hELLO! I’m suzanne

 

 

 

I help people illuminate their life with the light of their resonant colours & joy of creative expression, so they can restore their sense of meaning and live well. 

I believe in…

…meditative visual art as a mind-calming and soul-soothing practice 

…Inspiring people during times of  change so they can replenish and move forward with a renewed sense of purpose

…helping professionals re-ignite their creativity so they can experience the well-being benefits of fulfilling self-expression

…helping people nurture their creativity and build skills so they can paint from who they are and what they love.

…guiding my people to freedom of self- expression, gaining confidence as they see what they can do

 

A professional Artist, Journey Accredited Life Coach & former university lecturer in drawing & painting, Suzanne has been teaching visual art and mentoring artists since 2006. After a major life transition through 2011-12, her teaching approach shifted to nurture creativity through mindfulness, meditative art & abstraction. Suzanne innovated her Nurturing Creativity Method and Creativity Coaching Framework which are foundational to her courses and VIP Retreats. 

My story…

As a young Physiotherapist, I was also an avid student of drawing. Enthralled by the work of Leonardo da Vinci since my mother gave me a book about him when I was 14 years old, I dreamed of going to Art School in Florence. Ten years later, I went. It was hard but rewarding.

On returning, I did the ‘sensible’ thing and married, set up private practice with a colleague and a few years later had my daughter Rose. I continued working as a Physio for several more years. However, my marriage had failed, I had chronic neck pain from an old injury and my hands hurt. Plus my passion for painting was growing. I knew I had to change track.

During this time, I met Bev Raward, who became my painting mentor, and also Laurie Redgrave, a Royal Academy Watercolourist who became my teacher for several years. I recall taking a life-changing week off with the sole purpose of just painting, I felt SO inspired!

Taking a few large leaps of faith over a couple of years, I had my first exhibition, sold the practice and went to Art School. We lived in a converted shed, and after a year moved to art school in another city. Bev died after a long awful illness.

As a BVA student, I worked very long hours and gradually became unwell. On graduating, and even winning prestigious awards, ironically I felt a long way from my true art practice. My solution – the best I knew at the time – was to learn more, and work harder!

Consequently, I went into a doctoral program at the university where I taught. I’d commenced my practitioner training with The Journey and the guided self-enquiry method led me to the revelation that I wanted to paint what love looked like; the light in everything. This led to my dissertation and exhibition ‘Painting Light, Touching Space’ and the making many luminous paintings over ten years, including ‘Love in the Time of Quanta’, a finalist in the 59th Blake Prize.

I mentored, tutored and lectured in Visual Arts alongside my research. However, around the time of my doctoral examination, I found a small lump, and soon forgot about it. I’d met the love of my life and he eclipsed most things! 

The following year I got the diagnosis of cancer, had surgery and went through treatment with Grant’s steadfast support. However, the year after that, he died suddenly of a heart attack. My own heart fractured and I was in shock –  foggy, anxious and confused. Grief descended, followed by a long dark night of the soul.

After a few months, I began to write and draw again, very small, tentatively starting again …He inspired me, as did the many moths that kept me company through the wee hours.

After teaching a 5-day intensive painting course at a private school, I went on to create the work I still feel passionate about now. My first private meditative art workshop (2012)  was based on the intuitive methods I’d discovered during radiation. Simple and easy, the methods provided surprising respite from grief and anxiety. 

Over the next few years, I travelled a lot; deepened my coaching skills, had solo exhibitions, saw some amazing art internationally and was artist-in-residence at Hill End and in Tuscany, Italy.

My sessional work at the Art School ended just before I delivered my first creativity workshop for 20 academics. Well received, I developed my own system, Method and three levels of meditative art courses with nurturing creativity, presenting locally, interstate and internationally (2015-16). Presenting a 2-week retreat in Florence and a weekend course for a Franciscan community in Germany were dreams come true!

Honoured to study with Zen Master, author and teacher of East Asian Calligraphy Kaz Tanahashi at Berkeley and Tassajara Zen Centre – my hands actually stopped shaking after the first week. I visited my long-distance mentor, friend and painter Deborah Barlow in Boston, and thanks to her, saw one of the most inspiring, resonant exhibitions I’d ever seen – Seeking Stillness – at the MFA. Three times!

The following year, I moved to Melbourne and studied Clinical Pastoral Education. Left field? I was looking for a field that might welcome my work, and it was really challenging, especially as I’d become ill again. 

Thank Goodness my new mentor appeared beside me in a Melbourne bookshop. With her support, I began to restore my health. Teaching art privately again with a few passionate students, I redeveloped my courses into substantial, pragmatic and spiritual offerings focused on inspiring creativity one-to-one, clearing blocks and building skills… and moved to the country.

I sustain my own art practice, extend my palette and make more vibrant paintings culminating in a solo show in Melbourne late last year. 

Please contact me if you’re interested in a creativity-nurturing VIP retreat at your chosen location internationally. Book your free conversation here so you can have your questions answered.