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Susan Paterson has an engaging series of works in Terroir that touch on the subject of reflection and memory. Let’s close out our popular Terroir Q&A series by learning a little more about her practice.

Thank you for joining us during the journey that is the Terroir exhibition, we hope these Q&A’s with the artists have provided you insight into the practices of these artists and the Terroir exhibition. Remember that this weekend is the last weekend to view Terroir, so add the Gallery to your weekend plans and spend some moments with these astounding 29 artists.

The exhibition publication is available for sale at the Gallery Shop and this gorgeous hardcover book features over 100 images from the exhibition.

Terroir: a Nova Scotia Survey looks at regional artistic production through the work of 29 artists whose practices draw influence from this place, its history and its culture, in new and meaningful ways. This group exhibition, a partial picture of what’s going on here at this moment in time, includes an exciting range of experienced and emerging artists, making for a dynamic and engaging exploration of Nova Scotia’s rich contemporary visual arts community. What is your connection to Nova Scotia, and why were you inspired to submit a work for this exhibition?

I’m very pleased to have had my work chosen for Terrior and very proud to be a part of this exciting show. The pieces I am showing are all still life oils. They follow the trompe l’oeil tradition in that I am trying to create believable space and depth on a flat surface. The objects in the paintings are mostly personal ;  photos and mementos from my parents and grandparents along with interesting pieces I’ve collected over the years. I choose objects that relate to each other in various ways but mostly in colour. I love subtle colours, and working within a very narrow range of colour, almost like an old photograph. Once I have my composition worked out I take great pleasure in studying and slowly building up the painting layer by layer, creating texture, light and shadow, depth and detail. x

Susan Paterson, A Moment in Time, 2011, oil on masonite, 23.00 x 21.50 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

What are you working on in now, or planning for the near future?

Last summer I took a break from still life and mostly worked on florals and plein air paintings. The plein air is a nice change, getting me out of the studio for a while. Over the coming winter I’ll be preparing for an exhibit at a private gallery in Newfoundland. It will be mostly still life, exploring reflective surfaces, with some all grey or sepia compositions, and also still life with fruit, taking inspiration from the Dutch still lifes of the 1600 and 1700s. I love exploring backgrounds that never end, dark depths that we can’t see into. Also exploring the ‘other world’ seen in the reflections in the silver pieces – me, my studio, the light source; these give depth and a bit of a narrative.

What are activities/interests that inspire your practice?

Activities that inspire my practice would be gardening, antique shop browsing and travelling. I have many white flowers in my garden, especially peonies and roses that I love to paint, almost everything I plant is chosen with the possibility that it will eventually appear in my work. Antique hunting, I’m always looking for interesting pieces to include in my work, silver (a bargain these days, no one wants to polish anymore),  bottles, vases. Even grocery shopping  I’m always looking at the fruit in a different way than most people.  Travelling inspires my landscape work. Over the last several years I’ve traveled with artist friends to various locations to paint plein air. I love these getaways, no interruptions, working all day every day and sharing ideas with fellow artists.

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