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Building an Art Collection: It’s a Meditative Journey

February 7th, 2024 by

I felt the need to write words today, so here’s what happened.

Are you an art collector? Perhaps you aspire to be one.. or maybe you’ve never thought about it. Well, you’ve reached this post for a reason, so let’s take it as a sign. It’s time to expand your collection.. or start one. 😏✌🏼

Collecting art requires a certain curiosity

Being a collector of original artwork is more than just an investment, a hobby or to fill up your empty walls to match the cushions. It’s a life-long, personal journey that can be deeply meditative, often rewarding and an opportunity to reveal a little of your soul to those who would ever come across your collection. Just like meditation, collecting art requires curiosity, patience, focus, an open mind and a willingness to turn inwards and ask yourself questions. You know.. really get to know yourself.. and be open to learning about who you are, what you’re about, why you do what you do, why you like what you like.

Your art collection isn’t just about bringing colour into a room.. it’s also a way to tell the world what you really give a sh*t about. For example, say you purchase an artwork that displays a hilly landscape of a view from your hometown – this could tell people that you like where you live, that you’re an outdoorsy guy or gal and/or you’re quite sentimental about things.. perhaps the landscape triggers a certain memory or is a reminder to appreciate where you are. Another example – your most recent purchase is a chaotic, bold and aggressive abstract that you’ve displayed next to your dining room table. This could show that you’re energetic and bold in character, open to controversial conversations and/or somebody that deliberately wants to ‘make an obvious statement’ in your home.

Your art collection shows the world who you are.

Take your art choices seriously

The art of collecting paintings begins with simple observation. Each piece of art is a visual representation of the artist’s thoughts, feelings, traumas, experiences and ideas. As the collector, you’re not just acquiring a physical object; you’re buying a window with a view of the artist’s mind. And this process of observing, understanding, connecting with and then finally choosing a piece of art can be a meditative practice in its own right – similar to that mindfulness meditation we do (yes, do it every morning!) where we focus on the present moment and/or the cool breath running in and out of our nostrils.

Ok, so if you’re really serious about your status as an art collector, that very act of choosing and trying to work out which piece to get can get emotional. It requires self-reflection; you need to tune in to that inner dialogue, much like meditation mentioned just now. You must ask yourself why you’re drawn to that certain piece, how it makes you feel, and what it means to you.. what connects you with the artist and what would it mean to you to support them? This introspection can help you learn more about yourself and your tastes, just as meditation leads to self-discovery, inner calmness and a readiness to evolve.

You’re supporting a life

Collecting original artwork also means that you’re supporting the life of the artist (if they’re still living) – this in itself is a gratifying and profound achievement. You should be proud that you’re in a personal/financial position to be able to purchase real artwork and contribute to the life of the artist – you’re enabling us to continue our craft, you’re helping us purchase materials, you’re getting our work seen and you’re validating our existence.

On a personal level, not a day goes by where I don’t feel that flutter of gratitude towards those of you who collect my work across the world. There are quite a lot of you out there nowadays – some of you I talk to on really regular basis, some of you have become dear friends, some of you have built up a rather extensive collection (you know who you are), some of you are saving for your next piece, some of you are still deciding on your first.. whichever stage you are at, I’m so grateful to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

A concluding note

Art. Oh, art. It has this monumental power that sparks all kinds of conversation; it stirs up emotions, triggers memories, catalyses fresh thinking patterns.. the list goes on. By engaging with it, collecting it and surrounding yourself with it, it makes you a special kind of person, you know. I’m not trying to butter your bread; I’m being real here. You’re creative, you’re courageous, you care deeply, you’re in tune with your inner self, you’re supporting lives of others, you’re open..

The next time you add another painting to your collection, take a moment to appreciate the meditative journey. It’s not just buying a print from IKEA. It’s so much more than that. Remember that collecting art is not just about possessing beautiful objects, but also about enriching your soul and supporting the life of another human.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Are you interested in a totally bespoke artwork/a commissioned piece? Perhaps an emotive abstract, a Matisse-style still life, a holiday snapshot or large landscape? I’m pretty open to the majority of briefs, so please do get in touch now and I’ll book you into my spring schedule.

2024 Update: Surrender To What Is & Solo Show

January 13th, 2024 by

I am going through something.

Let’s call it hardship X. It’d be nice to get off this ship, but I can’t really – not when we’re mid-wave or storm (it’s a wave when I’m perceiving it positively and a storm for when I’m.. not so positive). And it doesn’t feel appropriate to publicly write about it – not right now anyway. Maybe later. However, do you know what I can do? I can paint.

Because that’s what I do, right?

I paint when things get tough. If you look at my painting patterns over the last few years, my frenzied bouts of creation usually coincide with a hardship. There was the whole Dad passing a way thing – we all know that one (well, a lot of you do).. and boy, did that one go on for a few years. Then there was the whole covid/lockdown/the world’s gone crazy malarkey.. remember that? That thing that shan’t be named; that thing that felt like last year, but really was almost 5 years ago.. My hands birthed a plethora of art babies throughout that time period and my business/number of art collectors unexpectedly (and beautifully) soared.

Not a day goes by where I don’t feel gratitude for that time – and I know that sounds backwards, bizarre, even barbaric.. but it was really important for me to not stop living or “doing my thing”. I wasn’t going to abandon all of the careful nurturing I was doing for the life I fought so hard for after losing my Dad. I wasn’t going to let anybody or anything hijack my clarity, creativity and conscience.. so in that usual Emma fashion, the paints came out and I travelled far and wide on paper.

Those strange couple of years didn’t just catalyse business and financial growth, they also catalysed emotional/mental/personal growth (I don’t know which word to choose); they awakened a rather dormant soul within. Call it woo-woo, but that’s what has happened. I’ve never been so in tune with my mind and body. I’ve never felt so confident in my life choices. I’ve never felt so real and authentic.

Then hardship X swarmed in like a sh*t ton of bumble bees

..and I mean, they must be all queen bees – the biiiig mothers with sharp stinger arses. And despite that perfectly nurtured clarity and eye roll worthy confidence, I haven’t been able to handle it. That’s right, I fell right back down that dark hole with absolutely no intention of finding a way out. White flags.

Didn’t even want to paint. See ya, paintbrushes.

Well, that was 2023 and it’s now 2024.. and I’m thrilled to announce that 2024 is going to be nothing but sublime. Hey, I’m no fool – I know that curve balls in life happen all the time, and I won’t naively kid myself into a perfect, curve ball-free year (despite being a pretty sufficient batsman nowadays).. but what it is going to be is a year of peaceful and conscious acceptance of the now and the what is.

It’s taken a few months of solid inner work, therapy, dollar spending, reading, writing, voice-clipping (you know who you are) and a recent but temporary abandonment of my Instagram account .. but guys and girls, although I still have a lot to process and a “journey” to go through, I’m officially out of the hole – and however alluring it can be, I’m staying out.

I’m ready to paint.

This soul has a lot to say and I’m going to say it in paint, pencil, charcoal, ink, whatever I feel like using when the time comes. Expect an eclectic mix of abstracts, still life and perhaps landscapes (or mind-scapes); a body of work to inspire, enthral, open minds and to celebrate life.

These pieces that I speak of will all be showcased in my next solo show coming up this summer.

And that show is called Soul.

I’ll see you there.

Soul details:

June 28th – July 11th 2024 at Sixteen Gallery in Cheltenham.

With very, very special guests Munson Guitars.

For a private viewing before the launch night, make sure you’re signed up to my mailing list where you will receive more information on this opportunity.

I’ll be OK 😀

Absolutely vital reading list:

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

The 5AM Club by Robin Sharma

The Art of Living by Bob Proctor

Atomic Habits by James Clear

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Snapshots (2023): a 50-piece collection to honour the sublimity of being human

April 17th, 2023 by

It’s official.


A brand new collection is in the making.

And you’re going to love it.

Snapshots (2023) is a 50-piece collection of polaroid-style original paintings, depicting scenes, vistas and moments submitted by my friends, family and collectors (aka you) around the world. It’s important to appreciate the small things and see beauty in the everyday. These moments in life are what makes each of our journeys unique, and I want to celebrate that. The body of work will be comprised of a mixture of abstract landscapes and still life pieces – depending on what submissions I get, of course. 

The Title

Snapshots was sneakily stolen from my final project at High School Fine Art class (13 years ago). My focus was on the unposed and beautifully candid moments of life. I recall one of my final photographs being of a little girl at the zoo, staring at a snake in total bewilderment – such a wonderful moment to capture.

Now, I’m yearning to see more of life’s candour. From a simple bowl of fruit and a bottle of wine on the shelf to a weather-worn door and a windy cotswold hill view. We all have objects, views and moments in life that make us stop and smile. And this collection is going to celebrate yours (and maybe a couple of mine).

The Aesthetic

As a sporadic and multi-styled painter, I feel a collection like this will put an exciting (although intimidating) spotlight on my versatile hand and scattered mind – my abstract, still life and landscape skills will certainly be put to the test. To entice the eye and emphasise the image, the final pieces will have a polaroid-style aesthetic (see above).

Be that as it may, for this collection to truly come to life, I first need a wide range of snapshots. A photograph of something that catches your eye or makes you smile. I need you to show me a snapshot of something you want to remember.

Perhaps a magnificent mountain view, the best croissant you’ve ever had in Paris, your feet in socks and sandals, your last cup of tea with too many biscuits, plant pots on your window sill, the eclectic mix of books on your bookshelf, the most incredible plate of calamari in Greece, the empty glasses on a table after a long night, the moody weather outside your window… you know, the things that make you human; the things you’ve seen with your eyes and/or touched with your fingertips. I want to honour these moments of yours, just like I honour mine through the creation of art.

No humans, no animals and no pornography – thank you.

Think views, landscapes, buildings, objects, still life.

You can submit your snapshot via the button below. If you have trouble accessing the form, please send your snapshot along with a title/sentence about it to [email protected]

Artwork Details

  • Only 50 original paintings
  • Fluid acrylic and pencil on paper
  • 5 x 6 inches
  • £75 each (with bespoke framing available)
  • The collection will launch on my website (date TBC)
  • Not all submitted snapshots will make the cut for the collection

Optional Challenge

If you’re interested in collecting a snapshot painting, purchase someone else’s submitted memory – not your own. Spread the love, share stories and let us cherish each other’s simple moments in life. 

Thank you for helping this collection come to life. 

I can’t wait to see your snapshots.

Abstract Art vs Still Life: Painting Memories And Being Human

March 23rd, 2023 by

As an artist who covers a wide range of styles – abstract, landscape, still life, sketching, digital drawing etc, I often get asked “what is your favourite way to paint?

Abstract painting feels incredibly innate for my hands and head; my go-to thing for a meditative exercise and indeed the style that kickstarted my career as a professional artist. Painting in an abstract manner is a handy tool for when you’re feeling lost, angry and/or depressed. If you allow your hand to hold a paintbrush to drive your feelings, marks manifest and colours collide, consequently prompting a wave of relief to wash over. You can see your feelings on the surface in front of you, which actually allows them to become external instead of internal. I suppose it’s a little like frantically writing out your woes in a diary. Granted, this relief can be momentary.. but over time, I feel it helps you accept a situation or trauma. It makes the problem tangible and physical; an object you choose to view and a physical activity you choose to do – instead of being a scary, tangled up web in your head.

Abstract painting, for me, is also a way to uniquely translate sounds, sights and feelings experienced from life. When I want to quickly document a moment, in a non-literal way, I’ll jot down the marks and colours that come to mind when I’m having an interesting experience or if I’m enticed by something. See excerpt from one of my artist statements:

“A deep navy hue could be a woeful moment or the colour of a gentleman’s jacket; a wash of pale grey could be a loving conversation or a typical British cloud; an earthy green could be a Cotswold hill or the colour of a weathered road sign; a quick, rough mark could be a moment of frustration or a tyre blow-out on interstate 81”

Be that as it may, totally abstract painting isn’t the answer to the question “what is your favourite way to paint?“. (You’ll find this out in a bit.)

Yes, this style is overwhelmingly natural to my senses and brings a lot of comfort, but it’s me dealing with something or working to process something. That isn’t to say that all of my abstract paintings represent sadness or brokenness – not at all. On the contrary, you could say that they all represent healing, self-development and acceptance. I’m more referring to the reasons behind why the abstract obsession came about for me in the first place – it started with a tragedy.

Looking at my experience with abstraction as a whole, I often see the broken Emma who had just lost her Dad; an Emma that was working through one of her greatest fears of losing a parent and an Emma who used this type of painting to fight with the encompassing waves of grief.

Nowadays, abstraction has thankfully become a more positive and energetic part of my artist identity. Despite some of the sad words I write above, I’ll never stop painting abstracts – and the hundreds (maybe even thousands) of paintings I have created over the last few years will continue to live on and I’m grateful for that. They bring joy, brighten living spaces and spark interesting conversations – so for that, I praise the spectacle of abstraction.

Listen To Winter #2 (2018) in progress.

So, what is my favourite way to paint?

It’s actually raw life documentation in the form of still life that I enjoy the most, and what best represents my identity as an artist. This method of art creation is a tool that helps me cherish, share, reminisce, smile, look forward and appreciate; all things that radiate positive thinking patterns and ignite inner self-worth/confidence.

Sketching observations from life, taking a snapshot and documenting candid moments is a necessity for me; a way to love and appreciate the life I’ve been given (hello deep). You can take photos, sure (and I often do) – but there’s something about connecting my mind, my senses and hands (plus paint and paper) to a moment that makes me remember it better and a way for it to live on. I’m also rejecting the limited, digital barricade that we often put between ourselves and actual life; those devices that make us resist reality, smother our authenticity and diminish our innate creativity. (You can probably guess what my views are on Chat GPT.)

My honeymoon, for example, Jon and I were at Eleftherias Square in Kos and we found a café called Lemon. Many of you will know that I’m creatively hypnotised by lemons. They make an appearance in a lot of my work. I’m obviously seduced by the colour, the smell, the metaphors around them, I don’t know. Anyway, I was enticed by this café, Lemon, and we both sat there in these boldly patterned chairs, watching the world go by. We ordered two crêpes and two glasses of water (yeahhh, we know how to party), and I remember feeling just pure contentment. So content to be there, with Jon, the sun on our faces, surrounded by lemons, watching Greek kittens dance and enjoying bloody great crêpes smothered in Nutella. I sat there wanting this moment to last forever – I remember thinking it. So, I sketched it and later painted it. And now the memory lives on, with a lovely collector here in the UK. This is just pure magic for me.

These painting practices allow memories to live on outside of the mind and photo albums; a tangible memory that will live on until it’s physically destroyed. Creating art like this is showing the world who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve seen – all of the charming, individual things that make you human.

Another moment comes to mind: I was sat in a coffee shop on my own before an appointment (I was too early – standard), and I had one of my journals with me. In front of me was a couple that must have been on their first date – they were sweetly awkward and she didn’t want to share his lemon drizzle cake.The guy couldn’t find a drink he wanted. After quite a few minutes, he finally decided on a chocolate milkshake and the barista said they were out of it. Then the decision making had to start all over again. Me being me, I obviously documented this moment. And they’ll never know this, of course. Such a brief snapshot of their life that I’m sure they’ll forget, and there’s me in the corner scribbling it all down.

I smile when I think about that awkward lemon drizzle cake comment – maybe it’s just me that is moved by these brief scenes from life, but they seriously give me the urge to paint. Life seems to go by quickly the older you get (do you know what I mean?), so documenting experiences in the way I do helps to slow it down a little. And I make an effort to find beauty in the mundane. A towering stack of lemons in an old wooden crate, each carefully placed, differing shades of yellow overlapping each other and the puckered, waxy texture that you just have to touch, maybe even take one home. These kind of visuals in our everyday are usually overlooked, under appreciated and forgotten. Well, no way José – not in this artist’s lifetime. My eyes and ears are always open, and a painting will no doubt be at the other end.

Other humans are also fascinating, hence why we all love a good old people watching session (you know you do..). So, a lot of my inspiration actually comes from those around me – and they (you) don’t even know it. Viewing, admiring and collecting other people’s life moments (not just my own) just feels so marvellously endearing and a precious sentiment. Mentally, physically and emotionally, human connection is vital and we’d feel lost without others.

So, my favourite way to paint? Life snapshots, candid drawing and writing, documentation of moments, still life – just as it is, perfectly imperfect

N.B. I am aware of the hypocrisy that I’m on my digital device now, writing this, posting photos of my practice and interacting with you.. but I don’t think carrier pigeons would work out nowadays. I’ve also completely done my neck in, so I’m glued to the sofa today. Laptop/admin day it is. 

Collaboration With Sculpd: Finding Your Inner Painter

October 19th, 2022 by

Earlier this year, U.K. pottery aficionados, Sculpd, approached me to try out their up and coming Abstract Canvas Painting Kit. Of course, I said yes. As someone who truly believes that we should all dip our toes in the water of our own individual creativity, I loved the idea of a ‘novice’ or someone who claims they ‘can’t paint’ having a go at building their own masterpiece from scratch, at home.

The team came to visit me at my last exhibition at Sixteen Gallery, where I was filmed putting their kit to the test – building the canvas frame, stretching the fabric and then slathering the soft acrylic paint across the blank surface. But first of all, I experienced the unboxing of the kit, just as a new customer would – and I’ve got to tell you, it’s pretty epic.

You’ll find a thorough but simple step-by-step guide on how to create your own abstract painting, with tips on composition, mark-making and knowing when your masterpiece is finished. In addition, you get a perfect range of painting tools (brushes, sponge and palette knife), a sturdy palette with compartments, five shades of silky soft acrylic paint (in a bold, neutral or pastel colour scheme), a study book to practice your colour mixing and mark-making, all parts to actually build the canvas and hooks to hang it once complete. Honestly, they’ve smashed it.

Once you’ve unboxed the kit and got to know your bearings, the canvas is super simple to stretch yourself – the wood slots together perfectly and the fabric is easy to stretch and manipulate. It’s extremely evident that the Sculpd product team have paid extra attention to the quality of this product. You’ll be seriously impressed with yourself (and Sculpd) by the end of it.

Time for painting – so, before I tackled the large canvas (60x80cm), I made sure to utilise the blank study book included in the kit. With this, it’s a good idea to get the hang of the paint (the colours, how it flows etc), let your hand feel the different tools, practice some mark-making and figure out what kind of composition you want to aim for. The guide included will also help with this – Sculpd developed it with a handful of abstract artists around the world, so we’ve all shared some top notch hints with you here!

When you get to the final piece, remember you’re doing this for fun. Experiment, flip the orientation, throw paint around, step away from it for an hour, head over to Instagram for some inspiration, work from your studies.. There’s absolutely no pressure and zero rules here – do whatever feels right and trust your gut. You can paint.

The three canvas pieces you see above were all made with the materials supplied by Sculpd, and you can totally do the same. It’s a great activity – mentally and physically. If you’re not quite brave enough yet, perhaps get a friend or family member to try it first for their Christmas present. 😉

FYI, the colour scheme I used was titled ‘bold’, but you have two others to choose from.

Oh, and obviously, Gibson met the team. He did his usual ‘crunch face’ at the crew (a.k.a showing them his teefs), but it’s just a hello and he (luckily for me) behaved himself. He even worked his way into some shots. Typical retriever: absolutely hogging the attention (that’s fine with me).

All images supplied by Sculpd (2022). This was a paid partnership. Huge thank you to the team for this incredible opportunity. Can’t wait for the world to start painting.

Collection Throwback: Four Years of Emma Howell Art

November 15th, 2021 by

It’s safe to say that Emma Howell artwork has explored a variety of avenues throughout the last four years; it has climbed mountains, dived down holes, traipsed through lagoons and road-tripped down highways. It’s hard to see where it’s headed, but I’ve no doubt it will continue to take you on more visual adventures in 2022.

As a prerequisite for my last collection of 2021, Fin, here is a throwback post to take you through the art collections created during the last four years.

The How Series (2018)

The How Series is comprised of 75 small original works on paper. Since 2018, this body of work has acted as a point of reference for other works, like a visual dictionary. Each piece is developed by deconstructing colours, marks and textures recorded in my sketchbooks and journals. The very first 10 paintings in this series debuted at my first solo show, Homegrown. For my watchers, this series is to remind you that there is more than one way to view the world.

Homegrown (2018)

Homegrown was the harvest from 18 months of healing after I lost my Dad; it is evidence of rebuilding a new life without him and an attempt to view the world in a better light. Within each work, a quick corkscrewed scribble could be a sudden gust of wind or a rush of spontaneity; a bright block of colour is there to steal your gaze, induce a feeling or give a nod to a certain place – perhaps a field, the sky or a riverbank; repeated lines are meditative therapy, feeling bored or an environmental characteristic – like the flow of a river, rows of flowers or the jagged shape of a hill. These works made their debut at my first solo show, ‘Homegrown‘, which was very kindly sponsored by Hobbycraft.

The 1320 Miles Series (2019)

On the long road from Washington D.C. to Nashville (and back again), I gave myself the challenge to create a small series of work with only pencil and paper. As I sat in the passenger seat of our borrowed Honda Civic, 12 dainty artworks slowly came to life during the two 12 hour drives. A variety of hues, shapes and compositions were taken from landscapes, weather, road signs, mountains, conversations, gas stations etc. and evolved onto delicate pieces of paper. With nothing to lean on but the back of my mobile phone, I somehow managed to develop an entire collection to represent this unforgettable adventure and to pay tribute to a stunning country.

Some Adventures (2019)

These adventures on paper are a sequel to The 1320 Miles series. Rock formations, flowing water, huge moons, opulent forests and nighttime hues come together to form a collection of organic artworks that celebrate all that mother nature gives us.

The Moon Series (2019)

This reflective series of moon paintings exhibited in Fragile Nature, a group exhibition at Groundwork Gallery, Norfolk. The exhibition featured myself, Lotte Scott, Elspeth Owen and Paca Sanchez, and focused on the delicacies of nature by bringing together our organic and diverse practices.

Viewing The Moon Series is a moment to take a step back from the fast pace of life. It’s about observing the landscape, listening to the whistling wind, staring at the moonlight, taking a moment. Light and shapes observed during the blood moon in January 2019 catalysed the conception of this symbolic series.

Three of the moons are currently exhibiting at two local businesses, The Urban Meadow and Pea Green Physiotherapy Clinic.

Raw Honey (2019)

Raw Honey is here to prove that something sweet can come out of trauma. 33 original paintings (on hot pressed paper and canvas) explore and evolve a plethora of perceptions experienced in 2019. Towering Greek mountains, a flooded 4×4, boxes of honey, rolling vineyards and a heated conversation all feature in this honest and adventurous collection.

Mountain (2020)

The Mountain collection is here to pay tribute to the climb and descent of all our life mountains – physical and metaphorical. The physical mountain is jagged, dominant and kingly; an intimidatingly vast landform that is notedly one of the most striking views we experience. The metaphorical mountain is simply the challenge of life, the traumas we overcome and the meandering journey we embark upon to reach our goals. Colours, marks and textures you experience with this collection are sourced from both physical and mental landscapes.

Mountain was featured with Town & Country Magazine in April 2020.

It’ll Be Alright (2020)

It’ll Be Alright, a bold and erratic collection, here to reveal spontaneous and emotive mental landscapes experienced after 47 days of the UK Coronavirus lockdown. Moments of enthusiasm, moments of self-expression, moments of loneliness, moments of frustration, moments of adventure.. It’ll Be Alright takes you on a chaotic journey of impulsive creativity.

My fiancé, Jonathan, became a part of this collection. His mental mechanism is extremely different to mine. He’s not particularly visual and has red-green colour blindness. Aside from this, he is a talented guitarist who channels his creative energy through music.

As Jonathan has – so far – had to endure 47 days of my artistic expression (aka mess) all over the kitchen and dining room, I’ve included him in this project by giving him the task to title all of the pieces.

81 Wild (2020)

81 Wild, a 50-piece collection to visually take you to each state of America.

Aided by landscape descriptions submitted by my collectors and watchers around the world, these panoramic originals are an attempt to mentally, visually and creatively travel to the United States. Gathered words and images were abstractly translated onto paper, putting a spotlight on each state’s landscapes – the weather, colours, textures, flora, fauna, sounds and culture.

This entire collection sold out in a matter of hours, making it my quickest selling collection to date.

50 Paintings In 50 Days (2020)

Autumn of 2020, my Instagram watchers and collectors helped set the challenge of creating 50 paintings in 50 days. This exercise was the perfect opportunity to explore new styles and to take my practice down many different avenues, including still life, fauvism and gestural abstraction.

four year wild fire (2020)

Over the course of 4 months, the intense and eclectic pieces that make up four year wild fire evolved from words submitted to me by my audiences. In the summer of 2020, I asked my collectors, followers and watchers to submit stories, poems, songs, experiences, secrets and memories etc. with the intention to translate them into original abstract artworks. The first 3 years of my art practice was intense, full of my own grief and very me me me.. and four year wild fire was for me to take a breather from being in the spotlight. Instead, I switched on my ears, opened up my mind and put the spotlight on you. Next to each artwork, you will find snippets from the submitted words used to create that particular piece.

The 25 Mountain Project (2021)

Another artwork challenge to kickstart the new year of 2021, The 25 Mountain Project: one mountain every day for 25 days. Each mountain echoes an emotion, an experience or a particular sentiment linked to that day. May the mountain you collect remind you of the strength you’ve built over the last year and inspire you to keep on climbing.

hike up harp hill (2021)

Similar to last year’s American landscape collection (81 Wild), hike up harp hill explored the varying landscapes across the United Kingdom. With help from landscape descriptions submitted to me by my audiences, 75 pieces came to life and are here to shine a light on 75 different places in Britain. Rocky mark making, washes of water, earthy scribbles and bleeding bold colour work together to honour our rolling hills, grey skies, infinite crops, buzzing culture, weaving rivers and rich history.

Café Fiasco (2021)

In the summer of 2021, Café Fiasco broke all the rules and made me push boundaries. After an obsessive bout of still life drawing in my private sketchbooks, I started to get the taste for this very different style of artwork. Being in and out of various lockdowns due to COVID (and turning into a bit of a hermit), I found myself seeking inspiration from my surroundings – plants, coffee cups, books, chairs and tables. My private artwork was changing quite rapidly right before my eyes, putting more emphasis on shading, accuracy and detail.. and there was only one way to go about it: create a collection. However, the abstract painter in me still remains, so it only made sense to balance it out and expose the true versatility of my practice.

Café Fiasco reveals the humdrum of everyday life in the form of still life paintings (views from home, books, plants and coffee), juxtaposed with spontaneous abstracts to unmask the distracted, erratic and creative psyche of an artist. This collection is ongoing, as I still have a few pieces left to unveil.

Raw Honey Part II (2021)

A sequel to Raw Honey, this new body of work digs even deeper and reveals a variety of new perceptions, places and memories that have been translated onto super smooth, hot pressed paper. Why did Raw Honey Part II happen? Well, towards the end of summer, I started to reminisce about past vacations (probably because it’s been a while since my last, thanks COVID).. driving to Balos Lagoon and meandering through mountain roads hunting for tavernas.. Sharp feelings of grief were also reappearing, so the work was pretty impulsive; I went with my mind and hands. Raw Honey Part II just made sense.

Classified (2021)

This year, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt the need to push limits and explore more avenues within my practice. Well, here we go again. As we start to focus on our home’s interior design, the Matisse art prints that hang on our living room and hallway walls have been luring me in. Matisse’s use of bold colour, unapologetic self-expression and his undeniable ability to give boring subjects an aura of radiance and luxury.. is sublime. So, I’ve been nurturing this fiery yearn to dip my toes in this water.

As a result, still life has barged its way back into my process.. but not at all like Café Fiasco. Pieces in Classfied have mostly come to life by pure imagination, and not by objects in front of me. Sure, I take inspiration from typical still life scenes or what I had for breakfast, but every artwork was impulsively composed. The works are still life blended with abstraction, a combination I’ve totally fallen for. Of course, you will still find my characteristic erratic mark making, pools of colour and raw brushstrokes – the abstract painter in me will never falter.

Fin (2021)

Fin is the last collection of 2021 and unites all past collections. This nostalgic and eclectic body of work fuses the past with the present, potentially revealing the paths to future work. Each piece in the collection puts a modest spotlight on all styles explored throughout the years – blending landscapes with breakfast scenes, mountains with emotions, bottles of wine with meditative mark making and coiling charcoal with careful colour choices. The creation process has been respectful to past works, but also venturesome – I hope you’ll agree.

The collection launches Friday 26th November (Black Friday) for subscribers and Saturday 27th November universally. To access the private launch and get the exclusive Black Friday voucher codes, subscribe to my mailing list (button below).

Café Fiasco: A Two-part Collection of Abstract and Still Life Works

July 9th, 2021 by

Café Fiasco (2021) is a two-part collection of 24 original artworks. This eclectic body of work has somewhat of a split personality and puts an honest spotlight on my tendency to “wear many hats” (personally and professionally). 

The origin of Café Fiasco started out as a personal challenge. A challenge to simply create an entire collection from nothing – just my mind, hands and materials, with not much intent or deep ideology.

Seeing as my last few collections evolved from stories submitted by my audience, I felt the need to test my own intuition and push the limits of my art practice. And I’ll tell you what – it’s been hard. One thing I thought I wanted to commit to was naming each piece (before I start them) after negative words that have been said to me (e.g. “bad at maths” and “fragile ego”). This was with hope of turning some common pessimism into rare optimism. However, as 24 blank boards piled high in my dining room, this negative naming situation limited my thought patterns and I honestly didn’t know where to start. My mind was sad/empty and my usual creative urge had left the building. Be that as it may, my commitment to the challenge didn’t falter.

Eventually, as I scrapped the idea of initially titling the pieces, a few of the lifeless boards got slathered with paint and spontaneous compositions started to bloom. Well, that’s what happened with the abstract ones anyway. Café Fiasco also features a number of still life works.

You predominantly know me as an abstract painter, but back in high school and university, a lot of my work (including photography) put heavy emphasis on the humdrum of our everyday and finding beauty in boring. So, after reminiscing about old work, I went with my instincts and changed my hat. 

In both my personal life and professional life, “changing my hat” is something I’m very used to doing. As an extroverted introvert (who has also worked in retail for many years in the past), I often find myself having to very quickly flick a switch between a variety of emotions and personality traits. Nervous > confident, melancholy > elated, devastated > ecstatic, casual > professional, doubtful > certain, opinionated > sheepish, relaxed > constrained, paint > pencil, abstract > realism – you get the idea. My wardrobe is full of hats. How about yours?

Anyway, Café Fiasco not only shows you how my mind frantically fleets from one thing to another, but also the breadth of my techniques, styles and general artistry as a painter. The entire body of work reveals my everyday life in the form of still life paintings (views from home, books, plants and coffee) juxtaposed with spontaneous abstracts that expose my distracted, erratic and creative psyche.

I must tell you that these pieces mean a heck of a lot; I don’t think I’ve ever felt so connected to artwork before. So, the prospect of launching such a personal collection makes me feel uneasy and vulnerable. Today, I even had the passing thought of keeping them all. Now, that’s just nuts. Better change my hat.

The first 12 pieces from Café Fiasco will launch privately (with a password) for my subscribers on Friday 23rd July at 6pm BST, and Saturday 24th July at 9am BST for rest of the world. The second 12 pieces will launch throughout the rest of 2021 – and each work will be released one-by-one. You can sign up to my mailing list here.

Artwork details:
20″ x 22″
Mixed media on high quality 6mm board
£500 each
Optional bespoke bare oak frame (+£50)

Mountain 2020: A Virtual Exhibition To Reach The Summit

April 20th, 2020 by

Mountain (2020)

Mountain (2020), an eclectic collection of 50 original paintings and drawings; here to honour the ascent and descent of all our life mountains.

Throughout life, we all experience the same emotions. Granted, in varying degrees, dependant on what happens during each of our lifetimes.. But at some point, we all laugh until it hurts, we all cry until no tears are left, we all move our body in weird ways, we all shout in anger, we all feel love in our own ways, we all get jealous, we all have our own strange behaviours, we all find life difficult, we all have moments of feeling hard done by, we all get set in our own ways, we all will lose someone we love, we all are in the midst of a health crisis.. we all are climbing a metaphorical mountain. And each of our mountains are different – consider the altitude, flora, fauna, weather conditions, temperature, location, vistas, rock type, climbing difficulty.. none are the same.

The varying works in the Mountain collection represent the challenges we encounter in our lives, the trauma we overcome and the adventurous voyage we take to reach our goals. May they remind you of not only how far you’ve come already, but also how far you’ve got left to go. May they encourage you to keep your eye on the ball, drive forward to achieve your goals and keep climbing your life mountain.

The collection can be broken down into a number of series: 16 Mountains, 8 Hikes, The Diptychs & Triptychs, Pack Your Raincoat, 8 Monochromes, Reaching The Summit and The View.

16 Mountains

The works that kicked off the Mountain collection were 16 paintings, each existing as abstract miniature mountains. Colours, marks and textures you see within these works (as well as others) are sourced from real landscapes and mental landscapes. 

As part of this series of miniatures, I wrote brief “mountainscopes” to match the works with their ideal collectors. You can find out which mountain you match with in this blog post.

OS---Mt.-Fuji
Mt. Fuji, 2020
OS---Mt.-Focus
Mt. Focus, 2020

8 Hikes

To create each of these works, I followed the same route. Every piece began with recklessly applied pools of colour, then followed by journeys of soft pastel to exude varying feelings of enthusiasm, panic, bewilder and calmness; the final trail was a meandering pencil, that leaves behind traces to remember the route.

Bright hues, rough textures and spontaneous marks are there to take you on a visual hike; prompting your eyes to roam and your mind to take a wander. 

Let’s go on a hike.

You can view the 8 Hikes virtual exhibition here.

OS---Night-Hike
Night Hike, 2020
OS---Salted-Popcorn
Salted Popcorn, 2020

The Diptychs & Triptychs

I set a side challenge for myself when I was putting together this collection. I’ve always been slightly intimidated by the idea of creating diptychs (two artworks that exist as one entity) and triptychs (three artworks that exist as one entity). Concentrating on one artwork, ensuring that it boasts its own unique statement and making it stand alone confidently is what I’m used to. So, with these works, I went off piste and pushed my imagination to create works that are comfortable living and working in a partnership.

OS---Bring-Water-Final
Bring Water, 2020

Pack Your Raincoat

The five Pack Your Raincoat pieces evoke quite a wide range of emotions, and also put a spotlight on a few of my personality traits. Some works carry colours that are brash, bold and bossy that are sitting quite contently next to subdued, timid and contemplative marks. Other works focus on a stubborn and moody grey, juxtaposed with an apologetic pink or a fleck of hopeful gold. 

When Jon and I go hiking, Jon insists on preparing for any situation that could occur. In case we are too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too hungry, too uncomfortable, too itchy, too blistery.. whether we’re going to fall down, climb up, run away, walk, chase, escape, fly.. he needs to prepare. Me, on the other hand, will quite simply just throw on my hiking boots, grab my sketchbook and go sit in the car waiting for him to stop flapping around.

99% of the time, I get myself into some sort of pickle – I’m too hot, I’ve fallen over or I’m not wearing a raincoat. These are my usual issues. Thankfully, Jon’s got me covered.

OS---Pack-Your-Raincoat-#4
Pack Your Raincoat #4, 2020
Pack Your Raincoat 2 Emma Howell
Pack Your Raincoat #2, 2020

8 Monochromes

Like the diptychs and triptychs, I set myself another challenge with these monochrome pieces. Although, the word challenge needs to be used rather loosely here, as pencil drawing comes the most natural to me in the world of art. Sketching, doodling, mark-making, scribbling and shading seems to be an innate behaviour of mine that never seems to fade.

If you’re an avid watcher of my practice, you will be used to seeing relatively bold colour choices. So the challenge here is the vulnerability that comes with exposing my rawest and most natural level of art creation.

These delicate pieces (soon to be released for purchase) have all been fitted into bespoke natural oak frames, which subtly adds to their organic, unfinished and raw aesthetic.

OS---Oui
Oui, 2020
OS---Crunch
Crunch, 2020
OS---Viridian
Viridian, 2020
OS---Antonio
Antonio, 2020
OS---Harvest
Harvest, 2020
Original Painting - Emma Howell - KAO
KAO, 2020
OS---Comfort
Comfort, 2020
OS---Fuel
Fuel, 2020

The Spontaneous Drawing

Whatever I want Emma Howell drawing
Whatever I Want, 17:51pm, 2020

Reaching The Summit

So, we’ve reached the summit of the Mountain collection.

With these five larger works on paper (15″ x 22″) your mind will wander and your eyes will work hard, darting from side to side in order to follow along with the visual adventure in front of you. When viewing these pieces, you’ll be proud of your openness towards the world of abstraction and be confident in your ability to gather your own stories from these conceptual landscapes. Alternatively, you’ll simply enjoy the view.

These works are all fitted in bespoke fresh white frames.

Behind the glass, adventure awaits.

Dippin' Our Toes In The Water Painting Emma Howell
Dippin’ Our Toes In The Water, 2020
OS---Mountain-River-Rafting
Mountain River Rafting, 2020
Never Been Skiing Painting
Never Been Skiing, 2020
Mix It With Rum Painting Emma Howell
Mixing Bourbon With Ouzo, 2020
Looks A Bit Ominous Painting
Looks A Bit Ominous, 2020

All of the colours, textures, marks and compositions within the pieces in this collection are sourced from varying landscapes, mental and physical. Credit is given to the towering mountains of Crete, the vivid fauna of Kauai, the tiring roads and eerie shortcuts between Virginia and Tennessee, the rolling hills around The Cotswolds and the emotional rollercoaster that resides in my head.

As always, each and every piece is dedicated to my Dad (1959-2016).

The View

OS---Take-The-Rain-And-Country-Music
Take The Rain And Country Music, 2020
Wild Feathers And Magnolia
Wild Feathers And Magnolia, 2020

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8 Hikes: A Virtual Exhibition for COVID Lockdown

April 12th, 2020 by

As a lot of us are seeking out things to do during lockdown, I invite you to view this blog post as a virtual art exhibition. Get yourself comfortable, take a breath and indulge in this visual adventure I’m about to take you on.

close up image woah

The number of works in the Mountain collection continues to climb, as 8 more paintings have been released this week.

To create each of these works, I followed the same route. Every piece began with recklessly applied pools of colour, then followed by journeys of soft pastel to exude varying feelings of enthusiasm, panic, bewilder and calmness; the final trail was a meandering pencil, that leaves behind traces to remember the route.

Bright hues, rough textures and spontaneous marks are there to take you on a visual hike; prompting your eyes to roam and your mind to take a wander. 

Let’s go on a hike.

lockdown art exhibition - pretty rusty
?Pretty Rusty, 2020
Acrylic, soft pastel and pencil on paper, £85.
lockdown art exhibition - night hike
?Night Hike, 2020
Acrylic, soft pastel and pencil on paper, £85.
lockdown art exhibition - call me crazy
?Call Me Crazy, 2020
Acrylic, soft pastel and pencil on paper, £85.
lockdown art exhibition - around the turquoise lake
?Around The Turquoise Lake, 2020
Acrylic, soft pastel and pencil on paper, £85.
lockdown art exhibition - kayaking view
?Kayaking View, 2020
Acrylic, soft pastel and pencil on paper, £85.
lockdown art exhibition - salted popcorn
?Salted Popcorn, 2020
Acrylic, soft pastel and pencil on paper, £85.
lockdown art exhibition  - cool
?Cool, 2020
Acrylic, soft pastel and pencil on paper, £85.
lockdown art exhibition - woah
?Woah, 2020
Acrylic, soft pastel and pencil on paper, £85.

Fin.

Collect pieces from the Mountain collection now.
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