As ever the months fly by so quickly and already I find myself only a little over three weeks away from my first solo exhibition – We all Cast Shadows at the Heart Gallery in the heart of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. As you may know the body of work for this exhibition has been occupying my thoughts for a long while and I can’t quite believe it is all coming together for this show – the nerves are taking over the excitement for the moment but I hope that will turn around soon.


I wanted to write a few posts about the work and preparation for this exhibition so here we go! Beginning with the inspiration and where the idea came from.

 This is how it began. One day, I sat down and I started writing on a large piece of paper. I wrote and I wrote – words, phrases, things that meant something to me. Quotes from my favourite books. Things that were a mystery to me. Things that were familiar to me. The thoughts that occupy my days and dreams. Things that inspire me, move me, interest me. I unearthed everything that I could think of that could be the beginnings of a body of work.


I had already been painting for a number of years and had themes that I kept returning to. Solitary characters with stories to tell. History and folk tales, puppets and dolls. Memories and reminiscence. But there was one theme that I kept returning to time and time again and that began when I read the book In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick. If you have read this book (or know of the movie that is soon to be released) then you will know that it is the true story that inspired Moby Dick by Herman Melville. But as much as I love the whole story and have read it time and time again, the bit that fascinated me the most is the part that describes the island life, the communities of women, independent and strong, bringing up their children whilst their men are away more often than they are home. Living their lives never knowing if they will see their husbands again (such is the danger of the whaling life in those days).

This subject has fascinated me for years. It is my own (or so I feel) Of course I have not lived on an island and had a husband going off to hunt whales. But there is something about the story that absolutely resonates with me. The hope, the isolation, the desire to connect and the haunting, melancholy narrative. And so the idea for this show gradually began to take shape.

More in the next post!


In the meantime you can find out more about the exhibition here on the We all Cast Shadows page of my website.

Dates for your diary

Thursday 18th September 2014 7 pm

We all Cast Shadows – In conversation with Gillian Lee Smith – Meet the artist, Gillian Lee Smith – Mixed media artist, and get first-hand insights into her current work
‘We all Cast Shadows’ previewing at Heart Gallery  – you can book your place on this talk here on the facebook page.

Thursday 2nd October 2014 – 6pm till 9pm

Preview of the exhibition We all Cast Shadows – Invites are available from Heart Gallery or if you would like me to mail you one you can email me your postal address to

The invites are absolutely beautiful and I will be sharing the pages in the next few blog posts.

Here you will be able to purchase original paintings, limited edition reproduction prints and greetings cards.

Thursday 30th October 2014 – all day

I will be in the gallery with my paints and easel working on some new paintings so come in and say hello if you can.


Places are now sold out on the upcoming Unearth Gather Create but registration is still open for the upcoming Studying Under the Masters – it is going to be a lot of fun and I would love to see you there.


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