A scientist turned teacher turned full-time artist has spoken of how her love of fell running through Yorkshire’s landscapes has inspired her work as her new exhibition is about to open at Pocklington Arts Centre.
Sue Slack takes her inspiration from the natural landscapes of the Yorkshire Wolds, Moors and Dales that surround her, working in acrylic and using a unique layering technique to create paintings instantly recognisable due to their bold colours.
Now Sue’s exhibition Landscapes will open at the centre and can be seen from Tuesday September 3 and until Saturday October 19
“I do get a sense of pride when my paintings are exhibited well,” said Sue who has been painting full-time for 15 years.
“Exhibiting is a major part of my job. I love it when it all comes together-and you never know exactly how it’s going to look and whether you are going to get everything done in time,” she added.
Raised in Sussex, Sue had always enjoyed art, spending a lot of her childhood at home drawing cartoons or making books of drawings, but a timetable clash at school pushed her into the sciences.
With a human biology degree, Sue went on to work in research for neuromuscular disorders, such as muscular dystrophy, but never lost sight of her love of drawing.
While working in a London hospital Sue attended evening classes in art and after realising she enjoyed working with the children in the clinic more than looking down a microscope, she retrained as a primary school science teacher.
Sue’s teaching career took her to Leeds; Devon; Middlesbrough; Thornton Dale; Madri and Bangkok, in Thailand and she become art co-ordinator in many of these schools.
After returning from Bangkok, and spurred on by her husband’s decision to become an apprentice blacksmith, Sue took the plunge and enrolled on a full-time art foundation course at York College before going self-employed.
“Things never run smoothly and each day is unpredictable,” she said.
Sue has experimented with a range of techniques but her main inspiration has remained the Yorkshire landscapes that surround her home of over 20 years in Lockton.
“I settled on acrylic as it suits my technique of painting in layers. I also enjoy working with inks and mixed media,” she said.
“I love the shape of the land and the way light catches a certain hill or shines through a clump of trees. I love the differences between the Wolds, the Moors and the Dales, all within relatively easy reach of where I live.
“My passion for fell running in recent years has certainly fuelled my enthusiasm for the landscape in which I live and work.
“It has taken me to places both mentally and physically that I have never been before.
“My work out in the field takes the form of sketches. I then take the sketches back to the studio, along with any photos I have taken and work out the final composition from there.
“I never use photos alone and never paint anywhere I don’t know. I have to have been to the spot, walked and sketched, no matter how rough the sketch, which it can be in bad weather.
“It is important to me that the view travels through my eyes, brain and arm onto the paper or canvas. That it almost becomes part of me for a while.”
Free entry (during opening hours only).