Susan Orpen Fine Art Studio

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In 1989 I completed a BA degree at Unisa, majoring in English and History of Art. Under the guidance of lecturer Marion Arnold, herself a fine watercolourist, I became very interested in the watercolour work of Paul Klee and the early abstract watercolours of Kandinsky.

At this juncture I gave up my job and started to concentrate on painting watercolours myself.

In 1986 I joined the Watercolour Society of South Africa, a very active body with a large national membership, which holds open Exhibitions twice a year for its members. I became an Associate in 1996, a Fellow in 2004, was National Chairman of the Society in 2003 and 2004 and was appointed Higher Associate in 2006.

In 1995 I started teaching drawing and watercolour, and currently teach four classes a week in my studio in Muldersdrift near Johannesburg.

In 1999 I opened a country Gallery at Ngwenya Glass Village in Muldersdrift. For seven years this was my main marketing venue. I have also participated in group exhibitons, have exhibited regularly at the WSSA's Manor Gallery in Fourways, Johannesburg. In 2007 I held a successful SoloExhibition in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I paint in a number of genres. Although principally known for my wildlife work, I enjoy painting landscapes. Portraiture has recently become my main interest.

In my wildlife studies, and paintings of the peoples of Africa, I strive to capture a fugitive moment, seeking always to suggest rather than describe. I often use a vignetting technique as I enjoy reminding the viewer that the painting is an artefact.

he challenge is to move further and further away from a photographic representation to a more creative interpretation of the subject.

My watercolours are in private collections in the USA, Australia, Europe and the UK.
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