Susan Isaac trained in fine art at Cardiff and Newport Art Colleges. Design history at Brighton followed and then industrial archaeology at Birmingham University. She initially worked as an illustrator and surveyor of historic buildings and landscapes before turning to painting and sculpture full-time at the turn of the millennium.
“A central theme in my paintings is a search for those particular characteristics that define British towns and countryside. I seek to convey this in a distinctive loose figurative style, drawing on my early fine art training whilst continuing to reflect influences from my time studying industrial landscapes and the built environment.”
Susan’s practice is a mixture of studio work and en plein air work and she first tried her hand at Paint Out at Wells-next-the-Sea 2017 before entering the Norwich event.
“I instantly fell in love with the whole thing and have taken part each year since. This juried, leading exponent of plein air practice is also a tremendous collective event with similarly motivated and yet singular artists each focussed on their own way of working.”
In 2018, she won the Nocturne First Prize for her 2-hour oil painting, “Up The Steps”, painted from the rear of St Peter Mancroft with its eerie gothic feel late at night lit by a single street lamp. In 2019 with “Below Bishop’s Bridge” and 2020 with “Against the Waves”, she walked away with first prizes in Oils and then the overall competition prize. In 2022, she also repeated her first prize winning streak with “In Memoriam” at Wolterton Hall.
“I was pleased with the theatrical effect of this composition and the slight sense of foreboding and mystery. It also made me think of an emptied auditorium, its proscenium lights inverted and cast upon the emptied raked seating, following the days performance. “ – Susan Isaac [more on the creation of her Nocturne winner here]
Her works are definitely distinctive, often described as dark, reminiscent of John Piper and his love of brooding landscapes and iconic churches. There is always a strength to Susan’s works in her choices of subject, composition, and contrast.
“Painting in the public gaze can be a daunting prospect and is often best done in the company of others. Paint Out Norfolk with its various iterations had been my introduction to a supportive community of plein air painters, from regional to international, many of whom return each year, becoming perennial friends. It’s a wonderful way to challenge yourself as well as the genre of plein air and winning the odd prize is always a bonus.”
Paint Out History
Paint Out Norfolk – First prize (2022) awarded by Dr Sally Anne Huxtable
Paint Out Norfolk – First prize (2020)
Paint Out Norfolk – First prize in Oils (2019)
Paint Out Norwich – Nocturne First Prize (2018)
Paint Out Norwich – selected and participated (2017)
Paint Out Wells – selected and participated (2017)
Buxton Spa Prize Open Art Competition – International Festival Choice (2017)
Leicester and East Midlands Art Exhibition – Open26 winner of Wilson Brown Prize (2015)
Oxford Art Prize plein air competition – winner of 1851 prize (2015)
Artist & Leisure Painter Open Art Competition – winner of Winsor & Newton Award (2015)
Thoresby Gallery Open Exhibition – exhibition prize & Tony Wilkinson Prize (2011, 2012, 2015)
Sample Gallery & Works for Sale