Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Conversation With A New Zealand Artist

There are a great deal of artist who I like and admire for their body of work, influences and who they themselves admire about other artist.  I love that in the world of the internet I can meet artist from around the world.  I met Suzanne Carter via facebook I found that we have many things in common; we are mums, we love our father in heaven and all the beauty he has created for us to enjoy and interpret in our painting and we both are self-taught.  She has been kind enough to allow me to ask her a few questions about her life in New Zealand and her art. I don't now if this is too long for a blog, but I didn't want to cut or edit anything out because I so enjoyed everything Suzanne had to say.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

Mag: Hi Suzanne, I have read your beautifully written bio and I found we have a lot in common. We are mums, self-taught artist who love God and are influenced by his creation that surrounds us.  I wanted to start by asking how did you become interested in art, what were your influences and whose works from the Old Masters do you find kinship with?

Suzanne:  Hey Maggie, I guess I have loved Art from an early age.  I was born into a creative family and both of my sisters are incredibly talented in their respective fields but I never painted at all until about 10 years ago.  The desire to create came out of my relationship with God and just grew from there; it is an overflow of Loving God.  I am inspired by so many different artists and genres I love both Da Vinci and Michelangelo but I also like some of the early Renaissance painters such as Fra Giovanni de Fiesole, (c.1400-55).

I also love Colin McCahon a New Zealand painter from this century who reflected the relationship between artist, poet and prophet and C.F. Goldie (1870-1947) Whose work with Maori is remarkable.  My faith greatly influences what I create, I'm drawn to nature, color just the pure beauty that is out there.  When I look at creation, the diversity and complexity, the colour and the artistry of all that God has made it causes me to marvel and my art is an overflow of worshiping this amazing Creator God.

Mag: I appreciate the self-taught artist we are like the underdog.  There are a few in the art trained world who don't believe our work as self-taught artist is relevant, but yet most thought provoking, heart inspiring works usually come from those who are self-taught.  What are your thoughts on this misconception?

Suzanne:  I guess there are many advantages and privileges to having being trained, but I haven't had access to this.  I appreciate the wealth of knowledge and talent of artists around me and I am always gleaning and seeking to learn and improve.  In some ways being 'self-taught' has given me great flexibility to find my own style and voice.

Mag: You are a stay at home mum of 6 and are home schooling, I admire that so much. How do you find the time to create?  

Suzanne:  My greatest joy in life after my relationship with God is being able to be home with my children, to spend time with them.  They have taught me so many valuable lessons and I count myself incredibly privileged to teach them and to share their learning journey.  This does mean that there is limited time for art and I usually find myself on the kitchen floor late at night when everyone else is in bed.  Art is very  spontaneous for me and I will grab time when the opportunity presents itself, usually I just go with the flow.

Mag: Do you have plans in the future to create art on a full time basis?  Suzanne:  I guess we live in seasons,which eventually pass, the only constant we have is change. The season that I am in right now is very busy and focused on children, as my free time increases I am looking forward to having more time to create art.

Mag: You live in New Zealand what is life like there and have you ever traveled to the US?  

Suzanne: Yes, I live 'Down Under' in New Zealand, home to 4 million people and 40 million sheep.  Seriously it is an amazing place to live.  We are an Island, well actually 2 main Islands surrounded by water.  We have no real nasties not like Australia, just a flightless bird called the kiwi fro which we get our name and a giant weta.  Kiwi's are very laid back, we have a 'number 8 wire' mentality which means we can make something out of nothing or usually find a solution to a problem and we are fanatical about rugby!  I have never traveled to the US, although I have made some great friends there, maybe one day!

Mag:  As a self-taught artist what bit of advise would you give someone attempting to pick up the paint brush and palette for the first time who wants to explore this wonderful world of art?

Suzanne:  My greatest hindrance in the beginning was comparing myself to people around me who had more talent and ability and instead of celebrating where they were at and being encouraged I would become discouraged by my lack of ability and want to quit.  I learned an important lesson from the 'parable of the talents' that I might have been given 1 talent in comparison to others, but if I am faithful with what has been given to me, if I use my 1 talent and don't bury it, than I will be given more and my gift will increase.

I was also told by an artist I admired that the LORD can take even the simplest drawing of a child offered to him with a heart of worship and use it to bring Him glory and change the lives of people.

Suzanne, I want to thank you so much for this interview.  I have enjoyed learning more about you and what inspires you to create.  I always look forward to seeing what you have created next.

Below are links where you can view and purchase Suzanne's art.


  1. Thank you I love Suzanne's work and what inspires her to create. I was happy to have been able to interview her. Wouldn't it be wonderful to visit New Zealand!