Susan Sharrard was born and educated in Birmingham. She studied for five years at Edinburgh University between 1992 and 1997 where she achieved an MA (Hons) degree in Fine Art before completing a PGCE in Birmingham. She taught History of Art A’ level and practical art at Rugby School before joining the Drawing Schools at Eton College. After nearly twenty years of teaching there she moved full time to her home on the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband Ian Burke in December 2021. She has been running Staithes Gallery since February 2022 alongside producing her own work.
Susan paints a variety of subjects, from landscapes and wildlife painting to portraiture. She has exhibited in the Scottish National Gallery Students’ Exhibition, Rugby Open Show, Rugby School Staff Show, Eton College Staff Show and Shepherd’s Market, London. She has exhibited on several occasions in joint shows at the ‘Inspired By Gallery’ in Danby Moors Centre.
I first visited Staithes in 1999 with Ian, who was hunting for a house in the village. As boarding school teachers we were fortunate to be able to live anywhere we wanted to. We lived for four years in the village before ultimately relocating to a village inland where we now live full time.
Staithes village is totally subservient to the dramatic landscape enfolding it. The rows of houses follow the meandering progress of the beck running through the village between the surrounding sandstone cliffs. The village rarely looks the same, transformed by the changing light and weather conditions of the environment.
In my paintings I attempt to capture these fleeting moments as the tide rises and falls in the Beck and the shadows lengthen and move around throughout the day. I like to use panoramic and square formats in order to convey the powerful sense of structure of the buildings within the landscape.