Susan O’brien


Ceramics had been my artistic outlet for most of my adult life after graduating from Melbourne’s RMIT, with exhibitions in both Victoria and New South Wales.

Having two boys and managing a career in pottery, then decorated wood works, became a case of very late nights and a fast and furious life style. Very enjoyable!

A move from country St Andrews to Eltham decided new adventures. So began my decision to further my painting which had been a number of subjects within my RMIT Ceramics Fellowship Course. Pleasure turned to passion, with now a great love for Suffolk Sheep – those with the inquiring eyes and wonderful black faces – prevalent in both Tasmania and rural Victoria.

Two exhibitions at the Cafe Julia – Melbourne; A couple at the lovely Wine Bar in Eaglemont; and at Bridges Restaurant / Garden World, have seen a progression in my style and my application of the paint.

I still have great challenges ahead, which makes painting so rewarding. I’m sure other painters will agree with this sentiment. It’s what keeps us all aspiring for that illusive “work of art”.

  • 1966Infant Teacher’s Certificate, Coburg, Victoria.
  • 1973Completed Associate Fellowship of Fine Arts, R.M.I.T majoring in ceramics.
  • 1974Studied ceramics in Stuttgart, Germany, and pottery in England and Africa.
  • 1975A year in Mauritius.
  • 1976Having introduced a technique of applying a porcelain slip painted with Australian wildflowers onto stoneware was invited to exhibit at Camberwell Arts Guild, The Yearly Boat Festival at Marysville, Received Diamond Valley Art Award, and one man exhibitions at historic Shillinglaw Cottage, Eltham and Eden N.S.W.
  • 1978Private showings, from home studio at St Andrews, Victoria.
  • 1980 – 1990Commissioned by exclusive stores such as Georges, House & Garden, and others in the Geelong area to paint on Italian ceramic ware, wooden fire screens, and Georges’ famous hat boxes.
  • 2001 – 2005 A change in direction from ceramics to painting.
    • Member of Heidelberg Artists Society (HAS).
    • Member of Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors 100 years old in 2009 (MSWPS).
    • Member of Palette Pals.
    • Former Member of Australian Guild of Realist Artists (AGRA).
    • Art Spot – Surf Coast, Vic
    • Represented – Eagles Nest Gallery, Aireys Inlet
Achievements and Exhibit Commendations
  • 2004-2008Camberwell Rotary
  • 2008Heidelberg Artists – President
  • Palette Pal Tours in VIC, TAS and N.S.W
  • 2005-2007Cafe Julia in Doncaster
  • 2005-2007Al Fresco 4 at Eaglemont Cellars, as part of “Winter in Banyule” Festival
  • 2005Painting tour in Corfu, Greece
  • 2007 and 2010Highly Commended – Parade College
  • 2008Best Oil / Acrylic Under $800 – Mordialloc Rotary
  • 2009Best Oil / Acrylic HAS
  • 2009Joint Exhibition – Bridges, Hurstbridge Victoria
  • 2010Highly Commended – Bright
  • 2010Best Modern – St. Kevin’s
  • 2010Best All Mediums Under $3,000 – Mt Waverley
  • 2010Best in Show – Heidelberg Artists Society Inc
  • 2010 and 2011Highly Commended – Bright
  • 2011Highly Commended – MSWPS
  • 2011Best Oil / Acrylic – Boxhill Rotary
  • 2011Best Acrylic – HAS
  • 2012Highly Commended, Sorrento Rotary
  • 2012Highly Commended, Camberwell Rotary
  • 2012Highly Commended, St Kevin’s