Susan Jane Skilton
With miles of dramatic coastline and over half the county as protected countryside, it is no surprise that rural Sussex sparks Susan Jane Skilton’s imagination. Skilton poetically imparts, ‘I have lived in Sussex all my life…Through the exploration of colour and texture, using a wide range of mediums I hope to convey a strong sense of emotion and the ever changing mood and voice of the living landscape I know so well, which constantly surprises and inspires me’. Her work has been exhibited and sold extensively for many years and is in public and private collections nationwide.
Like her Impressionist forefathers, Skilton has an innate and enviable aptitude to absorb inspiration from her surroundings and the influence has been profound and lasting. ‘I use all my senses, and get completely immersed in my surroundings,’ she says. Despite all the ever-changing demands of work and family life, Skilton’s commitment to painting has been unswerving. She originally trained as a teacher, had various jobs and then raised a family, all the while painting, often with several pieces in process, exhibiting regularly and selling work mainly through commissions. She returned to college in 1996 achieving a BA Hons in Fine Art and has since continued to paint prolifically.
Skilton’s oeuvre exhibits Impressionist-style visible brushstrokes and open composition. She is never without sketchbook or camera to record the ever changeable British weather and her paintings emphasise light in its transient qualities, [‘From Cissbury, Sussex Downs’ 2007 - Oil on Board] [Dark Horizons – 2006, Oil on Canvas]. Skilton speaks with acuity and eloquence on the subject of her work, ‘I see myself as an artist working in a self disciplined way in a fairly traditional manner but using modern materials,’ she reveals, ‘I use brushes, knives, bits of cardboard, plastic, fingers, and anything to apply the paint and scrape it back again…I usually paint the canvas or paper bright red so that little glimpses show in the finished work giving it ‘life’….I am never precious with any work and constantly change and rework. I find that working on problems in one painting can often resolve or give ideas for others. This way I seldom find myself burdened with ‘Artists Block…I try at all costs to avoid ‘sentimentality’… I hope my work, my processes and ideas will never be static, I strive always to evolve and improve.’ Skilton’s temperament, which is at once introspective and dynamic serves as a metaphor for her work. Her paintings are subtle yet sublime.