The Empress of All I Survey – Part 3

Nina’s first drawing following our initial discussion

I was really excited when Nina said she had work in Pembrokeshire for the VC Gallery and was bringing my painting. We met on my terrace on what was fortunately a bright, sunny day and shared an iced drink while we chatted.

The lovely sea
Incorporating my view

I asked Nina Camplin how she had found the process and she told me it was very different from the way she normally works. I had wanted the image to contain symbols that meant something to me – symbols that would not mean anything to anyone else unless I explained them. At one point we had talked about adding one of my poems, but I had decided I wanted the painting to be without anything that might explain it. It was to be mine, with meaning special to me.

Getting the throne into the landscape

That meant talking a lot and letting the image evolve, with some images coming in and then being removed. My hair had of course begun to grow back too (from when I shaved it all off to raise money for the homeless), and I loved the new silvery colour, so I asked for that to be included and said I wanted a different facial expression.

Nina’s lovely rainbows

Nina said: “I wouldn’t normally share the work with the person commissioning until it was finished, but this evolved over time and became a collaboration.”

A photoshop image… getting there

Was that a challenge?

“In some ways, but it was exciting because you were very easy-going and allowed me the freedom to explore. It was unusual in that it took a few weeks, and that can make it difficult to stay in the zone, but each time I came back to it, it was with fresh ideas we had explored.

Nina with the finished portrait

“I do enjoy working collaboratively. It’s always good to have a project where other people are involved.”

Generally, Nina said, she will compete a work within one or two hits. Even a mural is something she likes to get done in a short period of time.

“Actually covering a wall in a day or so, depending on the surface, is much easier. The smaller detail is of course larger and easier to convey on a large surface. It’s also very satisfying, in a public place, that a lot of people will see and enjoy my work.”

In pride of place: my little, fat, bald mermaid

In a lot of Nina’s work she likes to challenge perceptions of space and create scenes of faked realities. She has worked on many art projects all over the UK, receiving commissions from various councils, including Luton, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Southampton, the Isle of Wight, Dorset and Poole. She has won also two design awards for her subway murals in Luton. I urge you to check out her work on her website

So my portrait, taking pride of place in my living room now, is a one-off. I do hope Nina is proud of it. I certainly am.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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2 Responses

  1. Nina Camplin says:

    Kitty was great fun to work with and I really enjoyed the whole process of creating this portrait for her!

  2. Dani says:

    This is stunning!! What a brave and wonderful thing to do for yourself and wth not? Very inspiring Kitty x