Susan Knaap is of Dutch descent and lives in New Zealand's Horowhenua region. She teaches at The Learning Connexion in Wellington and, in her spare time, is an art tutor and creative coach to beginning adult artists.
Susan is, by and large, a self-taught artist. Encouraged to paint as a child, she began selling her work in her late teens. However, a strong focus on career pulled her away from art for many years until she began painting once again in the mid 1990's. Since then, Susan has traversed many artistic styles including realism, impressionism, expressionism and abstraction. In recent years she has adopted a more fluid approach, often combining realistic and abstract approaches.
"The process of becoming an artist has taught me how important it is to create work that reflects who I am so that I can move beyond mere craftsmanship and share something of myself in what I do. For me that means avoiding painting to convention or fashion and, instead, focusing on expressing the concepts I find personally meaningful."
"Just as my background in psychology has inspired an interest in the layers beyond the surface of the personality, so too am I interested in the broader, intangible themes that underlie life itself - concepts of time and timelessness, concealment and revelation, mystery and transformation. These themes continue to inform my art consciously and unconsciously, overtly and subtly."
Susan's paintings are lush, multi-layered works rendered in multiple mediums. Her approach is both planned and intuitive; she starts with an idea in mind but allows the process of painting itself to dictate the painting's direction. The resulting art is defined by an elegant simplicity, evoking a sense of mystery and contemplation.
In December 2005, Susan represented New Zealand at the Florence Biennale in Italy. She was also a finalist in the 2004 International Juried Symbolist Online Art Show. Susan is a member of, and regular exhibitor with, the NZ Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington and her paintings are in private collections within New Zealand and around the world.