Last year, between lockdowns, the Oriel Gallery in Antrim hosted an impromptu show for my paintings and pastels and I had the opportunity to meet many visitors and chat about my work. That exhibition can still be viewed in the "Art Sweet Art 2020" tab above. I am currently working on private commissions and preparing for my next group exhibition with the Ulster Society of Woman Artists. Please read on for more information about me and my artwork...
I'm Sorrel Wills, an artist born in England to Northern Irish parents, and I have an innate love of both places. I loved my childhood, growing up on the South Coasts of West Sussex and Hampshire, and also spent many summer holidays in Northern Ireland, visiting my relatives. The family returned 'Home' in 1989 and after a short time as an au pair in France, I came to Belfast, where I studied at the Art College in York Street, gaining my degree in Fine Craft Design. I have lived in Northern Ireland ever since. My artistic career began with my ceramic business before I had my family and I chose to work in interior design. In 2014 I became a painter. Beauty inspires me and my paintings often feature the landscapes of Northern Ireland, its townscapes and interiors. Sometimes we rush about with our busy lives and we don't have time to treasure those moments of beauty in life that I try to capture in my paintings. As important as the subject may be, to me, equally important is the effect of light to create the atmosphere I want to express in my work. Whether I'm using pastels or oil paints, I want to create an inhalation of happiness with my paintings; for them to elicit serenity and contentment; capture the essence of light; connect with a peaceful moment; an ethereal radiance; a shimmering transportation; light mixed with tranquil memory; never just to contribute as part of an interior, becoming invisible with familiarity but for those fleeting moments of peace-of-mind and loving happiness to be captured in my paintings and transport those feelings to the viewer, so they can hold those feelings as often as they wish, through the enjoyment of art. Working in oil paints or soft pastels, I feel they possess many interchangeable qualities due to their vibrancy and saturation of colour. I am influenced greatly by the Impressionists and I have found a natural affinity with palette knives as they allow me to paint loosely adding the details in I want and letting the mind of the viewer fill out the rest. I love how they emphasise so strongly the textures of paint and the power of the painting process.
I regularly teach drawing and painting techniques to adult students in art clubs and evening classes and I am available to do demonstrations of oil painting using palette knives or soft pastels.
I am honoured to be a Past President of the Ulster Society of Women Artists (elected 2018), an organisation that celebrates the many talented women artists in Northern Ireland. I enjoyed my two years in office very much. During my time as President, I was keen to modernise the society's website and encourage new membership as well as, with the dedicated work of the Council, put on great exhibitions. Our current President, Judith Logan, is a very talented and capable artist. She and the Council, of which I remain a member; as website manager, have been keeping the Society active and visible throughout the pandemic and we have been holding online exhibitions.