Sue Deacon, an emerging artist, is a versatile painter who works in mixed media, acrylics, and watercolours. Her watercolours are realistic and the mixed media and acrylic works are both abstract and realistic. Sue is originally from Maryborough, in country Queensland, though she has lived all around the state. Her earliest memories are of attending an art class at the local paint store, using pots of Reeves Tempera dry powder and butchers paper.
In high school Sue attended night classes with her mother learning Ticket Writing, a combination of calligraphy and illustration, in the days before home computers and printers. Always her favourite subject, after finishing high school Sue was accepted to undertake a Diploma of Commercial Art and began enhancing her knowledge through a correspondence course, while working and studying nursing in the local hospital. During this time Sue taught herself macro photography and printed photos in her own black and white darkroom. These hands on experiences gave her a deeper understanding of light and how depth of field can be used to show distance. Many of the photographs taken would later become subjects for her artwork, with images capturing the unique textures and the subtle sheens found in nature, in plants, animals, and the environment. It is a challenge to capture the subtle highlights on the petals of a rose, the sheen of peacock’s feathers, or the scales of a fish in a painting. Sue loves to garden so many pieces reflect floral and botanical themes.
Eventually the workload became too great and art was put aside for a period to concentrate on a career in healthcare, though Sue still occasionally entered creativity competitions winning prizes for a logo design and fashion design. After several years in healthcare, having two children and then becoming a single parent, Sue returned to study full-time, achieving an Honours Degree in Science in Psychology, with a particular interest in neuropsychology which focuses on understanding the relationships between the brain and behaviour. Eventually Sue worked full-time in a clinical capacity in community mental health and after hours in private practice, and time for art disappeared. While managing a local community mental health service Sue introduced an annual creativity competition with a mental health focus, with the inaugural theme being resilience. This coincided with driving a significant change in the ethos of the service, encouraging clients who had become dependent on “the system”, and the workers who supported them, into changing their thinking to focus on participating in existing opportunities to reclaim a life beyond illness, disability and adversity.
Since 2015 however, and as part of a plan to transition to retirement, Sue’s life has been full of art, from her day to day business in her picture framing and art supplies business to hosting art workshops teaching others, opening her own gallery, and the remainder of her time she can be found planning, preparing, and painting her own works of art. Sue continues her professional development undertaking regular online workshops with international artists and continual in-depth learning about art and framing materials.
Sue’s techniques brings further variety to her paintings through the use of custom made colours and additional manipulations with acrylic and watercolour mediums. With interference pigments, for example, she can give the raw material varying degrees of reflectiveness, like the subtle reflections of the sky shown in moisture on the rocks. These works are decidedly three dimensional and demand a live experience—it is impossible to perceive the paintings’ rich textures by seeing them online or in print. The use of acrylic mediums in particular, allow her to emphasise the textures of the subjects, that makes people want to touch the paintings to be sure that the painted sandstone isn’t real. In planning artworks a large proportion of time is spent ensuring proportions and colours are balanced and pleasing.
Always aware of the impact of colour on the psyche, Sue loves to use bright and cheerful colours that are uplifting and improves the viewer’s mood. In the recent Australian Iconic Blossoms series Sue incorporated artificial intelligence processes during the preparation and planning stages, to create eye-catching pieces that have a consistent harmonious theme. In addition to the creative side of the art industry, Sue is using her technological skills to develop artwork inventory software to track artwork costs, locations, prizes etc., to facilitate the business aspect of selling artwork.
Sue has shown her work as part of group exhibition at Noosa Regional Gallery and Gympie Regional Gallery. All of her works are currently exhibited at the Willowgrove Gallery in Noosaville. Sue was recently invited to exhibit at the EXHIBITION OF CONTEMPORARY ART “Gentil-Mente” in the Palazzo Ducale, Genova Italy.
In mid-2023 I have retired, and after a short break after not having a proper holiday for the 8 years in business, and look forward to spending more time creating.