“The impermanence of things is a fundamental law of nature. Things come and they go. Whatever things are like at the moment, they won’t always be like that. They won’t ‘always’ be like anything. There is ebb and flow in the river of life.”
Emily, or Emz as she's become known, is an artist living and working in London. She is represented by Wychwood Art, is one of a few hand-selected artists in the Artist Appreciation Initiative run by interior designer, Lindi Reynolds and has a very active commission book.
As the daughter of Wiltshire farmers, she was imbued with a fascination with the natural world and her life has always drawn her back to it, wherever she travels. During a childhood chequered by disability, she channelled her energy into a love of trees and learning how to truly look and observe the world, natural or otherwise. When a failed hip replacement at only 18 years old and subsequent permanent disability was the catalyst that sent her to Durham University to read Politics, she mourned the art college route she had so longed for during her childhood. Spending her twenties working in the city and also in TV working on 7 productions with the incredible David Attenborough, she never stopped picking up her pencils when she needed some headspace.
Emz started painting professionally after her daughter was born in 2017 and she has grown a successful and full commission book of oil paintings during the COVID pandemic. Alongside this, she's created series about her childhood and most recently a series called #GreenLondon - celebrating the green spaces in her wonderful city.
Her most recent series, Look Up Trees, is a passion project born out of three miscarriages experienced over 18 months. Having been diagnosed with PTSD, Emz found herself turning to trees to help get herself back on track. Painting, sketching and making with her hands has afforded her a meditation-like focus and she's recently been practicing and learning all things mindfulness. In 2022 and beyond, Emz hopes to open up courses in mindful sketching in nature where she aims to help others with their mental health.
"My paintings are born out of deep emotion - they allow me to get curious with these emotions, accept them and express them through colour. I have developed this practice after experiencing PTSD - during this dark period, my mind was paralysed and the colour I saw was dark and foreboding. I learned one day that being in nature, and particularly laying under trees allowed me to look to the sky and see the full range of beautiful colour again. Each painting I now undertake seeks to remind myself of this moment.
My process is therapeutic. There are emotions that come up throughout my day that I haven’t the time to fully explore, so I give them a colour and a shape and when I’m in my studio, I recall. I either mix my black oils, or open Procreate and I start. Whilst I paint, I get curious and try to work out what it is about the emotion that I’m not comfortable with. And I paint it. Once the canvas is covered with the darkest colours, I pause and reflect. I’ve done something hard. And now it’s time for fun. I now start mixing the colours, I put on some fun music and just let rip. Often, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror during this phase of a painting and my face is lighter, I’m smiling, and sometimes dancing! The final part of each of my paintings is the sky. I apply it slowly. With purpose. Almost like a stretch after an exercise.
I consider my paintings semi-realistic and a mix between impressionism and Pop and I have ambitions to scale up my work when I have the space available. I’m also excited to explore the possibilities of working in traditional oils and digital formats together, and how the two can really complement each other."
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