Sue Clayton is a portrait artist with a vibrant colour palette and a social purpose. 


Clayton, making a radical change in mid-career to become a self-taught full-time artist, soon saw success with recognition by ‘Britain’s Got Artists’ (2012), and most recently, as ‘Outstanding Visual Artist’ in the York Culture Awards, for her much-admired York Heroes (2017-2018) project. The Exhibition featured among others, legend of the York Theatre Royal pantomime, Berwick Kaler, and animal welfare practitioner, Mary Chapman.


The original Downright Marvellous! (2015) exhibition mainly depicted young children who have Down Syndrome, but her new portraits feature what Clayton views as the ‘unrepresented and significant’ social presence of adults with Down Syndrome at work and at leisure. Clayton is drawn to the portrait because ‘it insists upon the idea that the more you look at a face, the more you see. Every single aspect – the eyelids, the nostrils, the complexion – reveals the personality and character of every individual person’. Her vision is especially important to represent those who are sometimes socially ‘unseen’.


Influenced by Rembrandt, York artist, William Etty, and more contemporary painters like Jenny Saville and Tim Benson, Clayton enjoys working with dynamic colours to make marks ‘that should not be there but somehow work’. As such, her approach to portraits not merely apprehends the likeness of her subjects, but their inner life too.


Sue  also enjoys sharing her passsion for art through workshops and tutored sessions. See website for further details.

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© Sue Clayton