Pleased as Punch, 2023
Oil on canvas board
About the Artist
Zena Blackwell (b.1977, Welsh British) is a visual artist whose work investigates various themes pertaining to childhood, be it her own experience of childhood and parenthood or general observations of her own two children. Zena is interested in the evolving dynamics between her children; their relationship with the environment, animals and the world in general (and all that it presents). Children can be strange and beautiful but also funny but melancholy. The presence of children in Zena's work provides glimpses into imagination, fantasy; story telling and sometimes surrealism, identity and gender definitions. Although recognisable faces often crop up in her works, Zena does not consider them as portraits with the character's representing a universal portrayal of children/ childhood. She often find that the paintings are very relatable to other people - so they almost become like shared memories or a shared lexicon of childhood. Zena lives and works in Cardiff, UK.
About the Artwork
My recent small portraits have been a personal exercise in avoiding getting bogged down with capturing likeness, instead aiming to achieve a sense of the person’s essence or capture a moment in time when someone is lost in thought, for example. I have been trying to simplify the way I render a face, instead letting the paint take the form of a face through marks and the natural fluidity of the paint.