Committee Spotlight: A Passion for Portraits

~Michelle Saleeba

Continuing our series of profiles introducing our marvellous Army Art volunteers I had a chat with Perth portrait artist and 2018 committee member Suzie Brown. Suzie traded the tools of nursing for paintbrushes and hasn't looked back. Becoming known for her bold use of colour and unique portrait interpretations which are intended to provoke an emotional response from the viewer. However, that desire to help others that first led her to study nursing never left, and with Army Art Suzie seeks to make a difference in the lives of others through promoting the sale of artwork in the name of charity.

What inspired you to become involved with Army Art?

I’ve exhibited a couple of times with Army Art and was impressed with the event and the good causes it helps. I joined the committee to help ensure it could go ahead in the future. It also gives me the opportunity to exhibit and reach more people with my artwork.

Tell us about your history of volunteering in the community, and why volunteering is important to you?

I think volunteering is wonderful to make yourself useful and to help those in need. When my children were younger I ran the uniform shop, volunteered in the canteen and helped on the P&C for many years. I even won an award for volunteering one year. I’ve helped out with art related things like Canning Arts Award hanging and Perth Royal Show Photography Exhibition hanging.

What do you wish other people could know about Army Art and the work they do?

Army Art has a lot of people tirelessly working behind the scenes to bring about a great exhibition. It allows many artists using a variety of media, the chance to exhibit. These opportunities are sadly diminishing! The public get the opportunity to purchase beautiful pieces to enhance their lives. Probably the most important thing is the charity organisations get much needed funding to help them do good works.

Describe how you came to start making art.

When my children went to school full time I felt the need to do something for myself. I’ve always loved to draw and then the opportunity to learn to paint arose. So fast forward 10 years and painting has become my job, my obsession and my rewarding passion. I love trying new techniques and new mediums.

Who or what are your strongest influences?

Studying portraiture my biggest influences were the Impressionists firstly for the style. Andy Warhol is a huge influence and so is the French artist Francoise Neilly.

Describe your art practice and what is inspiring your current body of work?

My art practice uses lots of colour, big broad brush stokes. I like using negative space to create drama. I believe the eyes should tell most of the story. My aim is to get an emotional response from my viewer. I paint primarily from photographs and often combine as many as 10 to get my desired image. Commissions keep me busy and they’re always given a unique twist. I paint a lot of musicians as their music reminds me of different times in my life.

You can see more of Suzie's work here and here

Suzie will be exhibiting in this years Exhibition from August 24th - 26th.

Purchase your tickets for Opening Night today.

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