Susan Adams

Susan Adams is a New-Zealand born Australian artist whose passion for painting took her away from a path in Science after her PhD and into art instead.

Her works are largely figurative and favour contrasting vibrant colours with simple bold lines. They often refer to vintage fashion and are increasingly influenced by Japanese and Chinese art. 



Japanese Lady with Bonnet, 2015, Susan Adams


What is your earliest memory of an artwork and who was it by?

I must have been about 10 when my mother, a qualified artist, purchased a very large abstract canvas with broken pieces of wood in the middle of it; it caused a lot of comments in the 1960s (not all favourable) but I liked it. I don’t remember the artist.


What is your favourite time of day to be in your studio?

All day! We live in rural France in a 600 year old 3 level house. I do have a studio on the 2nd level but it's too lonely so I use our table in the kitchen where there is a fire.  In summer I go outside to our lovely back garden.


Talk us through your creative process. Where do you begin?

The creative process is with me 24/7. All my nudes were done in Life Classes in Sydney several years ago and I still use them partly clad or not.  I used to teach anatomy at university in Sydney so I know where ‘everything’ should be. I also love looking at people I see when out and about (discreetly of course). I look at their clothes, faces, hairstyles, the way they move.  The same with different landscapes.  Finally I use the internet to get a marvellous range of new ideas.  I never stop thinking about my next painting.


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 Manhattan Skyline, Susan Adams    Women in Navy Hat with Gloves,2015, Susan Adams


How would you sum up your practice in 5 words?

Colour, aesthetic, passionate, contemporary, evocative.


Your work is often inspired by the 1920s and 1930s – what drives your fascination with this period of history and if you had to pick between the two, which would you choose?

My mother was an artist in the 30s and 40s before I was born. She used to do fashion illustrations for a major newspaper in Christchurch, New Zealand, before the advent of photography. I think the era of the 1920s/1930s was so stylish and different from the decades that preceded it.  My mother Kay,  had great ‘style’ and I think her love of fashion stays with me in my paintings.  Probably I prefer the 1920s - just look at Downton Abbey for wonderful examples.


It is International Woman’s day on the 8th March and women are often the focus of your paintings – What woman/women have most inspired you and your work?

Kay (my mum), Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe and 2 current contemporary artists Amy Judd and Joan Dumouchel.


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 The Dance, 2004, Susan Adams    1920s Lady with Feather Boa, 2015, Susan Adams


What artwork or project are you most proud of and why?

All my works are like my ‘babies’… ones that don’t work out I give away. However one of my earlier works with Bridgeman -‘The Dance’ was the front cover of an Evelyn Waugh novel.


What convinced you to join Bridgeman Studio for licensing, and what are your hopes for working as a Bridgeman Studio artist?

I did not need convincing... they were so helpful in the beginning I have never regretted it. Now that my body of work is increasing I feel that exciting times are ahead.


What would you most like to see your images licensed for?

Anything that is tasteful.


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 Song Dynasty Women with Fantail, 2016, Susan Adams   Korean Women with Cat, 2016, Susan Adams


What three things would you take if you were cast away on a desert island?

Martin my husband, George our poodle and all my art supplies.


If you could pick 5 artists, dead or alive, to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Modigliani, Matisse, Klimt, Schiele and Brett Whitely. When I look at their work it still takes my breath away, it is so beautiful.


Find out More

View all images by Susan Adams

Susan Adams for Wattlebird Designs

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