About Susan: Philosophy

The Message within Susan’s Paintings

As seen in her book ‘The Art of Susan Harrison-Tustain’ featuring her latest collection of paintings.

For the Connoisseur

There are many truths about painting – I believe the enduring strength and appeal of any painting relies on a ‘connection’ between the subject, the artist and their ability to be able to convey feeling and emotion to those who come to ponder the work.

In my work, you will find more than a collection of paintings – each is a narrative and has a story and an emotion I wish to reveal. Those who view my work interpret each piece, applying their own history and experience. The important factor is that the paintings engage the viewer and create involvement and hopefully – in particular – a feeling of being there ‘in the moment’.

The undeniable inspiration behind each piece is emotion and humanity. These paintings can be viewed on many levels, the deeper you travel into the work, the more absorbed you can become and the greater the reward. Despite no person being present in some pieces, you will be aware and feel a familiarity of a person in the objects and atmosphere I have chosen. An example of this is ‘For the Connoisseur’.

I Didn’t Hear You Leave

Intriguingly ‘I Didn’t Hear You Leave’ initially appears to be about the figure in the bed -a cool passage of light amongst a mellow, warm interior subtly draws the viewer’s awareness to the empty space beside her. The painting asks a question.

Many of my paintings invite a quiet introspection – although subtle – this influences the entire consciousness of the painting.

Enchanté Par la Provence

‘Enchanté Par la Provence’ is about elegance, grace and femininity. This is not a portrait of one specific person – it is a painting that speaks of many things – all of which are timelessly feminine. This could have been painted 100 years ago – or a 100 years hence. An enduring sense of peace and belonging is the strength of this piece.

Windfall

‘Windfall’ is an example of defining something almost indefinable. How does one create an impulse in the viewer of one’s work? To spur the overwhelming compulsion to flick off a layer of peeling paint was a fascinating challenge. I want the viewers of my work to have a sense of living the moment.

I love to pare away the layers, remove the mask and expose what is true and real – without affectation. This invites involvement and a merging and blurring of the past and the present.

I once dreamed of being able to create paintings that would speak to those who viewed them. I set about teaching myself how to paint the ‘intangible’. A sensitively painted piece cannot be confined within a frame. I came to understand that what is said about a painting is far less important than the silences and emotions it inspires. What I learned was how painting what I feel and what I see as real and true can captivate those who love art – but equally as important – how an intelligent composition will allow paintings to live in the memories of those who have seen them – long after leaving their presence. It is like a painted verse – a silent poetry that speaks through emotion and a connection between artist, the subject and the viewer.

I hope you find joy, beauty and truth in my work.

Susan Harrison-Tustain

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