Hi there! I’m Susan. I’m a firm believer that creativity is everybody’s birthright – no exceptions. Of course, not everyone’s creative potential is nourished in the way it should be but, believe me, the seed is always there waiting to be germinated. No matter how old you are.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to the joy of art from a very young age. Thanks to a forward thinking mum, who ensured a steady supply of sketch books, coloured pencils and crayons, being creative was as natural to me as breathing.
Sadly, not everyone was as encouraging. Attendance at a rigid, academically minded Catholic primary school proved disastrous for my budding artistry. One nun in particular seemed hell-bent on crushing my creative efforts through a potent mix of humiliation and sabotage. By the time I left, I’d learned to play it safe, stay within the lines and do what was expected. Not surprisingly, my art teacher at college suggested I give art away and become a secretary. Which I did.
And, so the world of work took over and while I had one or two creative jobs along the way, I gave art a wide berth. It wasn’t until my mid 30’s that I finally began to paint again. It was a pretty tentative start, but it gathered momentum a few years later, after a particularly challenging period of time. I determined that my priorities had to change.
They say that when you set an intention, the entire universe conspires to make it happen. And that’s what happened for me. Once I decided that I wanted to make art my life, everything changed. I was offered a job at a school of art and creativity – The Learning Connexion – and given a scholarship to study there. Many years later I’m still there. Along the way, I’ve enjoyed a successful art career and tutored and coached many budding creatives.
It was certainly a dream come true but, as I discovered, it’s not always easy to sustain a dream long term, especially if you’ve compromised who you are to make others happy. Trying to satisfy clients, galleries and tutors took its toll and slowly… almost imperceptibly… I started to lose my mojo. Art started to feel like a chore rather than a pleasure. It was time to take a break.
And that’s exactly what I did… for several years. For a while I did nothing creative at all then, out of the blue, developed a huge passion for cooking and food photography. I started up a blog called The Kiwi Cook, learned how to use a camera, and lost myself in the world of food. Bliss.
As a couple of years went by, and then another, I assumed my art career was behind me, never to be seen again. But, creativity has a funny way of creeping up on you when you least expect it. Not only did my passion for creating art return, so too did a growing desire to combine creativity with my interest in psychology. It saw me undertake an intensive year long Post-graduate Diploma of Arts Therapy, during which time I discovered first-hand art’s power to transform and heal. Not surprisingly, I felt inspired to share this treasure with others and have since developed online and in-person workshops focused on art and well-being – you can find out more about these here.