Take Five with Susan Clare

Posted on 31 July, 2019 at 4:30

Susan Clare is an artist working in watercolours, acrylics and mixed media. She has the enviable lifestyle of splitting her time between England and Jamaica and this can be seen in a duality of her work. On the one hand, Susan captures the vivid sights, colours and atmosphere of the Carribbean, whilst on the other, she conjures up the subtlety and charm of the English countryside. The constant thread throughout her work, aside from its skill and beauty, is  Susan's deep love of and commitment to nature, which she describes as being "immersed in the mystery of the natural world". Her work has won several awards and can be found in private collections in Jamaica, the Caribbean, England, USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and Iceland.

Susan also teaches and runs workshops when she is in the UK. She is the resident tutor at the Butterfly Arts studio in Terling and runs her own fortnightly workshops at HOFS in Hadleigh, Essex. She also runs full day workshops for the RHS Hyde Hall and for Arts and Craft Days. She is available for talks and painting demos for art clubs.

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

As a professional, the moment when you see that flash of excitement in a viewer’s eyes – whether as a student or a collector, and you know that your painting has connected with them on an emotional level.


As a painter, there is nothing to beat becoming totally immersed in the mystery of the creative process and time flies by without my awareness of it.


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?


My next door neighbour and mentor in Jamaica, Jannette Eyles, is a fabulous sculptor and painter, who trained at the RA and has work in the collection of Her Majesty, The Queen. Apart from allowing me to paint from her studio for months, when I started to paint full time, in 1997, she imparted the invaluable habit of starting the creative day with a walk in the garden and a meditation (Blue Mountain Coffee to hand, of course). Amongst other programs, we have both worked through Julia Cameron’s, ‘The Artist’s Way’, more than once, when in need of a creative boost. (Is that cheating? I’ve got two heroines there!)

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Don’t paint to chase the market or what you think people want to see – paint from the heart and find an emotional connection with every piece of work.

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Take ten deep breaths and get centred, then ask myself, “What’s the core message, what’s important, here?” Usually this boils down to remembering to focus on appreciating and connecting with the natural world, respect for life, respect for each other. Focusing on those core motives for a few minutes, has the potential to dissolve any artistic block, (not to mention setting the whole world to rights, too!)

And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?


A hand-made Jamaican sandal – unique but friendly, casual and fun, made for fresh air, an outdoor life and lots of walking, ready to slip off for a quick dip in the sea!


Categories: Take Five