Chesterfield artist with bipolar condition mounts first public exhibition of paintings

A Chesterfield woman with a bipolar condition who has struggled with communication and mixing with people for many years is staging her first art exhibition.

By Gay Bolton
Monday, 1st August 2022, 11:33 am
Sue Dickins is staging her first art exhibition at West Studios, Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, from August 8 to 26, 2022
Sue Dickins is staging her first art exhibition at West Studios, Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, from August 8 to 26, 2022

Sue Dickins will unveil her oil paintings in a display entitled This Woman’s Work, which launches on Saturday. August 6.

The 50-year-old artist paints in her dining room at home. She said: “It is just a hobby of mine that I find helps with stress and anxiety.”

Her exhibition at West Studios, Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, just down the road from the former St Helena’s School where Sue was a pupil, will include figurative oil paintings that she has completed this year. Sue said: “They are mostly of women I have met and become friends with over the last year, who have all shown incredible strength and courage after several years where the majority of us have suffered; it has been a difficult time for most due to Covid and loneliness.

Sue Dickins, alongside her Broken Hearted painting.

“I have studied other artists and realised that art has been a great way to communicate and bring people together. Artists over the years have tried to communicate feelings through their art rather than speech alone. I want to tell the stories of these friends to whom I am extremely grateful for their help and friendship.

"I want my art to make people feel deeply and realise that we all have inner strength and determination somewhere deep inside. Sometimes we just need a little help from our friends!”

Sue, who is mainly self-taught, was a finalist in a worldwide art competition last year, in which she was placed in the top four out of 26 countries. The painting which took her there is titled Solitude and shows a woman lying naked on a bed gazing thoughtfully. Solitude will feature in the exhibition at West Studios.

“One of my main pieces on display and for sale is a very large oil painting titled Inner Peace,” said Sue. “It is a portrait of a young lady draped in a kimono of peaches, creams and gold, deep in her own thoughts.

Tree Of Life is a portrait of a friend of Sue Dickins, symbolising her inner strength and beauty

"I have several portraits of women wearing red. The reason being I was inspired by an artist living in Canada, Jamie Black, many years ago to reach people through art rather than words alone. She invented The REDdress project which was to bring awareness about the hundreds of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada and North America for which very little or nothing is done about. She hangs empty red dresses in public spaces. Some say red is the only colour spirits can see, and so displaying these dresses she is providing a voice for them, and by wearing red we are guiding these lost souls home.

A keen horsewoman, Sue will also be exhibiting wildlife and equestrian paintings that she has completed over the past few years.

She said: “A few of the paintings will be for sale along with a couple that I’ve had reproduced as limited edition prints. Prices range from £95 for the smallest mounted signed and numbered print up to £700 for the largest original framed oil painting.”

Her exhibition will open to the public on Monday, August 8 and runs at West Studios until Friday, August 28.

Red Dress is Sue's portrait of a friend.

Sue, who lives with her son Ben and retired from the police force several years before he was born, added: “I would love to be recognised in the art world one day and be able to share my work with a much wider audience.”

Sue's painting entitled Inner Peace depicts her son's girlfriend Inner Peace draped in a kimono imported from Japan.
Lady of Shalott is Sue's interpretation of the painting by Waterhouse which she says is a favourite of hers.