Making life

more colourful

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"Well, it's colourful!", Emma Haines says of her style. "Colourful and free-flowing. I hope it makes people smile".

 

And who could really help but smile at her beautiful depictions of animals?

 

When I spoke to her in her Gallery / Studio, she was sat at a huge easel working on a painting of a group of Lundy puffins. Although she had barely started, it was already their personalities that were taking shape. While she worked, her two lurchers (Arnie and Nero) were asleep next to her, where they are always to be found.

 

Her Gallery, Doodles on the High Street, has an open door policy. While being an artist can be a lonely occupation for some, Emma, having grown up with lots of foster children around her and whose first job was at a busy care home, is very happy to have people around her. She always welcomes people to come into her gallery to look at her finished work, watch her while she paints and, of course, have a chat.

 

"I could work from home" she says, "and have a studio there. But the Gallery means that I can meet people and they can see my work more easily."

 

Emma at work in her Gallery

Emma's dogs prefer to sleep during
the creative process.

"I was lucky during lockdown", she remembers. "As people were spending time at home, I think they were working on home improvements, and I received lots of commissions to fill the gaps on their walls! The difference was, of course, that while I was working, the gallery door was always closed. It was lonely but I enjoyed having the time to work and I know I was so lucky to have that work."

 

Gallop won Emma an AOI Award in 2012

 

Most of Emma's work comes through commissions and the Gallery itself but she also exhibits in Lynton and Dunster. And she has also exhibited in London for quite a while. Her connection with London started when she won an Association of Illustrators Award in 2012 at Somerset House. The connection is now continuing with a book she has been working on recently with a London writer.

 

Despite these London connections, Emma is entirely at home in Ilfracombe but she and her family are actually from Bath. When she got a place to study art in Barnstaple, the whole family came with her to Ilfracombe and have settled in perfectly well. 

 

The Humpus Rumpus, Emma's first foray into
book illustration

 

Another recent venture has been the use of some of her work on cushions, mugs, tea towels and cards. She became aware that holiday-makers often loved her work and wanted a memento but buying a large painting on holiday wasn't always practical.

 

Holiday-makers are always welcome to come into the Gallery and have a look at the range of work on offer. The puffins she was working on while we talked are part of a new range of more local  subjects so that people can buy something to remind them of their holiday.

 

"I do try to make my work fun!" she says. Anyone who steps into her colourful gallery, will definitely agree!

 

Doodles, Emma's gallery, can be found at 138 High Street (near the cinema). 

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