Sue Dickinson is widely considered to be one of the best South African wildlife artists of her generation. The composition of Sue’s paintings was critical. She based them upon the law of proportion known as the “Golden Mean”, which was an aesthetic principle used by the ancient Greeks. This is because Sue’s focus was the animal itself.
Her experience taught her that “what you leave out is just as important as what you put in”. As a result, this lead to a new style of depicting African wildlife, with her stark, clean images concentrating exclusively on the animal, as well as conveying the wide-open spaces of Africa.
Sue’s preferred painting medium was watercolour. This highly under-rated medium is widely acknowledged by artists to be the most difficult. “There is no room for error with watercolour – because once it’s on the paper, it is almost impossible to remove. Consequently, I work carefully and accurately. I’m not attempting to reproduce reality, therefore I want to work fairly loosely too,” she said.
“It is important for the viewer to be able to see the mark of the artist, and also the journey I have taken on the page. Certainly I don’t want a slick look.”