On Saturday we traveled to Cardiff on the train carrying several large bags of carefully wrapped paintings. I had been feeling tired and anxious about driving there so we decided to go by train instead. Over a decade ago I started having panic attacks on the motorway and despite hypnosis and therapy, I still cannot face the thought of driving on motorways. Or even the thought of accidentally ending up on an motorway, which is what happened when I had my first panic attack in Port Talbot. It’s worse when I am tired. So Seamas (my husband and fellow artist) and I, traveled by public transport.
Seamas arranged the paintings across the 3 windows and they looked even brighter than usual in the slight gloom of the hall. My paintings shared the upstairs hall with Charlotte Formosa’s “Fluro” exhibition. Her duo of very large paintings and decorated objects were a riot of luminous colours, textures and materials.
Poet Lucy Corbett had an exhibition called “poetry in a Bottle”. Her poems were bitter-sweet and thought provoking. She explained to me that she wanted to make poetry as ubiquitous as the advertising slogans we are bombarded with everyday. The idea being that people would take away the poems (not the bottles) and pass them on to others. I liked the ideas of the poems in bottles, as they reminded me of messages or distress calls launched by strangers from afar.
Three Cardiff ceramics students were also exhibiting their works upstairs in in the hall and in the stairwell. Their works were very distinctive and rather beautiful.
Downstairs was the intricate and fascinating work of Sheila Vyas. I could have looked at her mixed media work for hours. It was very powerful and emotional work. She also had the most gorgeous little dog with her that I wanted to take home with me!
The staff at Brynmill Coffee House have been working really hard at selling tickets for the draw to raise money for Tender Heart Foundation. They sold £38 pounds worth of tickets for the NGO charity which works the poor, mostly Dalit people (untouchable caste) in Goa and Kanateka in India.
Rhia, who took a break from serving bacon bagels for 5 minutes, to help me tear all the raffle tickets from the book. First we jammed them in a cup but that didn’t seem right. There wasn’t enough room to rummaged around properly. So then Rhia got a large mixing bowl from the kitchen so the tickets had more room to move around in. So after mixing up the ticket I pulled out one that belong to Matthew Rees. So well, done Matthew!
I am delighted to have sold “Pobbles and Three Cliffs” on the last day of my exhibition at the Brynmill Coffee House, Swansea. It was bought by a collector from West Cross, Swansea. The exhibition space is now occupied by my husband, James Henry Johnson’s work for the month of September so pop along!
My exhibition of Gower seascapes and scenes from life in Brynmill, Swansea.
There were some last minute discussions about what should be included. A late addition quickly had “D'” hooks and string attached this morning. The bubble wrap was rolled out and the paintings were carefully rolled into several parcels for the very brief car journey to the venue, Brynmill Coffee House, Langland Terrace, Swansea. When we arrived, the paintings were swiftly arranged around the room. One painting was almost left out, but some rearrangement of paintings and the arrival of an extra hook meant everyone made onto the walls. No one was carried back home. Photos were taken of my husband, Seamas, putting up the paintings, the final arrangement of pictures and then me with the paintings.
It’s great to see my work up on some else’s walls. The dark blue on the cafe walls really complements the paintings well. I can reflect on the themes I have followed over the course of the last 6 months. Whether its a determined shopper at the once-monthly Uplands Market, families outside Singleton Park or the waves on Gower beaches, it’s always about colour and light for me. I can see similar tones of blues and greens that I favour; royal blue, and yellow ochres in particular. It’s satisfying to think these paintings “belong” together. I think cafes and restaurants are a great place to exhibit paintings. White-walled galleries can be so intimidating. They really should have lots of sofas for people to sit on too. In a cafe or restaurant, people can take their time to look at the artwork on the walls in a relaxed environment. I hope that my art will bring people pleasure. I hope that by recognising places they know well, like the cafe they are sitting, in an oil painting, it will give them a small thrill. A shock of recognition. I think oil paintings have the power “elevate” quite ordinary things.
So now my exhibition is up and ready to be visited during the month of August. Pop by and enter the draw for the print of Brynmill Coffee House, worth £45, all proceeds will go the Swansea charity supported by Brynmill Coffee House.
I have a confession to make. The person who does most of the “getting ready” is not me – it’s my husband, Seamas. Yes, I paint the pictures, make sure all the edges are tidied up and my initials are on each painting but he does the fiddly stuff I hate. But he’s the one who helps me decide which paintings to have in the exhibition, he goes to buy the “D” ring hooks from the DIY shop round the corner, when we run out. Or yes, and another 4 balls of string. Then, he patiently sits down and measures the spacing at the back of the paintings, screws in the “D” hooks and then has to arrange the string so that 1) the painting won’t fall off the wall 2) it doesn’t hang too high or too long down from the brass hooks they have in the venue. He also went to the venue to double check how many spaces for paintings there are too. He’ll also help with the hanging on Monday afternoon and delivering the flyers to the local business and homes.
So if you are in Swansea in August please call by and have a cup of coffee in the Brynmill Coffee House – its opposite the entrances of Singleton and Brynmill Park and 5 minutes’ walk from the seafront. The Staff are super nice and the cake is delicious and they have gluten-free versions too. You can enter the draw for a limited edition signed print of “Outside Brynmill Coffee House“. There will be limited edition prints and greeting cards available to buy too. My paintings are a selection of scenes and people of Brynmill as well as some Gower landscapes. Photographs of the paintings in situ will follow soon!
I have just completed a painting “Summer Rain” which is an oil painting of the same view as in the paintings, “Outside Brynmill Coffee House”, “Night Walks” and “The Dusk Walk Home”, the later two which both sold via Artfinder. All are below.
“Night Walks was inspired by Hopper’s “Night Hawks” and “The Dusk Walk Home” was a commissioned re-interpretation of “Night Hawks”. Unlike these two latter evening-time oil paintings this is new painting “Summer Rain” is earlier in the evening as dusk descends and is in the summer rain. I have posted these in accordance with the progression of the day, from bright day to darker night.
Outside Brynmill Coffee House
The Brynmill Coffee House is in Brynmill, Swansea and is a superior coffee house that allows artists to exhibit their work. It has live music too.
I will be exhibiting in the month of August and my husband James Henry Johnston is exhibiting in September.
It is great to have a local business which supports the arts. I salute them in these paintings.
This is one of my favourite reviews of my work from Gallery OMP in Hereford, England.
“Looking at Emma’s painting you may get a sense of Paul Gauguin’s use of yellow and red, Robert Bevan’s blue green trees with purple, Henri Matisse’s simplification and exaggeration of form and Andre Derain’s bold definition of shape within the landscape. Emma likes the Fauvist simplified forms, use of lines and bold combination of colours. Emma challenges herself not to keep producing paintings in one style or influence, and is reactive to the scenes and feelings she is faced with when in front of a potential subject. She has created at the other end of the light spectrum too, capturing night-time urban, city scenes. There are so many subjects for Emma to apply herself too, as she is located in Swansea with so many different types of landscape close by – woodland, mountain and coast. It’s all about the light for Emma, capturing the excitement of it playing on her subjects. A true case of what’s left out by the artist with a clever use of colour to take the viewer’s mind on a journey into the depths of the image.”
Review – Gallery OMP, Hereford.
Large Limited edition mounted prints are available here
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