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Margaret River abstract painter Sue Briggs says emotions tied to Ukraine conflict are changing the way she creates

Open studio: Sue Briggs' studio will soon be open for the public to see her art, which is influenced by her ties to the conflict in Ukraine. Picture: Supplied.

Open studio: Sue Briggs' studio will soon be open for the public to see her art, which is influenced by her ties to the conflict in Ukraine. Picture: Supplied.

Unlike many other artists, Margaret River abstract painter Sue Briggs doesn't set out to make statements or push ideas.

She leaves the meaning of her art up to you.

"I don't want to dictate what it is. To say, 'this is it and there's no other way you can look at it'," she said.

"I'd rather invite other people to be able to look at a painting and wander through the surface and find meaning for themselves."

Ms Briggs was introduced to the world of abstract art in the 70's, and has always loved big colourfields and the subtleties of colour and shape.

She has been a Margaret River resident for nearly 40 years and her previous work has also taken inspiration from the natural environment, which has been the backbone of many abstract artworks.

"I fell in love with the sky, the ocean, just that edge where everything meets," she said.

This year, Ms Briggs said the conflict in Ukraine would influence her upcoming art pieces, as it continued to bring up difficult emotions tied to her family history.

Ms Briggs' mum was born in Estonia, and experienced life under Russian occupation. Part of that experience included losing her brother, who was taken by Russian forces one day.

"They just came and took him one day, out of the school where he was teaching. They never saw him again and never found out what happened to him," Ms Briggs said.

While Ms Briggs doesn't try to make statements with her art, she said painful feelings about the current conflict were bound to affect the way she creates.

"I wouldn't call it inspiration, but being affected by something so powerful," she said.

"To me it's so shocking that something like that can happen in this day and age. Some of that anger and frustration may come out in my paintings."

While her previous colour stories have centred in blues and greens, Sue has recently found herself adding vibrant yellow to her paintings; a colour in the Ukraine flag.

Sue entered one of her pieces, No War Ever, into the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival art competition, which will exhibit through May.

She is also one of 167 artists who have signed up this year to allow visitors to come into their usually private studios, as part of the Open Studios event in Margaret River.

Taking part for her fifth year running, Sue said she always looked forward to welcoming curious locals into her back yard studio.

"I love that interaction with people who are truly interested in finding out about what you're doing and how you do it and why you do it," she said.

"There's this instant interaction between people who are interested in your work and even people who have never seen your work."

"Its an organic sort of thing. People can go and visit and find places of interest and go to something that you would never normally go to."

Open Studios will run from 10 to 25 September, and you can plan your visits at https://www.mrropenstudios.com.au/

The Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival Visual Stories Art Competition and Exhibition will run in the foyer of Margaret River HEART. More information can be found at mrrwfestival.com/visual-stories/