"All in a Dream" By Susannah Paterson, Mixed Media on Arches Paper
44" x 30.3"
Pastel, Charcoal and Gesso on Arches Paper
Susannah Paterson (b. 1960, Scotland) is an internationally represented Scottish Australian painter and ceramicist living in
Sydney, Australia. She creates vibrant and powerful paintings referring to dream states and symbolic narratives. As a ceramicist, she makes individual functional or sculptural pieces.
"I have always been a dreamer - probably to counter a difficult and unusual childhood. I was born into a Scottish Highland farming family and was packed off to an English boarding
school from the age of 8. My parents were divorced and both remarried - my father remaining on the farm in Scotland, and my mother moving to London, marrying a jazz pianist and living a very bohemian life. It was the stark contrast of these two existences that I found refuge in the creative - dreams, fantasy, music, stories and art, always looking for silver linings and treasure in the mineshaft of loneliness." - Susannah Paterson
After a career in the music industry promoting live concerts, she moved to Australia in 1995, and began to study psychotherapy concurrently with painting. She attended art school (Brookvale TAFE) for 2 years, but found the system stifling, so she left
to continue developing her art on her own and with the sometimes tough mentoring of the late Australian artist Kerrie Lester.
Once she became a therapist, Susannah found herself learning to look for jewels in a different way. She wanted to find the golden thread of hope and insight that would provide healing and vision for her client. Now, on her third career as a painter and a ceramicist, she is on a new quest to find treasures somewhere in between the marks she makes, her own dreams, and conscious skill.
As a therapist, she studied hypnotherapy, trance and dream states as a path to healing. She uses this knowledge now to allow a painting to tell her what it wants to be. Whilst they all
begin in the same way, some of the works are taken into symbolic narratives, suggested by the painting itself, whilst others are left in their evocative state. All the time she is looking
for potential beauty, intrigue, or a narrative which provides a vehicle for conversation and reflection. She paints about infinity, and the infinite possibilities therein, working from a chaotic
and unknown beginning, towards meaning and balance.
Her ceramics are more traditional and they keep her grounded and centred. She is exploring ways to integrate the paintings and the pottery more, and has begun to paint snippets of her favourite bits from images onto large wheel thrown platters. She does see the creative process as an analogy of life.
We are all born by chance, into some sort of chaos. Everything is unknown. The challenge for us is to create something
meaningful and satisfying from the chaos and our inherited “marks”.. She is obsessed with colour and emotions and the need to keep drawing the viewer’s attention, as she might have
drawn a client’s attention to what is unseen, unexpressed, invisible and what has the potential and infinite possibility to create something powerful.