About

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Born in Hereford, educated in Cardiff and London, I am a professional Swansea-based contemporary artist, specializing in oil paintings. All my life I have loved being creative – whether it was drawing and sketching as a teenager, drawing with oil pastels and screen print-making in my 20s and finally focusing on photography and oil painting in adult life.

I have been a professional artist since 2012.  I paint most days.  My work focuses on light and colour, whether I paint rural landscapes, urban streets, seascapes or figurative work. I like to paint people walking around in their everyday lives, painting moods, anticipations, and atmospheres, trying to express presence and pathos. I notice things that others miss. I am fascinated by details and relationships.

In my work, I am drawn to light and shadows and how they shape our emotions. I remember visiting the South of France as a teenager and being mesmerized by the dazzling light, I have been attempting to capture that excitement about light in my paintings ever since. I aim to make people look at the ordinary and see the extraordinary beauty in it.

Much of my work is inspired by American and Canadian artists, mainly American realist painters who paint the quiet, the spacious and the still and revere a certain treatment of light and colour. Artists  such as Edward Hopper, Jim Holland, John Register, Frank Hobbs as well as Contemporary Minimalists such as Christopher Benson, Leah Giberson, Tom McKinley, Mitchell, Johnson, Jessica Brilli and Emmett Kerrigan. I aim to bring an American sensibility to a Welsh urban and rural landscape.

 

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Don’t just take my word for it…

“Emma’s paintings are lively and capture the fleeting moments of day and night in the Swansea streets. A very strong visual impact is derived from bold blocks of colours and an expressive palette that is widely used in modern art and pop art. The cinematic compositions and dramatic use of light and dark in her artworks, particularly in those night scenes where I observe some tranquility and alienation in a busy city, almost draw a subtle connection to the pieces of Edward Hopper.

I particularly like the figurative works which I think capture the everyday nuances of normal people going about their daily life”

“Rise Art – Insiders Review”

 

“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”

 

56 replies »

    • I am really touched that you took the time to write such lovely words. I think your memory jars are a fascinating concept. I was always interested in buried “time capsules” as a child (thanks to a childrens’ TV prgramme called Blue Peter) and messages in bottles. They have a wonderful fairy-tale quality to them. Emma

      • I am totally into the air and atmosphere that your works breathes, it´s such an engaged(engaging) fuse of clarity and sensory. And lucky to be able to follow its process! Thanks a lot for the reference – i did not know about “Blue Peter” – am definitely going to dig it on the internet over the weekend – it sounds precious!! 😀 Wishing you an amazing time and lovely weekend!!

  1. I really like your work…A LOT!! The colors and style is quite wonderful!! I am fascinated with the brightly colors trees and path scenes.

    • Why thank you, Judy. I love bright colours – the sun is always shining in my world (imaginary world, I live in Wales, it rains a lot)!

      • I really do like how you have captured the geometry of the shadows and tree limbs with color and light. It is both abstract and realistic at the same time. I like the scenic and the way your build the layers in some of the hills and towns scenes. I also think the sense of movement and body position with the people you paint and their environments are just wonderful. You do make the mundane magnificent.

      • Oh thank you for that. I have to wonder what you would paint of our Big Cypress Swamp and River of Grass and striking clouds!! Not to mention the wading birds. I always tell people if I could paint I would do that instead!! I love paintings.

      • What fantastic names:- “River of Grass” and “Big Cyprus Swamp”. I really liked your photos of wading birds.

  2. Hi Emma, and thank you for following me! I’m very pleased to have discovered you this way. I love your work, and will take inspiration from it. I had a somewhat similar experience to yours, though not as serious – I contacted Lyme disease six years ago, and it totally upset my life. Painting has been great therapy. Best wishes, Marina

  3. I enjoyed browsing through your portfolio, Emma. I don’t know a thing about painting but I admire people like yourself who are talented. Thanks for the follow – I’ll look forward to your posts.

  4. Not all of them – listened to the first one on exercise just now. Very interesting. Good excuse to walk the dogs, eh? Thank for the tip.

  5. Hello Emma, I’ve just happened upon your work, on-line, and want to say how much I enjoy it. I grew up in the Uplands & went to school in Brynmill. Every one of your paintings resonates with me, I love the colours, the minimalism and the message. So sorry to have missed your Cardiff exhibition (thanks for the catalogue download), but I was inspired to walk the streets (& backlanes) of Brynmill yesterday in the rain. It was so interesting to compare my memories with your interpretations and current reality. I would love to see more of your work – do you have any opportunities coming up?

    • Hello Brian – lovely to hear from you. I don’t as yet have anywhere fixed up to show them in Swansea (they keep closing the galleries). If you email me maybe you can arrange a time one afternoon to see the paintings in my front room (slightly more cramped than in Cardiff). My email is emmafcownie@gmail.com

  6. It is brave of you to share your story here and reading it has helped me make sense of a family member’s situation. I love that art and painting has helped you swim downstream instead of struggling upstream. I absolutely love the shapes and green hues you used in the photo here! So eye-catching! I am now a fan of your work!!

    • Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. Creativity heals. It helps so many people going through difficult times. Its not always plain sailing but if you want to understand PTSD better I can recommend an excellent book called “The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk. Its on Amazon for a very reasonable price. It explains about the little known therapy called EMDR. I found understanding what was wrong with my brain helped me enormously because when I was first ill I was frightened and thought that I was going to be this way for ever. No one seems to be able to explain what was happening to me. My husband, who was in the third year of an Open University Psychology degree was invaluable in supporting me and helping me understand what was going on. I did get better, but only with EMDR. CBT would not have worked. I was told at one point by a kindly nurse that I’d would get better on my own. Sadly, she was wrong, she had confused PTSD with depression.

      • It is amazing how much disinformation there is out there particularly in regard to mental health. Sadly it often comes from those who are working in the area and who you would think knew better. Thank you for the book suggestion. I might get that for my family. How long did the EMDR treatment last for before you saw results, may I ask?

      • I saw 2 counsellors – the second was better than the first. I felt a significant difference after a few sessions. It is very tiring, so be warned. Its different for everyone.

      • PTSD is exhausting too. Get the book and read up about it and decide for yourself. It doesn’t get better on its own.

    • I did wonder where you were, I was born in Hereford, just the other side of the border. My mother is Welsh, from Cardiff and my father English although he grew up in Cardiff. They live in the Cotswolds now.

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