Art Words by Emily Powell

The natural world is key to Emily Powell’s practice and she often heads out to paint on location in Devon, where she’s based, and in Scotland. She has collaborated with the British Museum, National Galleries of Scotland and New York’s MoMA on various projects while continuing to exhibit in galleries across the UK

Pink Does Help by Emily Powell, £1,600. Mixed media on canvas, 120 x 100cm. Part of a collection of work by Emily Powell at Morningside Gallery, Edinburgh

My work is always a direct reflection of what I’m feeling inside, and this piece, Pink Does Help, is no different.

When I started on it, we were in the middle of the second national lockdown. I was feeling the mental and physical fatigue and knew I needed to turn to colour and paint to express my thoughts. I wanted to create a piece that brought out the light of the here and now, but also looked up, and forward, to future days. This is represented in the flowers and the leaves, which are all pointing up and rising towards a positive future. 

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I will often paint in a constant state of adding colour and shape, not quite knowing what I’m painting, but acting on instinct until I pull back and see the canvas as a whole, where I can then gain an under­standing of my thoughts and feelings. To me, it’s important to acknow­ledge sad or negative emotions but not to dwell on them, so the key thing for me is to counteract any pessimism with ultimate positivity. 

This floral work fills the canvas from top to bottom with layer upon layer of bright, contrasting colours and deliberate brush strokes. This results in a feeling of over­whelming comfort and positivity that encloses me as I stand back and view the it. Overall, I began this piece hoping to come out the other side with something from which I can draw comfort and be content that brighter days are coming.

Looking for more? Check out Art Words by Kate Henderson