Thursday, 31 March 2011

Interview with an Artist - Sue Hodnett

JKPP Painter Sue Hodnett tells us about the "wild and windy" Northumbrian countryside which inspires her.
Sue is pictured here with her portrait of Julia Kay and Julia's portrait of her.

Tell us a little about yourself:
I paint from my home in the beautiful Northumbrian countryside which is in the far north of England.
It's often a wild and windy landscape and I love to experience it in all weathers with my sketchbook.
When I'm not painting I can be found trundling around Hadrian's Wall where I manage a World Heritage Site.

Tell us about your art:
I think of myself primarily as a landscape painter, following in the tradition of John Piper and Ivon Hitchens.
I need to use portable media which is why watercolour is so important to me. Like Piper, heritage is an important part of my work - often trips out visiting sites are recorded in my sketchbooks.

Tell us about your technique:
Over the years I've developed a speedy approach to working, to fit in with the time constraints of having a young family and being a working Mum. I usually work on a couple of paintings at the same time which are completed 'alla prima". Paintings are often abstracted and further abstracted, so the initial image can be difficult to find. I'm not trying to capture what a place looks like, rather a sense of place.

Tell us about the reaction you have had to your work:
I set my Flickr account up a year and a half ago just as I was turning 40, which was the first public showing of my work for 20 years. I guess work and family life take up so much of your time and energy that it's only now I have a little time for myself. I'm humbled by the comments people write but will always follow my own instinctive direction.

Tell us about who inspired/inspires you:
When I lived in Orkney I went to a painting class run by an artist called Doug Muir. He taught me about landscape painting - how to simplify things and not get too precious about your work. He also introduced me to his extensive library of art books which he gifted to the Pier Arts Center in Stromness when he died. The book I would most like to see again is his Emil Nolde book, a thick book of rich watercolour landscapes.

Tell us about you and JKPP:
JKPP has a real community feel about it. I'm not in the art 'scene' in Northumberland, so the contact and correspondence with other JKPP members has opened up my art world. I'm particularly interested in the part it plays in encouraging all ages and abilities to make portraiture an 'art for all'.

To find out more about Sue and see her work visit:


  1. Great to learn more about Sue and her fantastic art, but this also sent me seeking info about the wild north and Hadrian's wall.

  2. Bravo Stella for these very interesting interviews!