Written by April Spadina
The Australian spirit has always been symbolised by its laid-back, easy-going nature and it’s not hard to imagine the native animals joining in with the relaxed and happy lifestyle.
It is this spirit that wildlife artist Sue Sheppard captures when she creates art in her Graham’s Creek country home.
Cheeky kookaburras, flabbergasted emus and muscular kangaroos are ever present in Sue’s drawings, and they arrive on the paper with a very healthy dose of humour.
Sue’s talents are multi-facetted, and she is a sharer of her skills. Her studio is often a hub of creativity with workshops and gatherings, artists coming together to create clay sculptures, mosaics, and paintings. Her home is her studio workshop, and she shares it with a menagerie of Australian animals in many shapes and forms, from her kooky clay emus and delicate sugar gliders to her intricate pencil drawings, and brightly coloured paintings there is wildlife whimsy in every corner. Her artworks are reproduced on merchandise that she sells in local markets and outlets.
Until recently it wasn’t unusual for Sue to take up to 70 hours to complete a hyper-realistic bird drawing, but then she discovered the joy of “whimsy” and hasn’t looked back!
Her drawings are still highly detailed and take many, many hours to complete, whilst wearing strong magnifying glasses and using needle sharp pencils, but the laid-back vibe and sense of humour in her art is evident.
Her kind nature and adoration of wildlife is expressed in her philanthropic ways, a percentage of every sale going to the local wildlife rescue and animal refuge, and over the last couple of years she has helped raise over $9,000 through fundraising events!
Earlier this year Sue received some surprising news after taking a DNA test to determine her ancestry. The results showed Sue’s linage included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and suddenly she has connected with a history that is new, but strangely comfortable to her.
It explains her wild mass of soft curls and her love for Australian wildlife, and strangely a painting she did just prior to her discovery, which has a very distinctive indigenous feel. It just fits with Sue and has led her to unite with family she didn’t know existed until now.
As Sue reflects on this new and exciting element of her life, she sits at her drawing table and sips at her tea, the light spills through the old windows and filters into the room, dappling on the vintage dishes and jugs on the kitchen ledges. She picks up a pencil and starts to draw and the gumtrees and possums are once again brought to life, and just for one brief moment … she is sure she hears a kookaburra laughing at a flabbergasted emu.
Facebook: Sue’s Zoo –Mobile: 0428 181 577