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Susan Clare

9 February 2023

This meeting was a bit different for us.  We joined up with Guildford and Woking Art Societies for a Zoom demonstration from the artist's studio in Jamaica! This shows distance is no object when we want to see what artists are up to around the world.

Susan started by giving us a view out of her window, over the lush vegetation surrounding her studio.  She talked about how she came to have a home in Jamaica, and how important the ocean reef and the wildlife is to her.  Her source material (shown below next to her painting) were underwater photographs taken by a friend.  Because she felt there was a grey, empty space in the main photo, she decided to use the boulder coral and feather star in the other photo to add interest.  From these, she sketched out her composition in pencil before starting her painting.   

She talked a little about the materials and tools she uses.  For the demonstration she was working on plyboard, primed with a thin acrylic mix of turquoise, white and cobalt blue.  Using large brushes load with a mix of different blues and blocky brush strokes, she painted in the background, and then the yellow tube sponges in the foreground, using a palette knife.  The boulder coral was also painted with a palette knife, the texture added by dabbing little holes over the surface and for the feather star, Susan used the knife on its edge for the delicate fronds.  She outlined the darker fish first, then the lighter coloured fish were added using a smaller brush.

While she worked, Susan gave us a fascinating explanation of the ecosystems in the Caribbean coral reefs, including the damaging effects of pollution.  She said that painting an underwater scene was like 'going on a dive with an artist's eyes' and today nearly 80 of us had been diving with her!

Susan Clare Demo1.png
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