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A bit more about me

I create thought-provoking, richly layered mixed media paintings that explore emotional and spiritual journeys. Paintings may be inspired by the endless variety of colours, shapes and textures found in nature, a memory, a line from a poem or song, inspirational prose or a bible verse. Work can be born out of prayer or become a prayer and meditation, expressing what cannot be put into words.


My previous work as a counsellor and running writers’ and creativity groups has shown me that creativity can help us to process our memories, thoughts and feelings and gain a new perspective. Art can enable us to connect with our inner world, spiritual reality and each other.


I believe that all my work has an auto-biographical element, as it will be influenced by my thoughts, moods, feelings and experiences. In addition, you as the viewer will bring your own story and perceptions. I love that a piece of art can have multiple interpretations and speak to people in different ways.

I am fascinated by the natural world. There is mystery, revelation and evidence of design everywhere. Celtic Christians used to speak about nature as “God’s big book” – and there is a lot to “read” right on our doorstep if we just pay attention. 

I take time to step back and ponder and to dialogue with others to bring out the uniqueness of each artwork until it becomes a snapshot of a particular moment, insight, story or experience.


I am originally from Germany (hence the unusual spelling of my first name), but I have lived in England since 1992. My husband John and I are based in Petersfield in East Hampshire.

I am a member of the Petersfield Arts and Crafts Society and of Portsmouth & Hampshire Art Society.

My work is currently held in private collections in the UK, Germany, France and the USA.

Origins web image.jpg

Some thoughts on creating environment-conscious art

I believe that we are called to be good stewards of all the earth’s resources, whether natural or man-made. Figuring out how to translate this into my practice is an ongoing journey. It starts with being aware of the impact of my work materials and processes on the environment and the willingness to continue to experiment and to do things differently, weighing up the pros and cons of different options.

In an attempt to create more eco-friendly pieces, I particularly like to incorporate natural and man-made materials that are usually thrown away. 

Whilst I love many aspects of acrylic paints (dry quickly, great for layering, easy to combine with collage), traditional acrylics contain plastics.


Acrylics tend to remain popular in art workshops,  but I am using alternatives whenever possible. I have started to experiment with making my own paints using pigments and with eco household paints. I am also rediscovering oil paints, now that there are some greener alternatives to solvents.

I have also recently discovered a natural acrylic medium. It can currently be ordered from the Netherlands. It is also available in the USAHopefully, there will be more plant-based alternatives on the market in the future...

Susanne Irving - Transition process 1.jpg
Transition web image.jpg

More about my artistic process

Times of experimental mark-making are followed by times of studying the marks and layers I have created. I keep turning the work to see what jumps out at me and may inspire the next move.


I try to engage different senses - touch, sight, smell.  I enjoy working with material that has an interesting texture and like to use my hands to get a better “feel” for what is going on, adding extra texture through collaging in found materials or leftovers from previous painting sessions.


I experiment with different tools to make my marks: It could be something I have picked up on my walks (sticks, stones, pinecones), something that would ordinarily end up in the bin (an expired store card, leftover accessories from household goods) or a traditional artist tool (pencil, brush, palette knife).                            


The starting point is often no longer obvious in the final painting. It is just one of the many layers that combine to bring depth and mystery to the work. Even the paintings that look relatively simple often have a rich history, reflecting some of the complexity and intricacy found in nature and in our inner lives. (The pictures in this section show one of the first layers of the "Transition" painting and the final result.)


I sign my works on the back because I want to give my viewers the freedom to experiment and change the way the work is displayed.  There is often more than one right way up – what works best may depend on your mood, what is going on in your life and where the work is hung.

Portsmouth Reflections Susanne Irving Reflection series.jpg

Role of photography


For me, photography is an artform in its own right. I love to show something familiar from an unusual perspective. Some of my favourite photos have a timeless quality about them. 

I love "reflective photography" (photos that are showing reflections and/or are inviting reflection), "nature's art" (showing botanicals in an interesting light) and photographic experiments that may involve changing and combining paintings and photos through photo editing software.


I use photography to record the different stages of making an artwork. Having a record of earlier “incarnations”, helps me to remain playful and curious and to take risks with my paintings.


I also use photo editing software like Photoshop Elements and Topaz to create different renditions of an artwork.

I can usually make prints available of my finished artwork and my art process. Please contact me via the contact page or by e-mailing if this is of interest.

Check out the current selection of prints that can be bought online.

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