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  • Susanne Irving

The "Transition" painting started off as a response to my external environment but turned into a "soulscape”, a way of processing my thoughts and feelings about the new season I was entering.


The first layer of paint was poured on a day when heavy autumn rains seemed to wash away nature’s colours prematurely. There were talks about another lockdown, and I was also thinking about retirement.


The painting process helped me to contemplate how I wanted to transition through the challenging season ahead. I felt the need to embrace space and to slow down to process both planned and unplanned changes.


Over several days I poured leftover eco household paint on my canvas, observing how it wanted to flow, before gradually adding graphite powder, Brusho granules, coffee grounds and dried leaves to see how the different elements would interact.


As a finishing touch, I incorporated some of my greying hair and leftover wax from a soya candle - a reminder to embrace the present and not to cling to what is past. (I see the change of hair colour as a natural part of getting older - and you cannot "unburn" a candle!)


I decided to give myself 6 months to prepare for retirement to honour the last 16 years of my working life as a counsellor. During that time the finished painting hung in my home office. I could see it whenever I interacted with clients, colleagues and friends on webcam - a visual reminder to go with the flow rather than resist changes.


Many people seemed to be drawn to the painting. I am always fascinated what other people see. While they may spot something that has been at the edge of my awareness, I believe that the way we look at art mirrors back something of our own journey.


Whilst the painting was initially conceptualized as a landscape, I have also hung it in portrait format since I retired.



This seems to better express the sense of climbing a steep hill as I learn new habits and skills! (I sign my artwork on the back to allow for maximum flexibility in how an artwork is displayed.)


After 10 months of inspiration, I am ready to let the painting go to a new home. I would hope that a new owner would also get a lot of pleasure out of it.


The painting is currently exhibited at the Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society Exhibition in Portsmouth Cathedral, which runs from 1st to 11th August.


I am investigating the best way to produce prints from the original so that more people can enjoy this work.


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