An Emotional Connection with Art / by Emma Ashby

Suffolk Seashore 48 x 18"

Suffolk Seashore 48 x 18"

The opening night of the Portsmouth Arts Tour was a great success. It’s always a little nerve-wracking before any show. Wondering if people will like your work. Wondering if anything will sell so you can pay for all the materials and frames you bought to put on the show! Thankfully this was one of the best openings I’ve had yet, with a number of larger pieces being sold.

But why was that? It was interesting to hear from a number of people about the emotional connection they felt with my work. It confirmed to me how important it is to have an emotional connection myself with the art I am creating. When I feel under pressure to create art just to make money, I find it very counter productive and it leaves me feeling profoundly dissatisfied. It’s when I feel a heart connection to the subject that I am painting that I am most satisfied. It’s like I can feel the pleasure of God in it.

I particularly felt that connection with my most recent series of encaustic paintings based on scenes from my childhood, in Suffolk, England. Growing up, I don’t think I really appreciated the beauty of where I lived. It was on a trip back to England in October that I was really struck by the atmosphere and beauty of that unspoiled countryside. It was like stepping back in time to old England, like a scene from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. It was the heart connection that I made with my surroundings that inspired me to create some wintery scenes of the Suffolk marshes and seacoast that I remember so well. 

It was those Suffolk paintings that probably drew the most attention at the Arts Tour. Someone said they felt drawn into one of the paintings and could look at it forever. People spoke of the emotional connection they felt with them, without really understanding why. I wonder if what they were feeling was my emotion, the emotion that went into those paintings? I don’t think it was any coincidence that most of them sold on the opening night. Unfortunately the photographs here may not convey what I’m talking about in the same way, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

Art can never be just a business for me. I have to paint what I am experiencing or I’d rather not paint at all.

Suffolk Fields

Suffolk Fields

Suffolk Marshes

Suffolk Marshes