Jemma Powell

Jemma Powell grew up in a house of artists, her mother Lucy Powell is a painter and her father Dick Powell a product designer. Jemma painted all through her child hood 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. She has worked as an actress for 15 years, working with directors such as Tim Burton, Francois Ozon, and Marc Munden.  On her marriage and motherhood, she decided to focus more seriously on art and has been painting and exhibiting for the last 4 years.  She always takes her sketch book on location, filling in the time between shoots by drawing and painting.

Jemma draws inspiration from nature and the places she travels to, working plein air in watercolour, charcoal, pencil and oil pastel, developing the work in her studio.  She  also works from memory,  painting intuitively through the process of applying the paint, wiping it off, reapplying with brush or palette knife, scrubbing it and even using her fingers.   ‘I try to think about the balance of the elements in painting: tone, form and colour, rather than direct representation, this makes a much more exciting and dynamic picture’.

Jemma had her first solo show at Anthropologie,  London, whilst simultaneously filming a new adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. She  has recently been cast in a new series for Sky and Netflix called Devils. She lives in Oxfordshire with her husband,  singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti, their 2 children. Her two careers  acting and painting feed off and enrich each other.

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Jemma Powell

‘During lockdown I was using still life in the foreground, and often a window, through to a landscape or seascape behind. It gave me the opportunity to paint about the world beyond,  a mixture of memory and painting from life. The comfort and familiarity of home juxtaposed with a world outside beckoning me to return. I wanted to intensify the sense of safety and enclosure of my home whilst at the same time express my longing for the places physically distanced but very much present in my mind.  A poem “A Portable Paradise”  by Roger Robinson became a bit of a mantra feeding  these ideas and unlocking my painting’.


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