Susan Hiebert, who was born in Taplow, England, speaks lovingly about her upbringing; of her parents, country walks in the hills and valleys of the Welsh countryside, and how both influenced her love of nature:
“I was wonderfully fortunate to grow up with parents who loved the natural world. I spent much of my childhood going on nature walks, along canals and coastal pathways. I have fond memories of walking through woodlands and valleys with Beach trees, wild Daffodils and Bluebells.
Having a mother with a degree in horticulture I couldn’t help but learn about plants and flowers. I spent many happy times meandering through National Trust gardens in Wales and England.
As a young child I remember many trips in the car where I would study a book called ‘The AA (Automobile Association) Handbook’. In the back section of the book were pictures and write-ups about the plants, flowers, birds and butterflies of Britain. I loved that book and I used to ask my mother to test me on the names.
With all this exposure to nature as a young child it has left me with a deep appreciation of the natural environment and the beautiful place I live in. I feel that when young people are given these kinds of opportunities they will understand that our world is a place to relish and protect.“
In 1975, Susan and her family moved to Canada, where she taught primary school children in northern BC for 25 years. One of her first paintings was put on display on an easel outside her primary school classroom. Susan found this early exposure was the ideal foundation for her love of art and nature.
When asked about other influences in her artistic journey, Susan responded,
“I have only been painting and calling myself an ‘artist’ since 2013 so I’m relatively new to all this. I research many different textured art techniques and develop my own style as I experiment with the mediums. I am a ‘mixed media’ artist but have been reluctant to call myself one. To me it sounds ‘crafty’ rather than ‘artsy’ but I feel I have created a unique style and love what I do.
I have a passion for interior design and decorating and I believe I have an innate ability to create warm and aesthetically beautiful house interiors. When I create my art I invariably say to myself, “Would I love this piece in my own home?”… so much so, that sometimes it’s difficult to part with my work. I realize this sounds rather pompous but that is how passionate I feel about creating a quality piece that I love first and hopefully others love too.
I had kind sentiments and words passed on to me by art teachers and others when I was young… these were great motivators to be an artist! Some artists that have inspired my work are: Carol Nelson, Holly Ready, Cody Hooper, Paul Bozzo, Erica Wittenwiler (witty line), Rachel Dein and Annemarie Ridderhoff. “
Susan’s palette of natural and earthy colours combined with interesting highly textured surfaces make her paintings unique, evoking feelings of warmth blended with the rich textures found in nature.
Susan’s advice to emerging artists is that, “You can’t go wrong with truly studying the natural world for inspiration to create. In time you will develop your own style by just experimenting with paint and materials. Perhaps pick an artist you particularly admire and try to copy them. It never turns out like their image anyway but meanwhile your style develops. Let go of any inhibitions you may have when starting out… create, experiment and play… no one else is watching. My first pieces looked a bit childlike but as time passes a more mature look evolves. And lastly, visit art galleries in Canada and other countries, take artist workshops and attend art demonstrations, join the Federation of Canadian Artists or hang out with some artist friends.”
For her ideal studio space, Susan tells us she would like “A separate outbuilding for an art studio with a gallery. It would have a North facing studio, full of large windows with mullions, and views of hilly countryside with West Coast Cedars, fir trees and ocean shoreline. The studio would be warm, light and cozy. There would be white fairy lights decorating tree branches and twigs outside, and inside it would be beautifully organized with storage for the paints, brushes, gels, mediums and all of nature’s bits and pieces. In addition, it would have many flat work surfaces to lay canvas already in progress, a sound system for quiet music, radio or podcasts playing in the background, and a butler’s bell to bring me healthy gourmet lunches!!!”
Susan’s future goals include the desire to have more opportunities to show her work in galleries and art shops and perhaps develop an art studio/gallery in her home in the country where it would be open for tours in the summer months.
To see more of Susan’s work, go to her website www.lifetexture.net or email Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.