Artist Statement

Susan Ryder's father was a talented amateur painter and at thirteen, she started borrowing his oil paints. Her portrait commissions began while she was still at art school and it was there that her love of interiors began with the discovery of Edouard Vuillard and the teaching of Bernard Dunstan. She is still passionately in love with lamplight, to her it is more thrilling than the most beautiful sunset. Setting her scene before starting an interior can take time, moving a lamp a fraction, draping a jacket over a chair or dribbling wine into a glass to just the right level, the upright stem of a glass is her passion too.

Method of Working

After choosing and arranging her subject, Sue does a pencil sketch to decide on the canvas size and proportion. She then 'draws; in paint, squeezing Viridian, Ochre and Cadmium Red on the canvas and rubbing in with a turpy rag before wiping back the lighter areas to feel the composition emerging. She paints with round hog brushes, her palette: Titanium White, Yellow and Red Cadmium, Alizarin, Viridian, Cerulean, French Ultra and Prussian Blue. Starting with a middle ground object in mid tone - say a lampshade, she then cuts in with a darker tone behind then adding the important lightest point. She blocks in the larger shapes, always relating to the lightest point and thinking of depth, following with a finer hog for detail and emphasis. Two to three hours concentration - continuing the next day, light permitting. Final adjustments in the studio can take some time.

Biographical Details

Married to Martin Bates, Sue divides her time between London and the Scottish Borders
1997 Commissioned to paint HM The Queen by the RAC for their centenary
1981 Commissioned by HRH Prince Charles to paint Diana, Princess of Wales in her wedding dress
1964-66 Taught Art at Claygate School, Esher
1961-64 Studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art
Other Society Memberships
Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP)
Scholarships, Awards & Prizes
1991 New English Critic's Prize
1990 Alexon Portrait Award
1964 David Murray Travel Scholarship

Past Exhibitions

Frequently in the RA Summer Exhibition & other mixed shows
2013 Panter & Hall, Pall Mall, London
2009/10 Ackermann Gallery, London
2004 Oakham Gallery, London
1989/95/99 W. H. Patterson, London


The New English (represented in, 2006) by Kenneth McConkey, ISBN 1903973988