Sue's Biography

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Sue Stolberger was born in Jamaica in November 1959, but when she was four years old, her parents moved to Tanzania, East Africa. She grew up enjoying the pristine beaches north of Dar es Salaam, and often travelled with her parents to Tanzania's wonderful game parks during the holidays. These trips into the wilderness were without doubt a great influence on Sue's desire to make a career from art and wildlife.

Sue began painting seriously after leaving school, and at the age of eighteen she held her first exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya. By the time she was 22, she had decided she wanted to make a career as a wild-life artist, and so took herself off to Italy to learn what she could from the great masters. She remained there for two years, and the knowledge and experience she gained in Italy only served to fuel her dream.

Funding everything by selling her paintings, she finally returned to East Africa where her adventures in the bush - paint brushes in hand - began. Alone in her jeep, she ventured into the wildest of places - places she thought would be interesting - continuing to develop her artistic skills by sketching and painting from life. The more remote and inaccessible the places were, the more she enjoyed it. Her quest for adventure and her wonderful experiences in the African bush coupled with her desire to paint, has created a life of fulfillment and delight.

Sue always works exclusively in the field. Over the past nineteen years she has lived and worked in National Parks in Tanzania and Kenya, worked from her mobile camp that could be set up anywhere, sleeping under the stars with just a net for protection, and working under a fly-sheet to keep the sun off. She spent two years painting scenes of the nomadic Somalis and their camels in north eastern Kenya. This was dangerous country where bandits roamed, but she never encountered any trouble. Another project saw her living alongside the Maasai tribal people developing collections of paintings for exhibition. She spent four years captivated by the scenery and wildlife in Tsavo West National Park with a fabulous view of the magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro. Two more years were spent in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. In 1992, she drove solo from East Africa to Namibia and back—an ardous journey which took over six months to complete. On all of her pergrinations, Sue recorded the local scenery, wildlife and people with her paintings.

For the past eleven years, Sue has been living and working in the Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania a place she remembers well from her childhood. Her studio is a camp on the banks of the Great Ruaha River. She finds the peace and solitude of the remote area not only conducive to painting but the best way to learn and observe from the vast array of wildlife that surrounds her home. She sketches prolifically, and never ceases to be inspired and enthralled by the diversity of light, colour, patterns and designs that nature conjures up.

"My motivation is to direct the viewer's attention to the fascinating design and beauty surrounding us in the natural world. The patterns and combinations of colours used in display and camouflage are all so perfect in their detail. I like to focus on a subject to highlight it's design, which can be almost abstracted from its form and yet still be part of its environment."

"In addition to the more design-orientated paintings, I also like to capture fleeting moments, for that is all they ever are: the constantly changing light, the seasons, and the mood. Although the overall effect may be different, my interest in composition and design always remains paramount."

Sue exhibits around the world, having had numerous solo shows and combined exhibitions, in London, New York, and Johannesburg to name a few.

Sue is passionate about conservation and after serving for 10 years on
the Friends of Ruaha Society committee she has now branched off on her own. Click here for more details on her current projects.

Although Sue does not accept commissions, she will send photos of work she has done that may interest clients interested in a particular subject. For more information, please email sue@ruaha.com

 

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