Susannah Paterson Painter, Ceramicist & Therapist

I am a Scottish Australian painter, potter living in Sydney,’s Northern beaches. I create vibrant paintings about dream states and symbolic narratives, often evoking comparisons to the work of Marc Chagall. I make a range of ceramics, functional and sculptural, sometimes hand painted with scenes and snippets from the paintings. I am mainly an oil painter, though do make forays into other media such as watercolour, inks and drawing.

I have always been a dreamer, and influenced by the imaginal worlds. I was born into a Scottish Highland farming family and sent to an English boarding school at the age of 8. My parents were divorced and both remarried . My father remained on the farm in Scotland, and my mother moved to London, married a jazz pianist and lived a bohemian life. It was between the stark contrast of these three lives that I found refuge in the creative - dreams, fantasy, music, stories and art.

With art school considered too "way out" and therefore prohibited, I set out on a meandering path to adulthood as a horse riding teacher, followed by a spell at secretarial college which I loathed. Secretarial work did give me an entrance into the music industry, where I worked as an admin assistant for concert promoters both in Scotland and Australia. I adored that work but I was young and a bit crazy but soon realised that I needed to get out of it if I was going to survive another decade.

I became a psychotherapist in the early 1990s (see my Therapist page) , and its no surprise that my work in this field has greatly influenced my art practice.

I picked up the paintbrush after many years of absence in the late 1990s and was immediately filled with a new purpose and meaning. I attended art school for 2 years, but found the system stifling. As the third year approached, I left and continued my art practice by attending workshops and with mentorship of the late Australian artist Kerrie Lester.

Pottery provides a perfect oppositional force, keep me grounded. I am exploring ways to integrate the paintings and the pottery more, either through painting images from my paintings onto large platters, or using those wheel thrown platters as canvases .. I also enjoy making Dogimals - dog like animals - as a way of honouring animals.

I see the creative process as an analogy of life. We are all born by chance, into some sort of chaos. Everything is unknown. The challenge for us is to create something meaningful and satisfying from the chaos and our inherited “marks”..

My work is always evolving. I am obsessed with colour, emotions and the need to keep drawing the viewer’s attention , as I might have drawn a client’s attention to what is unseen, unexpressed, invisible and what has potential and infinite possibility.


I spent three years at TAFE studying Fine art and Ceramics (2004 - 2007),
Numerous Workshops and courses with some of Australia's finest.
Since 2016 I have attended the Open Studio Program at Brookvale TAFE Ceramics Department under the guidance of Master Potter Christopher James.

We will never sell your information