December 2, 2023

Artist Interview – Sue Rowe



Sue Rowe




Birmingham, UK



Brief artists statement


My paintings are created using a very limited colour palette – in any painting I use only eight solid colours apart from some highlighted detail.


I call my work ‘Precision Art’ as by using a complicated process which I have developed over a number of years. I produce almost ‘photo real’ paintings by the layering of this small colour palette. It never ceases to amaze me that, having pushed this process to its limits, this sort of result can be achieved with so few colours! I believe the way I create my paintings is unique to me as I am not aware of anyone else using the same process.


As I paint from photographic images my subject matter is limitless.


I have recently created a couple of new strands of work in a pop art style and have used embellished resin..


I have exhibited widely and sell through several galleries nationwide. I have paintings in private and corporate collections in many countries including Italy, Spain, Germany, France, United Emirates and Australia


I welcome commissions.



Rainy Day on Oxford St by Sue Rowe

How did you become an artist? Did you always dream of a life in the art-world?


I think a person doesn’t ‘become’ an artist…you can have some training for the more technical points but I think an artist is born with paint running through their veins instead of blood! When I was a child I was obsessed with drawing and I always dreamt of being some sort of artist….I would tell people rather pretentiously that I was going to be a ‘Commercial Artist’ having no idea whatsoever what that was…in fact I’m still not quite sure what a ‘Commercial Artist’ is….


How has your education helped your career?


I am quite an ‘oldie’ so education was the three ‘r’s’ and woodwork/metalwork for boys and cookery/typing for the girls….no expectations whatsoever for any of the pupils and absolutely no mention of college and I didn’t know of the existence of universities. I was always good at art and was awarded lots of ‘prizes’ throughout my schooling and even won a scholarship to go to art school but for family reasons was unable to take it up. A lifetime after when my children were grown I attended college as a mature student and they were happy days. But to be honest education only hindered my would-be art career as I was ‘taught’ not to aim higher than working in an office.


Do you work as an artist full-time? Describe your typical day. Do you have a routine?


I am a full-time artist and I do have a routine. My typical day would be to start with reading and answering emails…commission enquiries, staying in touch with galleries selling my work, etc. It is very important to answer enquiries promptly, efficiently and in a friendly but professional manner. I upload any new artwork images and videos to social networking sites then as I use a computer in my painting process I finish off any design work. I then move on to painting and if I am working on a project may work until late at night. Once I am working on a painting I am anxious to get it finished so become a workaholic! I have never missed a deadline yet!


Which historical and contemporary artists do you refer to most often? How are you influenced by their work?


I try not to be influenced by anyone’s work but I love Klimt.


What are the other influences on your work?


Fabric. One of my loves is fabric. I love visiting the Birmingham Rag markets to see what new material they have on their stalls. I love the textures and colours and sequins and glitter!


What is your favourite art gallery?


Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery because of its size and diversity and its associated exhibitions.


What are your experiences of the ‘art-world’ and the business of art?


Not good. Many people associated with the arts unfortunately, talk the talk but do not walk the walk….dealing with these people offers nothing but frustration. I’m sure most artists would like to sell their work…a full-time artist has to sell their work…the fact is a gallery is nothing but a shop which sells artwork…the artist is a supplier and the people who work in the galleries are in effect, shop assistants…we all have mortgages or rent to pay and getting on high horses about it won’t pay anyone’s wages! We all have to work with each other, for each other.


Do you have any tips or advice you wish you had known earlier in your career?


Decide if you really want to be a full-time artist with all it entails. Do you have what it takes to be the self-promoting, go-getting business person you will probably have to become? Learn how to appraise your work and be self-critical. Listen to constructive criticism from others. Do not listen (too much) to your friends and family – of course they are going to say your work is great! Practice how to make good presentations. Be able to speak fluently about your work and do not waffle. Don’t sign contracts with galleries, or if you do don’t be afraid to alter them to suit you. Set yourself targets to reach where you want to be at any given time – and stick to them! If you fail to reach these targets think carefully about the option of simply painting as a hobby.


Do you have a quotation that you keep coming back to and that keep you going? Have you a motto that gets you through?


Creative people find it hard to work in groups…they are temperamental….50% temper and 50% mental….

Which historical artist do you think is over-rated? Why?


Picasso! Emperor’s new clothes!


Do you or would you use assistants to make your work?


I think I would for the beginning of the process but not for the actual painting….but then again not…I’m selfish like that…


Do you use social networks? if so, how and which ones do you find most useful?


All the time! I have a personal Facebook page and ‘Sue Rowe art’ page where I have albums of all of my paintings. I also upload video’s of my paintings to my YouTube account.


Which artist should we all look up immediately? What art magazines, blogs or sites should art lovers be looking at?


Me of course! AN magazine is interesting.


Finish this limerick: 


There once was an artist from…Brum


who felt unusually glum,


she had run out of paint


so felt incredibly faint


but she just needs a kick up the bum!


Thank you for your time.

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