Artist Susan Wiltshire
The name artist is one that I have often distanced myself from because to label myself is to box in myself and I am so many things to many people and namely to myself.
My parents named me Susan and therefore I introduce myself to you as Susan. I am a trained pastry chef & baker and in this capacity I have journeyed to many places to stand on my feet in several kitchens and galleys for one week or two to create a simple, tasty dessert often which would be eaten in less than a minute. The joy was in the enjoyment of the person eating the dessert.
I have sat in offices and worked really hard, however, I was always restless in that office chair..for me there had to be more. I could not sit forever. I admire all those who work well in an office setting.
Yet for me art & painting have been synonymous with my very existence. My mother realized this at an early age and one day she placed a box next to me as I sketched another of my portraits on the living room table. It was a box of water colours. I ripped several sketch pad sheets through ignorance towards use of water colours: the required weight of the paper, the volume of water required, the “run” of the colour once the brush touched already laid colour. I allowed the box of water colours to harden and for years never used them. After about 2 or 3 years I threw them in the garbage. I so did not want to hurt my mother’s feelings. She did ask where were the paintings of water colour till eventually I told her I would stick to what I knew: my pencils and charcoals.
Mummy liked my shades of blacks, whites & greys, so she did not complain. Years later my friend and established artist, Karen Sylvester, would introduce me to acrylics. I have been hooked ever since. The acrylic dries quickly, it obeys my stroke with the brush and I don’t have to play catch up when I have achieved the correct mix of colour hue and stretch on the canvas. Thank you sweet Karen.
My mother was Guyanese. A gently strong, quiet, calm, wise, loving and good mother. She believed my sister and I should know all things Trinbagonian; its cultures, its food, simply everything. This meant hauling me to what seemed to be a 5 hour Hindu wedding in the midst of the cool cane fields.
Years later I would paint, “Cane Arrow” in tribute to the no longer cane fields on the Western side of the highway as they regally wished you well on your journey to South. One year, our mother decided she needed to introduce my sister and I, first hand to our family’s heritage of the Indigenous (the First Peoples). We would later set out into the interior of Guyana with family, friends, an experienced tour guide and food prepared and packed by our grandmother.
My grandfather yes was Indigenous, but seeing first hand at the base of the Kaieteur Falls a bare bottomed “Amerindian”, with golden brown smooth skin, loin cloth and spear fishing with utmost precision, will always be etched in my mind.
The cool of Kaieteur, the feel of raw gold in our hands, drinking red water from the mountain which was actually rich and pure water. This was our mother’s way of teaching us first hand who we were and where we came from.
I have dedicated my time and the stretch of the acrylic to documenting the way of life of the Indigenous: Worldwide.//
Throughout the years, Susan Wiltshire has had exhibitions both joint & solo, local & international. This particular exhibition “Turquoise Blessings” , is dedicated to the INDIGENOUS, The First Peoples and marks a particular journey.
Exhibition continues till April 4th 2015
- Monday to Friday 10:30am- 6pm
- Saturday 9am-1pm