Q&A with artist Susan Nethercote

Q&A with artist Susan Nethercote

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Art for Healing

Q. Let me first say, I'm a huge fan of yours. I have been listening to your podcast regularly for a long while now and your spiritual practices around your artmaking as well as your values and kind spirit are nothing short of inspirational. Can you tell my readers a little bit about you, your art and your approach to artmaking?
A. First of all, thank you so much for your kind words there. I guess I came to art very much as part of a healing journey that I was on in my life. Making art was something that I always did right through my life on and off just as something to entertain myself really and I did have a fairly long 15 year career with a fashion label so I had a creative profession where I was producing designs and drawings on a regular basis. But that business burnt me out so badly and I came to a point where I needed to let that go and also to go through a big healing process in my life and that is kind of where art came in. After the birth of my two daughters I just took heaps of online classes and got right into art in a big way again and that was at the end of my 30s and everything just kind of took off from there. I became quite a prolific painter from very early on and here we are six or seven years later and I have a career as a professional artist and it's kind of amazing. I can't believe it.
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Painting as a Practice

Q. You have recently released your second e-course. What is the premise for this one?
A. This course is an evergreen course so it is always available to anyone who ever wants to take it as is Chapter 1. It is a course that I have created around the philosophy of painting being a practice in your life and I actually believe that you need to make a lot of art to evolve your own authentic voice as an artist. It is just part of the process, the process of repetition and artmaking becoming a real practice in your life. So, Painting as a Practice, all of the chapters, spring from that philosophy. Chapter 1 is a foundational course - it is a beginner-focussed course where people can jump in wherever they are at. It is also for experienced artists who might want to develop a rich art practice. In Chapter 2 I focus very much on colour and working in really rich beautiful colour. I also focus on painting as a sacred practice. So I introduce people who do the course to the more spiritual aspects of my painting practice. I have even created a guided meditation that artists can use before they practice their art to help themselves connect deeper with their art and that something special in the universe that informs all art.
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Susan Nethercote Studio Insider Art Podcast

Q. Your podcast means so much to so many people. Your generosity and authenticity come through loud and clear. What is your mission with your podcast? And how can people tune in?
A. Oh well thank you. I am so glad you are enjoying the podcast. I absolutely love making it. I find it so much easier to speak than to write. My truth is much easier when I am in conversation. We talk about all kinds of deep things. I am very interested in the intersection between artmaking and healing. I am also very interested in art as a spiritual practice. I am also interested in diving into those more difficult questions around being an artist and how that can bring us up again some edges as people and in our personal development. It can be really hard for artists to put themselves out there on such a regular basis as we do when we show our art to the world and I am really interested in the process that all of us go through in facing that so a lot of the podcast topics do focus on that. There are also a lot of practical tips and tricks on there as well where we talk about how to use Pinterest to promote your art and all kinds of aspects of having an art business and also balancing the art business life and all of those really down to earth things that artist are having to work through on a daily basis. It is called the Susan Nethercote Studio Insider Art Podcast - I'm really bad at giving things short names - you can find it over at iTunes or Spotify and I'd love you to come and have a listen and join the community. We also do have past students of mine come on, people we've connected with on social media as guests on the podcasts and also fabulous artists from around the world that I admire that I get to chat to. We get to have so much fun. People can also check it out on my education website which is www.susannethercotestudio.com/podcasts
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Let the Story Play Out

Q. I hope it's OK to ask some personal art advice...? What are your hot tips for gaining clarity around the direction of your art? I currently love creating botanically themed artworks often with bold colours but I swing between acrylics and watercolour (sometimes with mixed media elements). I feel as if it is self-limiting and unatural to lock myself into one medium but simultaneously wonder if it is a bad look. What are your thoughts?
A. I love that you have asked this question because next week I have an episode that I have already recorded with Steph on this exact topic! Because I too think it is self limiting to limit yourself to one medium or style of painting in your art and I think that it is possible to create a way of presenting a variation of what you create as your art and present it to your audience so that they understand that there is variation. One of the ways you can manage this is by working in themes or series and give a container to each body of work that you're working on and also give yourself the opportunity to fully express whatever direction wants to come through from you in that work and then you can change it up and do another series later. That is one way that you can contain a varied practice in a way that makes it consumable and understandable for the people that are interested in following your art journey. And also let's remember that the people who are interested in your art journey understand that it is a journey and that a journey has lots of stops on the way. One of the things that I do talk to Steph a lot about in this upcoming episode is that there is a lot of pressure to have a brand and to brand your art business and to have one single style or theme that is easily identifiable and looks really great on the Instagram grid, which is all good and well for lots of businesses but I think there is a huge danger there for artists to really hem themselves in and not explore directions that they really feel moved to investigate because they feel like they have to have this really clean cut branding. So I think it's really important not to hem yourself in. I actually totally agree with what you're saying. What I would encourage you to do on your website or social media is to put it together in such a way that it makes sense for your buyers that there are changes in what you present there but perhaps not chopping and changing between too many styles in a single period of time but letting each story play itself out so that you're flowing from one to another. I have to manage this myself on my own website because I have such a huge variation in my own styles that I present so I have pages that are dedicated to one particular style of work. Through my online store for example I have a page for floral abstracts which are very brightly coloured and I have another page for botanical abstracts which are much more muted in tone and I have another page for watercolours and another for abstracts etc etc. I've divided it up in such a way to help it make sense for the people who are coming to have a look at my art.
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Watch This Space

Q. Are there any new artists you have your eye on? Hopefully my readers can give them a little love on insta!
A. Oh that's so sweet of you to ask. So some of the artists who I am really enjoying watching are: one of my previous students Peta Mawby. I actually just interiewed her for a podcast episode coming up. She paints hyper real botanical art. She is in Castlemaine in Australia. She is doing amazing work and is also selling sell out collections at the moment. That will be a great episode coming onto the podcast soon and she is a great one to watch. Another previous student of mine is Sharon Hughes. She is making beautiful abstract art. She is on the sunshine coast. She is fabulous too. Also Steph Wallace who works for me. And Laura Jane Day who also is my studio assistant and does beautiful work. There are so many great artists out there that I come across all the time. I will probably think of about 50 of them after this interview.
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Q. How can my readers learn more about you or get in touch?
A. The best way to learn about me is to go to my website. www.susannethercote.com is my art website and www.susannethercotestudio.com is my education website which is where my podcast notes are. The podcast is a good way to get to know me. I also have art retreats which haven't happened this year due to covid. I also have my online painting classes of course - Painting as a Practice E-Course Chapter 1 and 2. They are evergreen courses which means people can take them at any time they like. They are entirely self-paced. You can come and join the Facebook group which I pop into on a regular basis and connect with the students. That is all available through www.susannethercotestudio.com. Oh and also workshops which obviously are not running at the moment. And of course Instagram. I enjoy posting over there and keep people very much up to date and involved in my art journey. Thanks so much for having me. Take care.
Wow! It was such a pleasure to interview you Suse. Readers, I hope you have enjoyed hearing from the lovely Susan Nethercote. Be sure to check her out on Insta and her links above.
With love,
P.S. If you'd like to stay in the loop on my future blog posts, be sure to subscribe HERE so you hear all the latest insights and tips from some of the most inspirational artists in my network.
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