Jemma Powell’s paintings begin in the landscape. The artist will spend hours observing her surroundings. This act is a sensory one: the torridity of intense heat, the sound of wind through lush greenery, the smell of moistness in the air, and, of course, the study of form and shape.
Jemma Powell grew up in a house of artists, her mother Lucy Powell is an established painter and her father Dick Powell a product designer. Jemma painted all through her childhood, she was always around paints and canvases. Painting was very much a family activity and she was encouraged to express herself through art. She studied drama at Bristol University and went on to train as an actress at The Oxford School of Drama.
While Jemma has always painted, for over 15 years she mostly concentrated her professional energy on her successful acting career. It wasn’t until she met her husband, singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti, that she concentrated fully on her painting, realising that the act of creation was about sitting with your craft and allowing the marks or music to come through naturally.
Jemma mostly paints en plein air to ensure the painting becomes cross-pollinated with the essence of the day. Having absorbed the feeling of a place, she will intuitively decide the first colour to strike her canvas with. Once the first colour is laid on, the first shape marked out in Jemma’s characteristic energetic brushstrokes, the others follow in conversation. The artist will, trance-like, instinctively lay mark over mark until the painting is finished. Because of this, her paintings have a captivating fluidity and dynamism, a sense of calm alongside one of joyful chaos. The flurry of marks which appear in quick succession are tempered by the complete absorption of the artist herself.
Colour is obviously affected by the landscape she is responding to. Her Formentera landscapes are full of vibrant, ringing colours: cerulean, coral, zinging oranges. When painting the English countryside: it’s richness and lingering moisture are communicated through a spectrum of verdant greens and subtle violet greys. Jemma also paints interiors and still life based on her domestic space. The family dining room is now her studio, she paints in the heart of the house surrounded by domestic bustle, her children ricocheting in and out, this familial chaos and energy stimulate her - feeding into her practice.
Jemma has exhibited successfully with galleries in London and the South of England, she is having a solo show in London in 2022 and a show in Italy is planned for the following year. Her work has an international following with collectors in Europe, America and Australia.