Susan Benson was born in Kent, England. Her father wrote scripts for many well known comedians, wrote short stories which were produced by the BBC, was a fight director and jewellery designer amongst many accomplishments. Her mother ran a theatre school, had talks produced by BBC radio, was a voice coach and theatre director, had ten novels published, painted icons and cultivated an amateur interest in Quantum Physics.
Susan was encouraged from an early age to pursue her love of drawing and painting and theatre. She trained as a painter in the UK before the family emigrated to Canada in 1966.
Over the years her work as a painter has been interwoven with design for the theatre, ballet and opera. As designer she worked with distinguished directors and companies in some of the world’s great houses. Her costume- and set-designs are instantly recognizable for authenticity, imagination, craftsmanship and an artist’s attention to subtlety of line and colour. Her work has been repeatedly recognized in awards and in inclusion in public collections.
Portraiture has been prominent in her painting, but the influence of the natural world, especially the scenery of the West Coast of Canada is revealed in her landscapes and in her representations—sometimes approaching abstraction—of natural forms.
Susan’s time spent in the Leighton Colony at the Banff Centre has had a profound effect on her work as a painter. The original time spent in the Colony was part of a Banff Centre Award for Contributions to the Arts in Canada. Since then she has been able to spend further time in the Colony developing her painting.
She now lives on Salt Spring Island on the West Coast of Canada.