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Artist Profile: Emma Bell

Revisiting a Childhood Passion

By Heike Hellmann-Brown

Florals, still-lifes and seascapesinspired by French impressionist Claude Monet are the trademark of artist Emma Bell.

Bell grew up in a small village near Manchester, England. As a child, her parents encouraged her artistic endeavors whether ballet, dance, piano, flute, or sketching. Later, Bell studied business management and worked in marketing for 10 years, until the transfer of her husband relocated her to the Atlanta area in 2008. Two weeks after our move, I learned I was pregnant, recalls Bell, whose boys now are 4 and 2 years old. While organizing her new life in the United States and raising her kids, Bell rediscovered an old passion: painting. She took various art classes and found herself greatly influenced by an eight-week course in Duluth she took in 2013 with instructor Larry Smith, who introduced her to the use of a palette knife. The impressionistic style paired with a palette knife gives me a lot of freedom in my creative process, especially when creating the flow of water, she explains. One of my favorite subject matters is the ocean probably because I am originally from a cold climate and saw the beach only once a year during our summer vacation.

Bell often uses the photography of her twin sister, Victoria, for reference. I go through phases, she states. In early summer, I tend to like to paint beaches and boats, then I will get stuck and do a series of bright, bold florals, then I transgress to landscapes or even fun abstracts. She maintains a home studio and paints in oil on gallery-wrapped canvas. Apart from originals, Bells work is available as gicle reproductions. She also accepts commissions or paints similar to previously sold items on request. Its an amazing, satisfying feeling when someone buys my work and puts it in his or her house, she says, noting that with each sale her confidence as a painter grows.

Bell still researches fellow artists and takes classes to enhance her technique, although she feels she has come a long way since first rekindling her childhood passion. Painting started as a hobby, but now I see it thriving. In the last year I made a lot of progress, not only in what I can accomplish artistically but also in regard to exposure and recognition, she says. I believe what sets me apart as an artist is my marketing background. While I strive to evolve as an artist, at the same time I can apply my marketing knowledge to make myself more visible with the goal to be represented by more galleries and find myself in a position where I am financially able to visit my family in the United Kingdom more often. Life is great. I am able to do what I love best: spend time with my family and create beautiful paintings.

Emma Bells work is currently available online and locally through Synergy Gallery in Roswell.