Susan Paterson


In the hands of Dartmouth artist Susan Paterson, the textures of unfurling birch bark, long forest shadows, the clear light of an early morning pasture full of sheep are caught and held in suspended, elegant silence. Her watercolour paintings and etchings depict a natural landscape that is unspoiled, as though taken out of time. Paterson captures the delicate tracery of waves and branches, the stark and surprisingly varied quality of snow. Working from a calm and meticulous distance, Paterson allows us to stumble quietly on a landscape we might otherwise miss, and to contemplate the dramatic posing as the ordinary. The same serenity can be found in the more intimate world of her floral studies and interiors, where she is equally adept at establishing scenes of quiet ambiance.

Susan Paterson studied under Ted Pulford and David Silverberg at Mount Allison University. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1980. She continued her studies in London, England at the Byam Shaw School of Art where she refined her painting and drawing skills. Following this, Susan studied lithography and etching at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax .

Susan’s technical abilities in both painting and printmaking have earned her a solid reputation throughout Canada. Her work can be found in the collections of public galleries as well as private and corporate collections. Some of which include the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the University College of Cape Breton, Chateau Halifax, Bell Canada, Atlantic Lottery Corporation, Olympia and York Developments, Magna International, K. K. Sakai Co. of Tokyo, Bank of Detroit, and Husky Oil. Her awards include the Lincoln M. Alexander, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Award of Excellence, Toronto 1989; Elizabeth Greenshields's grant in 1981 and the Director's Award, Nova Scotia Art Winter Fair, 1978. Susan and her work are featured in "From Land and Sea: Nova Scotia's Contemporary Landscape Artists", edited by Dee Appleby, published by Nimbus. Her oil painting (Blue and White) was chosen as a finalist in the Still Life category of the International Art Renewal Centre (ARC) 2010/2011 Annual Salon. The ARC is a website devoted to the promotion of classical realism in art: Art Renewal Centre . Susan's work was included in the critically acclaimed CAPTURE 2014: Nova Scotia Realism, a group exhibition organized with PLANS (Professional Living Artists of Nova Scotia) and the Dalhousie Art Gallery, curated by Tom Smart and Peter Dykhuis.


Etchings are done on a copper plate which is first covered with a waxy acid resistant ground. I draw through the ground with an etching needle, exposing the plate where I've drawn. The plate is then submerged in acid and the acid bites the lines that are drawn. After I take the plate out, I add more lines and return it to the acid, doing this several more times until I have a variety of lines, very deep to very shallow. The deep lines will later print darker and the shallow lines lighter.

Next I clean off the plate and apply ink all over, pushing it into the lines. I then wipe the ink off the plate, removing the surface ink while leaving it in the lines. The plate is put on the press bed, covered with damp paper and rolled through the press. The ink is pushed out of the lines and onto the paper.

I have my first proof! It is a mirror image of the drawing on the plate. I examine it very closely. If necessary, I will go through the whole process again and again, adding more linework until I am completely satisfied with the proof. I add handcolouring to my prints with watercolour and I'll experiment with this on the proofs as I go along.

Once I'm happy with the image I'll do the edition. I do editions of 50 to 60. I'll print them, handcolour them, and then number them in pencil on the bottom left hand corner, with the top number being the individual number and the bottom the total number of prints in the edition.