Seren Bell Fine Art Gallery
Seren Bell was born in Tiverton, Devon and graduated in 1986 from Exeter University with a BA (Hons) in English and Fine Art. After completing her studies she moved to Mid-Wales.
Her work is rooted in the Welsh landscape where she still lives. Its hillsides are hung with ancient woods and lined with sheep tracks. Every day Seren walks with her dogs in this landscape and her work is inspired by all its different moods and seasons. From the heights above the valley she can see the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons which have formed a backdrop to her life.
Her method of working is to draw the picture lightly in pencil and then add colour with crayons before over lining in Indian ink. It is this very individual technique which gives Seren’s paintings a great sense of realism.
I’ve spent so many hours over this last year walking my dogs, going straight from the house following various paths and tracks up the hills overlooking the upper Wye valley. It’s a relatively unseen, old and forgotten, domestic landscape, scattered with the odd farmhouse, chapel or simple church all sitting perfectly rooted in the contours of the land. From the tops the Wye valley is laid out in a pattern of fields and woodlands, the beautiful shapes of Black mountains always there in the background.
It’s in the winter months I love it most because you can see the bare bones and details of the land and I love drawing the lines of the trees against a frosty background. I always walk in the early morning or late afternoon, and in the winter this is when the light transforms the familiar landscape into something magical and exciting. I love the colours which appear in the sky as the world darkens over the cold, bleached fields. This winter I noticed particularly the striking powerful beauty of the conifer woods silhouetted against such skies. Coming home in the twilight, usually cold I still find it hard to tear myself away from looking at the hills and copses of bare trees as they settle into the darkness. So I suppose its these feelings which I put in my work ,it’s only a fairly modest size piece of Radnorshire but I don’t really feel the need to find new places to excite me this does it totally for me. Its given me huge solace over the last year I feel safe and at home in it and I’m grateful I’m never tired by it and that on some days the clouds or the light work to reveal something new and exhilarating. I hope something of how much I love this land is in my work.
Even though I know these places so well every day it is the light which changes everything and brings to notice hidden contours or views, or sharp winter sunlight suddenly reveals an abundance of vivid green mistletoe .
Its almost more difficult to say why I am so drawn to the animals I put in my pictures, fiercely loving animals has always been so much part of me since I was tiny. I’ve always seen them as individual creatures who need consideration and try to give them a voice that we can recognise and respond to. I hope I give them a dignity and presence which makes them significant to us. Aside from this I love everything about sheep ,their wise bony faces, bulky fleeces , the glamorous black and white markings on their elegant legs and of course it’s hard not to respond to the strong maternal instincts of the ewes who are so touchingly protective of their lambs who are now filling the fields. Its impossible for me not be consoled by such sights. So now the bleaker walks of January are peopled with much activity, a gang of lambs racing down a hill, the cockerels puffed up with importance and a local flock of geese parading slightly menacingly. They all bring alive the landscape and bring much needed joy and hope.