Lockdown landscape artist changes job to paint full time

Hampstead Heath Pond No 1 by Vanessa Brassey

Hampstead Heath Pond No 1 by Vanessa Brassey is on show at Cass Art Hampstead in November - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Vanessa Brassey started painting during the lockdown and has now taken it up full time.

When the philosophy lecturer at King's College started posting her sketchbook paintings of daily walks on the Heath on Instagram, people started buying them.

"With the encouragement of the community - buying my paintings as I was making them, requesting prints of the ones sold, and asking for me to make cards - I decided to change track and start over with a new career as a painter," says Brassey who was hit with the realisation "if you really want to do something - don't waste any more time!"

Kenwood Lime Avenue by Vanessa Brassey is on show at Cass Art Hampstead throughout November

Kenwood Lime Avenue by Vanessa Brassey is on show at Cass Art Hampstead throughout November - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

She has now started a degree in contemporary portraiture at the Art Academy in Borough, and exhibits her 'Lockdown Landscape' collection of prints and paintings at The Art Space, Cass Art, Hampstead.

"The paintings went to Londoners first, then Frankfurt, then California and Toronto to people whose lives had been touched by the Hampstead hills and waters," adds Brassey, who found the grounds of Kenwood and Hampstead Heath "a sanctuary in a sea of anxiety" during lockdown.

Vale of Health by Vanessa Brassey

Vale of Health by Vanessa Brassey - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

"As a local, I was fortunate to be able to walk there daily with my dog. And in lunch breaks and after work I would make paintings that reflected our journey around those pathways. The paintings are colourful, chaotic and geographically located. They capture the light reflecting off the Kenwood House facade, the explosion of saffron, cerulean, and magenta in the Vale of Health, the emerald elegance of the heron at the ponds, and the soft amaranth of fading sun over Hampstead Pond No 1.

"They are a refuge in colour. Making them felt like a wild but necessary way to expand my horizons. At a time when the world was not particularly jovial, the paintings provided a small tonic."

Most Read

Dr Brassey's limited edition greeting cards which "commemorate the solace and bliss of the Heath" each featuring a gate, pathway or pond, are on sale on Etsy and other shops around Hampstead.

Vanessa Brassey's Lockdown Landscapes are on show at Cass Art, Heath Street, Hampstead from November 1 - 20.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter