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My rebirth
At seventeen Susan Schildkamp started following her vocation ("my rebirth") as a visual arts creator at the Royal Academy of Visual Arts and the Free Academy, both in The Hague. After that she designed rugs for three years for the architect Bas van Pelt from The Hague and wove them in her own studio. Later on she made designs for De Munk Carpets. Nepalese women knotted her colourful designs at the time and still do.Throughout the years Susan has specialised in several techniques in painting and drawing: acrylic paint, gouache, chalk, pencil and also tempera. Also lithography and sculpting are among her art skills. She developed her own artistic language to express what keeps her occupied.

Her life is painting: "My language is colour"
Wherever she is, in her mind she's always painting. Her life is painting: "My language is colour". Moods have certain colours. I colour people's walls. That makes them a little happier. She's inspired by people's strength to give a positive turn to dramatic events in their lives. The following poem by Neeltje Maria Min has been an important inspiration for her. Emotion is imperative to her work. Her paintings are sparkling, lively and plentiful. The happy worlds, guarded by the sun and the moon seem to float between reality and illusion. Abstruse human figures thereby glide among architectonic elements. Her resources of inspiration are her own dreams, but also nature, different materials and little finds of which she often makes a print. Varying from rusty discarded tools showing traces of human touch and emotion to finds with an interesting shape, colour or history. For instance mummified little skulls, feathers, hooks but mainly shells. Dreams inspire her to specific themes or situations and people in her work.

No sketching, but straight on canvas
She makes her painting techniques unique by working on a transparent plastic background. She skips the initial sketching and puts images on straight away, using acryl and tempera.

A better world: Translated into colours and caught within lines
Susan paints visible and recognisable feelings, that point to a better world. A world that is both close and far away and combines all periods: sleeping, waking, dream and reality. Reality is brought back to the essential connotation. Translated to colours and caught within lines is the connotation, the only thing that counts. Emotion caught in lighting squares of paint like reflections on happiness. Spectators experience her paintings as mirrors of their own dreams and emotions.

Author: Rob Berends, art historian - September 2014