Article Photo

Susan’s nature-inspired artwork brings the outside in

03 Jun 2020

What do you do if you find yourself temporarily living in an old family crib overlooking Brighton, near Dunedin?

If you’re an artist whose work is inspired by New Zealand native birds like Susan Irvine, you treat the whole house as one big canvas and use it to bring the outside in.

“The house is quite ‘characterful’,” says Susan with a laugh. “I’ve always been keen to add some artistic flair here, so I’ve just been painting bits here and there to brighten it up.”

Inside, Susan has taken to the top of some stairs to create a mini mural of fantails or pīwakawaka hopping around native plants, using a testpot of Resene Blumine she had on hand.

“Because we were in lockdown it seemed a good time to do it, but I didn’t have a lot of supplies lying around. So I used a couple of testpots I already had.”

Susan’s other lockdown home decoration improvements include another mini mural of a tui, on the side of a cupboard and, and an upcycled water tank used for a side business selling pinecones and kindling, and again painted with native birds and plants.

Native birds still feature heavily in Susan’s art when she is not decorating her crib.

“I’ve been a fan of New Zealand native birds since I was a kid and my dad brought home a book by Elaine Power. They feature a lot in my other art.

“We’re also surrounded by native bush here at the crib so there are always native birds like fantails, tui, kereru and bellbirds around. It seems to make sense to bring them inside the house as well.”

 You can find more of Susan’s art on Facebook and Instagram.


Susan used her artistic talents to make her temporary Otago house a little more like home by painting this beautiful ‘mini mural’ on the side of these cupboards in Resene Blumine. Plant pot in Resene Princess.


A closeup of Susan’s tui, painted in Resene Blumine.


Susan also shares her nature inspired sign she painted in Resene Quarter Baltic Sea.