With a background in fashion and textiles, it was only when Freya Powell signed up for a painting course, with the intention of improving her print-making skills, that she realised she wanted to take it further.
“I’d never thought about painting until a couple of years ago; I’d do a bit of drawing to create a print, but always preferred being hands on with fabric. But when I started painting I fell in love with the immediacy and the challenge of it. It also makes you notice so much detail in your subject, things that you would never have seen if you hadn’t been staring at it for hours!”
Leaving the world of fashion, she began painting full-time. Having grown up in country England, Freya was drawn to the blooming cottage garden, secret dells and wide open skies; so naturally flowers became her muses. “It’s a bit of a cliché but there really is so much beauty in flowers,” says Freya. “When you study them up close you realise how much detail there is and such complexity to the structures. Also, if you’re a flower lover then having a painting of them is a way to make them last forever in your own home.”
With a realistic style, Freya keeps the backgrounds of her paintings bare, putting the sole emphasis on the flowers themselves. Her artistic practice begins with the search for fresh blooms, which she photographs before putting paint to canvas. “Depending on the type of flower it’s good to focus on certain things. For example, when I’ve painted really blooming flowers like peonies or David Austin Roses I’ve just painted the blooms themselves because they’re so amazing, but if there’s a really graceful movement to the stems like with poppies and irises then I try to incorporate that.”
A lover of nature, Freya now calls Sydney’s east home – swapping countryside walks for beach walks – spending her time working on commissions: “It’s lovely to know that a client will have a piece of your work as a part of their life.” Freya also hopes to work on a more personal project: “I’d like to try and fit in a bit of time for some experimenting with a couple of ideas. I really don’t think I could ever get bored with flowers, but that’s not to say I’d never do something different!”