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Susan Cavaliere

My work has been inspired by an admiration of surrealism and abstraction and is driven by an interest in mythology, folklore and fantasy. In earlier years, I lived on Salisbury Plain and had some family connections with Stonehenge, which developed an early interest with the myths and legends surrounding Druids and Pagans. When I lived in London, my attentions diversified and I began to explore historical sites like the Tower of London, drawn to its Ravens and the tales surrounding it.  After finally settling in Devon, I became fascinated by the King Arthur legend and visited Tintagel and Glastonbury. Now I regularly visit different castles to soak up the atmosphere and learn about the folklore.


It is from here that I work in my Torquay studio, a very important place for me to focus on my art. In this space, I can bring my inspirations and create totally from imagination, shutting out unwanted interference. Once ensconced here, days often turn to night as I work.


Art and paintings have always been a big part of my life and the fine art groundings from my studies at Salisbury School of Art had a big impact, providing me the confidence and inspiration needed to experiment with new methods, such as combination practices using both oils and waxes. Artists that have made an impression on me include, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as impressionists including Cezanne and Van Gogh, later also Odilon Redon and Klimt. More recently I have enjoyed the Polish surrealist Zdzisław Beksiński, a leading figure in contemporary Polish art in the late 60s.


I create my pieces through colour and tonal layering and balance in my work is hugely important. To a degree, this structuring offers a form of meditation, when I feel happy and relaxed I know that a piece is finished. The eye must be led around the painting leaving room for the imagination to fill in details. 


For me a painting must provoke interest and for this reason narrative features heavily in my work.Most of my pieces have a story or a reason behind them, often based in a specific folktale or myth. However, this narrative is never definitive and I always encourage people to bring their own views to my work.


I love to exhibit my paintings and have done so many times over the years. An extensive career has meant that I now have the privilege of a number of works being held in international collections including in the USA, Far East and European homes.