Both my parents were painters, my father was ship’s artist and photographer on HMS Exeter circumnavigating South America, and recording the battle during the Graff Spee conflict in the Battle of the River Plate. My mother while in Bletchley Park drew portraits of fellow Wrens while billeted at Woburn Abbey and went to art school in Poole in Dorset. We three were always painting. Here’s her sketch of me at 7- ‘The little Artist’. So I was always going to go to art school and I’ve always earned my living by my brush!
Kathleen Edwards - Susan at 7
William Edwards -MTB in dock
Kathleen Edwards- CPO Edwards
Susan Edwards- Dad 1980
Following my Graphics Degree at Leeds College of Art, I worked as in-house Graphic Designer for a London Publisher, then as a Graphic Designer, in the Civil Service, Westminster.
Marriage and a family followed a move to Newcastle and I joined The Charlotte Press, Artist’s Printmakers in Newcastle, editioning stone and plate lithographs and etchings, and subsequently, I was invited to teach lithography and life drawing on BA and Foundation courses at Northumbria University.
Finding myself solely responsible for my 3 small children, I took a Post Graduate Secondary school teaching degree.
As well as teaching full time, I maintained a studio for a decade, The Billiard Room Studio, within a stately home, for my own work painting portraits on commission, exhibiting within Northumberland and painting and writing articles, for 6 years as a regular contributor for The Northumbria County Magazine.
TEACHING AND LECTURING
Northumbria University Foundation and BA Courses. Visiting Tutor – printmaking life drawing painting
Laing Art Gallery Newcastle. Visiting Tutor -collections
Watercolour workshops. Private stately homes, National Trust, English Heritage
Art History Appreciation Tours. Italy Spain France
Head of Fashion and Textiles design – course on BBC Clothes Show
Expressive and Performing Arts GCSE – new GCSE Design
Examiner for A Level art with Northern Exam Board.
Head of Art - Emmanuel City Technology College
Uppingham School – Visiting Tutor Leonardo Art Centre
The Rodney School- Visiting Tutor, Art and Expressive and Performing Arts
My Billiard Room Studio, Meldon Park, Northumberland
Award Winner ROI Portrait Evening
At work in my Watergarden Studio, Lord Ancram's Estate, Monteviot
New English Art Club 2021,
The best! My 6 year old granddaughter in my Hereford Studio announces
'Art is my life, art is!'
7 grandchildren of White Family, Alcester; Academic portrait for Dr A Williamson, Department of Politics and International Studies, Corpus Christi College Cambridge; Conversation piece Mr and Mrs D Mayers, Earl’s Vineyard, Sussex; Ms Suzie Knowles Cambridge; 2013 Winifred Phillips, first Lady Chelsea Pensioner , Royal Hospital Chelsea Collection; 2014 European Portraiture Project, IMOS Foundation Collection – two portraits of EU citizens, ‘Frank at 103’ from Austria (commended by Royal Portrait Society 2014) and Ulriika, Sweden; 2015 Portraiture for The Queen’s Swan Marker (Swan Upping); Conversation piece – Magdeline College Oxford; 2016 -2017 The grand-daughter of Baroness Seccombe DBE JP; Mr Michael Appleton; Dr and Mrs Richard Melton with their 6 children.
Portraits in the collections of: The Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe; Sir Hugh and Lady Anna Blackett, Northumberland; Sir Andrew and Lady Marnie Park, London; Lady Katie Townsend Rose; Baker-Cresswell family Northumberland; Steven Winkley, Head Man (retd), Uppingham School; Musical Evening at Fairfield House, Uppingham School; Maurice Galliers – Worshipful Company of Tailors, Shrewsbury; Augusta Barton; Robin Oakley BBC London; Col. Brian Gorsky, Commander of Northumberland Regiment of Fusiliers, Alnwick Castle; Headmaster J Jones, Newlands Prep School; Henry Spall, Washington USA; Al Bangart, Boston USA; Phillip Walling QC; Ralph Appleby, Chair of Governors, The King Edward VI School Morpeth, and Mr and Mrs Donald Vass, Berwickshire.
2022 Friends of The Royal West of England CREATE Exhibition Spike Island, Bristol
2021 SOLO EXHIBITION - INSPIRED BY LOCAL HEROES, HEREFORD CITY ART GALLERY
2021 HEREFORD COLLEGE OF ARTS Online Exhibition 'In The Frame' for International Women's Day
2021 HEREFORD ARTS AND CRAFTS SOCIETY Online Exhibition 'Me, myself and I'
2020 NEW ENGLISH ART CLUB, Mall Galleries, London
2020 THE GREENSTAGE GALLERY, Christmas show, Worcester
2020 THE ARTS AND CRAFTS GALLERY, Church Street, Hereford
2018 THE GARDENS GALLERY, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, solo show
2018 THE FOSSE GALLERY, Summer show, Stowe on the Wold, Gloucestershire
2018 H.ART AWARD WINNER OMP Gallery, Hereford
2018 OMP GALLERY, Hereford, solo show
2017 THE CIDER MUSEUM, Hereford, Artist in Residence
2017 HARDWICK GALLERY, University of Gloucester MA final Degree show
2015-6 MASTERS DEGREE Awarded Master of Fine Arts Degree at Gloucester University
2015 THIS ENGLAND MAGAZINE – featuring a portrait of The Queen’s Swan marker David Barber
2014 IMOS FOUNDATION: A Portrait of Europe,(portraits) Chelsea Plein Air
2013 CHELSEA PLEIN AIR GALLERY, King’s Rd (plein air painting)
2013 CHELSEA AND WESTMINSTER TODAY Article on The Firt Lady Portrait
2012 ROYAL INSTITUTE OF OIL PAINTERS Annual Exhibition Mall Galleries (Plein Air painting)
2011 ROYAL INSTITUTE OF OIL PAINTERS Portrait Evening Award
2011 WINTER’S GALLERY Stratford on Avon, one man show (Plein Air and studio paintings)
2011 BATH PRIZE COMMENDATION Exhibition (plein air painting)
2010 PETLEY’S GALLERY Cork Street, Summer Mixed Show (Plein air and sea paintings)
2008 KENNETH KENDAL GALLERY Isle of Wight (plein air and sea paintings)
2004 STAMFORD ARTS CENTRE, Life Drawings group show
2003 FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF ARTS for contribution to Art Education
2003 CARLYSLE GALLERY, London
2001 ZELLA NINE GALLERY, Fulham
2000 WILLOUGHBY TRUST GALLERY Lincolnshire, Two man show with Brian Roxby ROI
1998 BROWNS GALLERY, Jesmond, Newcastle, One Man Show
1996 LIFE IN THE NORTH EXHIBITION CURATOR, (14 artists, Newcastle International City of Culture.
1995 CHANTRY GALLERY, Morpeth
1995 BONDGATE GALLERY, Alnwick One Man Show
1988 HATTON GALLERY, JOHN LAING EXHIBITION, Newcastle University, Award Winner
1985 BBC CLOTHES SHOW programme on my Fashion Design Course
1980 CHARLOTTE PRESS PRINT WORKSHOP EXHIBITIONS, Newcastle, lithography and etching
Master of Fine Art Research Gloucester University completed 2017
I wanted to re-establish a respect for and contact with natural and rural landscape and subject matter in contemporary painting, in an era of the dominance of increasing urbanisation.
The title of my MA Exhibition, ‘Shared Ground’ implies a collective responsibility towards our increasingly fragile rural environment, as well as a celebration of it.
The title of my Thesis in 2016 was ‘Rebooting the figurative in Landscape Painting’ The aim of this thesis was to examine current figurative painting in a contemporary context. The research concluded that figurative painting is alive and thriving again. In January 2020 the Whitechapel Gallery showed figures for the first time for nearly 2 decades.
Statement describing the artist
Susan’s inherent, and distinctive colourist palette and her intuitive selective response to the motif underpin the integrity of her painting which is now reaching it’s full maturity. Painting landscapes, portraits or drawing, Susan prefers to work on location or directly from the motif. Her work is instantly recognised for it’s life affirming and exhilaratingly colourful gestural brushwork. Interlocking the illusion of the image with the materiality of the paint, she explores an interplay between surface and depth, using the full range of painting techniques. Susan’s painterly approach can be described as Expressive Figurative, where the subject is implied and interpreted rather than described, the poetry of the subject rather than the prose. Underlying all her work is a thorough knowledge of draughtsmanship.
The one that got away
Here is a handwritten note to me from The Late Duke of Buccleuch whose favourite painting, Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘The Madonna of the Yarnwinder’ was stolen from Drumlanrigg Castle in 2003. Sadly, for The Duke, the painting was only tracked down in 2007 after his death. Equally sadly, for me, Foot and Mouth Disease, like Covid, shut everything down, so I never knew who he had in mind to sit to me …..
Susan Edwards March 2021
I'm including the poem below because it speaks of the enjoyment of the journey through life. Ithaka, gave me the marvellous journey...
BY C. P. CAVAFY TRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbours you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvellous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.