Sue Dowton

Sue Downton, gourd artwork Sue Dowton, gourd artwork Sue Dowton, gourd artwork

Sue Dowton, gourd artworks (acrylic on gourd)

Art Forms: painting (gourds and wall hangings)

Lives: White Cliffs


Sue Dowton was born in Swan Hill where her education was largely by correspondence. 

She expressed an interest in art at an early age with great success, achieving As for it in her school work. After getting married she renewed her interest in painting by entering her bird studies in water colour in the local show, winning first prize.

Sue now lives in an underground dugout in White Cliffs and brings gourds to life with her creative paintings.


What inspired you to settle in the remote town of White Cliffs?

My family and I have been coming up to White Cliffs in the May school holidays since 1975. A friend of ours invited us up to have a look at the place and my husband Ron fell in love with it straight away because he wanted to do a bit of opal mining.

What materials and techniques do you use in your artistic practice?

I used to be great mates with an old lady who was an artist and art teacher in her time. One day she suggested painting on gourds, so while I was away I came across some gourds for sale and I bought some for her and myself.  That's how it all got started.  

I also do wall hangings. I usually paint birds on them in watercolours or acrylic. 

Are there opportunities to exhibit your work locally?

Gaye Nicholls, who runs the White Cliffs post office, organised an exhibition in Broken Hill for us local artists to participate in. I took my gourd in, which she was quite stoked about and then after that exhibition she organised to run an exhibition out here as well so I entered my gourds in that too.  That was the biggest art festival we've had here.

What places inspire your creativity?

I love to go out and do paintings at Clancy's and Tibooburra because it just looks like it's a painter's dream out there, the way the trees have blended in with the rock formations.

There are artists that come out here and they just love the open spaces, they love the sunsets and the colours of the sky. It's quiet and peaceful.  You haven't got a lot of interruptions while you're painting.  It's so good.

Edited from an interview with Alexandra Djurichkovic, August 2011.