The seeds were sown as a child while watching her father paint handmade Christmas cards on the dining room table

Emma de Souza at the easel

Emma grew up in Barnes, west London and now lives in Hertfordshire. In 2021 after 40 years of working in the NHS first as a nurse and then a GP, she retired to dedicate time to her passion of painting.

Art took a back seat until she was in her forties when she joined a local art group run by art tutor Martin Smith. Martin initially encouraged her to hone her drawing skills and after a few months, let her loose on paint.

She bought her first few tubes of oil paint, some brushes, a canvas board and has been painting ever since.

It surprises me how much drama can be created by a collection of everyday objects

Emma de Souza with still life art props

I’ve always been drawn to still life, I love the play of light and the way objects relate to each other. I am inspired by the genius of realist painters such as Caravaggio, Vermeer and Chardin whose handling of form and light is exquisite.

My paintings are about the beauty of relationships between objects and the spaces they occupy, about colour, light and the absence of light, about balance and contrast.

While setting up a still life there is a magical moment when the objects find their place

And it’s comforting to know there is potential for any number of beautiful combinations.

I hope my paintings spark connections in ways that painting them does for me


The Royal Society of British Artists’ Bicentennial Exhibition, The Mall Galleries, St James’s, London, 2/3/23 – 11/3/23

Photo by Niki Gorick