Shazia has released two new pieces of work for Autumn 2011. Her enchanting characters are mesmerising to look at, filled with mystery and delight. What works so well with her work, is her ability to relate to the viewer on a personal level. Each character has their own story and personality to get across, and no two characters are the same. ‘Flanna’ tells a story more of confidence and freedom with her golden hair waving in every direction. Whilst ‘Marjolein’ projects an idea of innocence.

Flanna by Shazia

Flanna by Shazia

“I was a moderately quiet child growing up in Keighley, Yorkshire. I say moderately only because I grew up in a family full of girls and feathers often ruffled, especially in cases of critical importance, namely clothes and records! My mother was an excellent seamstress and I loved watching her painstakingly measure, cut, pin and sew pieces of fabric which evolved into the most exquisite dresses. I would often sit under her sewing table watching her foot press down on the pedal of her sewing machine and listen attentively to her stories. My mum, originally from Pakistan, often told stories to keep us quite when she needed to work. Her storytelling carried me to a benign world full of hope and love but often with a foreboding and creeping sadness that lay untold.”

“I knew from an early age I had the ability to draw. But it was the ability to remember and learn by heart details that, when combined, became the future benchmark of the work I now produce. The stories told and retold as a child helped, in part, to create a palpable and lucid world deciphered only through the use of drawing.”

Shazia at Artworx Gallery

Shazia in her Studio

“I don’t assign to any formulaic way of painting my characters. Often I begin by painting on canvas a faint outline of my characters head and placing them low down on the canvas. At this stage I can do one of two things: firstly I can revert back to sketch books and pick a character that I may have doodled, or I can reign free and see where it will take me. The latter of the two always brings out a surprisingly different outcome often much more successful. My characters become apparent to me as they are being painted. A flick of the paint brush or the eccentricity of the hair can reveal a different character. In some case, the music I play whilst painting can steer me into a different direction.”

“I paint in oils on canvas which suits me very well, particularly as the medium gives you a lot of flexibility and direction. I loosely use the Renaissance technique of underpainting in order to achieve the depth in skin tone. Of course, glazing or adding colour is very time consuming, so I sometimes tend to forgo the layering and the glazing and adapt a different approach. I usually work on two or three paintings at one time. Working in oils gives me the freedom to make any alterations.”

“My painted little characters are presented like the typical portrait paintings of old; quite still and ordinary. Yet there is plenty about them that is peculiar. An unsettling charm made all the more apparent by their enigmatic gaze. They are vulnerable in scale, sharing neither their proportions or their features. Their sizable heads and characteristic hair, dominate the canvas, equalled only by the charming nervousness revealed within the peripheral ‘full stop’ eyes that stare blankly back. The absence of a mouth perhaps gives you the impression that they are essentially solitary and lonely characters, devoid of communication. But this is not to say they are unloved or isolated; rather they provide sentiments of hope joy, sadness and loss. Even as they are being painted, their characters become apparent to me; a snapshot of a moment or a feeling considered. They are in essence a tensely guarded connection to a benign world summoned by the passing of time. They are carefully preserved, given existence and above all loved.”

Marjolein by Shazia

Marjolein by Shazia

For more information about Shazia and her work please visit:

Shazia at Artworx Gallery

Alternatively please call 01543 502971 or email

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