About the Artist
Celia Paul’s art stems a deep connection with subject matter and is quiet, contemplative and ultimately moving in its profound attention to detail and deeply-felt spirituality. She makes intimate depictions of people and places she knows well. From 1977 to 2007 Paul worked on a series of paintings of her mother, and since then she has concentrated on painting her four sisters, especially her sister Kate, as well as a number of portraits of close friends. She has also produced a large number of evocative self-portraits over the course of her career. Paul’s self-portraits open up a painterly and conceptual dialogue between the dual role of subject and artist – caught between self-possession and self-scrutiny – as well as offering an extended consideration of the essential dualities of the medium – its ability to capture qualities of form, light and atmosphere, and its material presence.
In the doorway of Celia Paul’s mansion block, loud Bloomsbury crowds jostle for shelter from a summer shower. Within, at the top of a winding stone stairway, an Edwardian-looking figure with long face, pointed features, acute eyes and loose brown hair greets me warmly…
There has to be a reason to paint someone. If you know them really well you don’t have to be so literal, you can take liberties, get a sense of their real presence.