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Angela Smyth An Inspirational Artist

July 29, 2013

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Angela Smyth works in an old mill building in Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax. She has a beautifully Illustrative, quirky and amusing style.

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You can find some of her badges and books in her Etsy Shop, whist her larger paintings and painted objects she sells through a variety of galleries like The Hawthorn Gallery which is situated on the site of the old Hare & Hounds pub in Stalybridge, Cheshire. Not a million miles from where L.S.Lowry used to live.

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She portrays women as almost Beryl Cook-ish sexy and yet strong, dependable characters, who are often giving birds or animals a helpful shoulder to lean on or some good advice.

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Whilst the birds have their own advice to give.

Angela says ”

I have been asked many times about the stories behind my paintings, it occurred to me that a lot of them are taken from events in my childhood. This was a revelation as I’d never really thought about it before, I was just grateful that I had ideas at all. The story begins with a little girl who didn’t have many friends and who spent most of her time drawing or playing with the neighbour’s dog (Sandy). My dad used to take the time to teach me how to draw, but he could only draw shire horses, (and cubes), as they were his favourite animals. This kept me quiet and out of trouble and still does to this day. When I was looking through the pictures I realised that when I had a serious point to put across, I always painted animals. The dogs, cats and birds usually have hidden stories or meaning to them.

For example, birds in cages always have the  door wide open (as they always are), but if the bird decides to stay it’s because he doesn’t feel trapped, he’s happy. I wouldn’t know where to start if I were to paint people in this situation, it would look far too serious. In much of my work you will notice certain elements appear time and time again. Ladders, cages, flying animals etc. and the fact that the eyes of my people never look down [unless they are looking at some gorgeous cake]. This all has to do with positivity. The cages are open, the ladders all lead to the sky and the eyes look towards something better.

The little tags with hearts on symbolise love notes & secret admirers. I paint mouths in the shape of hearts because I believe if you can’t say anything good – say nothing (also I can’t paint mouths very well!). Flying animals – well, let’s just say that’s the artist’s prerogative! Ideas come from my home town and the people who live there. It’s full of characters and I can’t imagine ever running out of inspiration as long as I’m living here. They are often based on people I know well (many have them have spotted that!) and are all true to the place I live. ”

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I love the joining together of painted and ink characters, for me the combination works so well. Look at this fox giving a lift to a small bird, such lovely marks and colouration.

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She can paint a mean Map too.

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Her new collection of places and buildings are amazing, such detail and vibrancy. ” My studio”, says Angela, ” is in a beautiful old mill, and doing what I love most in the world, life doesn’t get much better that this. My work is constantly evolving, and new directions come from all over the place. The big South Pennines Map helped to steer me into more drawings of townscapes and buildings, and now I’m adding more human element to these. I still love painting crazy animals though! ”

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I’m in awe of the range and variation in her work and in love with the little characters and the strong honest messages and humour that Angela manages to include. Great positivity and talent.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2013 11:17 am

    Nice work – I especially like the maps!

    • July 30, 2013 4:50 pm

      I agree and think that the Maps must be incredibly difficult to do. All that research, local knowledge of where places are to be included and then just creating a wonderful looking and practical map.. wow thats a huge task. Angela does it all so well.

  2. August 4, 2013 7:07 pm

    Thank you for such a generous showcase of Angela Smyth and her work. I wear her “Anything is possible” badge always and feel she adds much to the joy of daily life. So glad to have found your blog. So much more art to discover.

    • August 4, 2013 7:25 pm

      Many thanks Marylinn for your thoughts. Great to adopt such a positive approach to your day. Angela’s badge should be a mantra for us all. Glad to have you join us too.

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