Zel is taking part in our coming Home is a Feeling show in Faversham on 13th and 14th November.
Describe what you do as a creative.
I am an abstract painter, inspired by Kent’s coast-line and the history it contains. I paint with acrylics on canvas or wood panels; the paint is built up in layers whereby the finished painting reveals aspects of the work beneath, drawing parallels of real and imagined traces of the lives of others before us: Shadowlands.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in South London in 1958 and lived close enough to the Tate Gallery to either walk or catch the 77 or 88 bus. As a young child my Dad used to take me to the gallery on a Sunday afternoon; I was fascinated by the work of William Blake and spellbound by the paintings of Francis Bacon. In my teenage years I visited regularly with friends and dreamed of becoming an artist.
I moved to Kent approximately 34 years ago and studied for a Diploma in Art Therapy, and later, an MA in Art Psychotherapy at Goldsmiths College. I have been fortunate enough to have had a long and rewarding career as Lead Art Psychotherapist in CAMHS whilst continuing with my own art practice.
I retired from my full-time post 3 years ago in order to spend more time on my own artwork. Since taking this decision I have had solo and group exhibitions alongside participating in an intensive 3 month art programme run by Nicholas Wilton (Creative Visionary Programme: CVP).
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An Artist or a Stage Photographer.
How did you begin doing what you do?
Although I had always been interested in Art it was not until I was 14 that I realised I was able to paint. Prior to this I struggled in school not knowing what skills, if any, I had. When I was doing an Art mock exam the teacher called me ‘an artist’ and encouraged me to attend life drawing classes at Camberwell School of Art on a Saturday morning. It may have been a fleeting comment but it changed the course of my life. I went on to study Art and Art History at A’ level. I later did my Foundation at St Martins School of Art and the went on to Central to study Textiles. Although I did not obtain my degree Art remained an integral part of me.
What turns on your creativity?
Being by the sea. Creating art is like a call & response experience.
What do you like best about your work?
I love the surprise element in my work….. my work is never planned: it evolves throughout the process of painting.
When were you most satisfied in your work?
Golden moment: The morning I opened the door at the Fishslab Gallery, Whitstable on the first day of my solo exhibition since retiring.
Describe a memorable response to your work?
Memorable responses include:
‘Beautiful colour and texture”
“Would like to own”
What is the most exciting part of your work at the moment?
Allowing myself to fully engage in the process of painting….. the tension between the active and reflective experience which occurs when bringing a painting to life.
What is your dream project?
Working together with other artists to exhibit and promote art.
Which artists / creative people are your heroes and inspiring figures?
Maggi Hambling, Francis Bacon, David Mankin, David Bowie, Cecelia Bartoli, Mary Oliver…….. and many more.
Your idea of happiness
Playing football with my dog Hattie.
What art/creativity related book should everyone read?
David Mankin: Remembering in Paint (2021). David Mankin is an abstract landscape painter of the Cornish landscape; the book is all about his art process. An inspiring book to read.
Tell us a lesson life has taught you.
Always be kind & generous.
Anything else you would like to add?
I never take for granted the wonders of being creative.