of our home on occasion!

 

Tell us why you love showcasing the St Ives flora and fauna in your artwork?


I have lived in the area (North Turramurra) for 40 years. When you’re out in the bushland environment you often see the local fauna and it is so abundant because we are adjoining the amazing Ku-ring-gai National Park. Lyrebirds, lizards, brush turkeys, magpies, echidnas, and wallabies…. they are all an endless source of inspiration! The angophoras at this time of year are also one of my favourite subjects. Did I mention the flannel flowers?


What do you hope viewers of your artwork feel when they engage with your pieces?


I paint subjects to which I have had an emotional response, so I hope to share these feelings with the viewer and to create an atmosphere through the visual elements of colour, tone and pattern. I want to create an immersive experience that heightens the senses so that it feels like you are surrounded by the place yourself. 


Artist Suzanne Lane Sydney artwork

A lot of your artwork integrates almost 3D looking elements with the gum leaves and some of the animals you depict. Can you talk about this process?


I am always conscious of the fact that I am depicting a 3D subject on a 2D surface, and I like to play with the notion of illusion and to juxtapose expressive fluid brushstrokes against hard-edged flat shapes that appear to float above the surface. I also like to explore the positive/negative portrayal of a subject. I am always exploring new ways of representation.


If you had to pick, what’s your favourite Australian animal to capture in your artwork?


How do I choose a favourite animal? My favourite is the one I am working on at the time! I have come to love and interact with so many animals in my local environment: the dancing lyrebird tapping at the window; the water dragon watching from a rock as I hang out the washing; the turkey strutting past, hoping to scavenge a morsel.


What’s your favourite time of the day to capture in your artwork?


Each time of day creates a new atmosphere, even the rainy days are special, but the slanting rays of light in the morning and late afternoon often provide a sudden flash of colour that can add excitement to a composition, especially when the angophoras are at their brightest!


Bush painting by Suzanne Lane

What colours do you love painting with the most to capture Australian nature?


The Australian Impressionists in the late 19th century were the first to recognise the unique colours of the Australian bush and we still see the bush through their eyes, the blue, gold and those dusty greens!


Which is your favourite walking track in St Ives? 


There are many walking trails around St Ives, but nothing beats the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden for both ease of access and variety of terrain, from tree fern gullies and creeks to the more open scrubland. There is always a surprise encounter with one or two of the local animals, a wallaby or a red-tailed cockatoo! It is a magical place to explore with children.


Thank you, Suzanne Lane, for sharing your story. See more of Suzanne's work here.



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