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Fitzgerald, Sue
 
           
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'SONGS FOR THE EYE'

Sue Fitzgerald is a graduate of York and Sunderland Colleges of Art. She has travelled and worked extensively in the Middle and Far East but now lives in East Kent where her work is in strong demand both within the country, London and abroad. She is happy to work in a variety of mediums, but watercolour is, perhaps, her greatest love since it comes closest to helping her produce consistently individual and original artistic statements.

Sue spends most of her time in her purpose-built studio adjoining her home but also, part of each year at her cottage in the North Hérault Valley, near Montpellier in France. 'I tend to complete rather more watercolours whilst working in France,' Sue reflects, 'but this is because I enjoy working out of doors, and for me, watercolour seems more in tune with the special qualities of the landscape there.'

Conversely, when in England, Sue splits her time equally between working in oil, watercolour and acrylic. 'There's a certain unnecessary mystification about media differences and their properties.' she says. 'For instance, people tend to think of watercolour as a transparent medium, and oil or acrylic as opaque ones. This misperception is due somewhat to the 19th Century French Impressionists. Quite the reverse is possible. I prefer in my oil work at least to strike a balance between the opaque and the transparent.'

'Sometimes I use a cloth to burnish the colour through, and quite often, I complete a painting by integrating it with various other glazes. Equally, I try to get my watercolours to be a juxtaposing of body hue and transparency.' Sue works with a comparatively limited - and thus fresh - palate with emphasis on contrasting hots and colds: ultramarine and cerulean and blue, plus yellow ochre and cadmium red or alizarin.

How does she actually start? 'Instinct and experience make me do something straight away. I don't suffer from 'painter's block'; I aim to get an immediate statement in place, knowing, hoping that all else will follow. She is an artist who tries to compose what she terms 'Eye songs'. 'I like to live with the pictures I'm evolving,' she says. 'I have a studio at home, but essentially the house itself, all of it, is my place of work as is the landscape of the Hérault Valley when I'm working in France'. Sue considers herself fortunate and privileged to be a successful full-time artist. 'There's a lot of perspiration as well as inspiration, but when all's said and done, if I can achieve work of real value and resonance then that's enough, I'm happy!'

Courtesy of Amanda Dove, Kent Life 23rd June 2000

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