A dynamic and expressive painter, Emily Powell’s work is brimming with energy. She hopes to convey in her work the joy of everyday experience; the simple pleasures that can be derived from immersing oneself in an unfamiliar landscape, the burst of colour from a fresh bunch of flowers or even just the arrival of a cup of tea. The natural world is fundamental to Emily’s practice and she regularly heads out on trips to paint and sketch on location in Devon and in Scotland. Marking down on canvas a passing breeze, the warmth of sunlight or the fleeting movement of clouds overhead, Emily invites the viewer to become part of her world.
Emily’s work is always a direct reflection of what she’s feeling inside and ‘Pink Does Help’ is no different. When she began to think about this piece we were in the middle of the second national lockdown. Emily was feeling the mental and physical fatigue and she knew that she needed to turn to colour and paint to express her thoughts. She wanted to create a piece that brought out the light of the here and now but that also looks up and looks forward to future days. This represents itself in the flowers and the leaves that are all pointing up, rising towards a positive future.
Emily’s process involves constantly adding colour and shape to the canvas, not quite knowing what she’s painting but acting on instinct until she pulls back and sees the canvas as a whole. She feels that it is important to acknowledge sad and negative feelings but not to dwell on them; positivity must prevail! This floral work fills the canvas from top to bottom with layer upon layer of bright contrasting colours and deliberate brush strokes that results in a feeling of overwhelming comfort and positiveness that encloses the viewer as they stand back and view the piece. Emily started this painting hoping to come out the other side with something that she could look at on the wall and draw comfort from in the hope that that brighter days are coming.
Last summer Emily was shortlisted for the prestigious and annual Royal Academy Summer Show, a show that has been a feature on the annual art calendar for 252 years! Unlike most years when it is attended by thousands of people and is one of the most anticipated exhibitions of the year, the Summer 2020 show was of course postponed due to COVID. The BBC decided to make a documentary following some of the applicants, including our very own Emily Powell! In the end she wasn’t selected to share a wall with Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry but she got pretty close and you can watch her journey here, on BBC iplayer.
Emily has already collaborated with a range of prestigious institutions such as the British Museum, National Galleries of Scotland and the Museum of Modern Art, New York on a variety of commercial projects while continuing to exhibit her personal work in galleries across the UK. Morningside Gallery is the only gallery in Scotland to show Emily’s work and we receive new paintings every few months (usually while Emily is en route to the North of Scotland to paint). You can see all of her paintings on our website and keep up to date by following us on Facebook and Instagram. For those interested in a peek into Emily’s house and way of life, you can enjoy a recent article published in Harpers Bazaar magazine here.