See work of 'gardening artist' at exhibition in Berwick

The walls of Sue Handoll’s front room are peppered with canvases containing art of all styles and dimensions.

To the left, a white horse rears its head joyfully. To the right, the snowy hills of the Lake District are intensified by a foregrounded spray of red roses.

Across the room, paths wind through the sun dappled trees of a London park.

Art has been Sue’s constant companion throughout her life and it is apt that celebrations of her 90th birthday include an exhibition of her work next week.

Sue Handoll. Picture by Charlotte Payn.

The exhibition was booked to mark Sue’s actual 90th birthday in 2021. However, as with so many plans, Covid-19 intervened.

Encouraged by friends and family, she pressed on and the exhibition and sale of her work will finally take place at The Maltings in Berwick from Tuesday, July 26 to Friday, July 29.

Sue is a familiar sight on Berwick’s Quayside throughout the summer – sketching, drawing and painting with other U3A artists working under her tutelage.

Despite having tutored artists for more than 20 years, she is adamant that she is not a professional artist. That is a title, she says, only for those who earn a living from their art.

Turner is an inspiration for Sue and experimenting with style and media is part and parcel of her work. This joy of pushing at boundaries is a useful tool in encouraging others to free up their creative approach.

However, she says of her students: “I’m always surprised at how good they are and they always give me as much as I give them.”

Sue’s affinity with the natural world shines out of her work. She describes herself as “a gardening artist or an artist who gardens”.

She particularly delights in colour and finding the exact shade, adding: “There’s a great difficulty with greens. There are simply hundreds of them.”

Painting has accompanied Sue through her life and achievements – training as a farmer, working as a stage manager, poaching eggs for punters at Lyons Corner House, marriage and parenthood, a career as a maths teacher and now a very active retirement.

Art, she says, has “given me purpose in life”.

Sue’s work will be on view and for sale at The Maltings on each of the exhibition dates between 10.30am and 4pm. Entry is free.