Nan Shepherd, writing in The Living Mountain, advocates bending over with straddled legs and viewing ‘your world upside down’. Susie takes this as a starting point for looking at the mountain through the eyes of a painter.
In her colourful illustrated talk Susie will discuss her relationship with The Living Mountain, recounting how this book, her ‘mountain bible’, has impacted on her work. Nan’s text has encouraged her to look inside the mountain and to abstract salient elements of it for her paintings. The book has also provided endless text for calligraphic works. In fact Susie is so in thrall to The Living Mountain that she has embarked on a large handwritten and illustrated version of it.
Susie will also talk about how Nan Shepherd became the face of the new Royal Bank of Scotland polymer banknote and how, secretly and serendipitously, Susie came to share the note with Nan.
*Bio…* A painter and calligrapher with a fascination for mountains, Susie is endlessly drawn to Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain. Nan invites us to look inside the mountain: into the hollows, the chasms, the burns, the lochs. This resonates with Susie and informs her paintings where diaphanous layers and geological strata draw us further in. The Living Mountain also provides Susie with unlimited text for small calligraphic works, mainly in oils or silverpoint on wood.
There is a soothing serenity to Susie’s work, like the escapism afforded by the mountains. Susie loves being in the mountains: Scotland’s Munros, the French Pyrenees, the sacred peaks of China. She loves painting them. Her work also shows the influence of classical Chinese landscape painting where distance and perspective are often distorted or appear fantastical.
Born and educated in Glasgow, Susie has degrees from the University of St Andrews and the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is a Fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators, exhibits widely, works freelance in Edinburgh and has a longstanding involvement with a painters’ group run by Paul Keir. Serendipity sees Susie and Nan paired on the new RBS polymer £5 note: Nan is the face of the note and Susie’s Scottish secretary hand calligraphy is on the reverse. Her original artwork for the note is now on show in V&A Dundee.