As I pen these various biographies, I am struck by a realisation that what unites the interviewees in the PTArtsCafe, is not just great talent but genuine modesty and humility.
As someone who couldn’t write ‘Clean Me’ on a dusty blind and whose closest proximity to literary greatness was delivering the morning newspaper to Dylan Thomas’s second cousin, once removed, modesty is my best quality as, according to my father, I have much to be modest about.
The range of abilities of all of our featured artists, none more so than Lauren Sarah Humphrey or LSH as she refers to herself, leaves me in awe. I did not know that there were so many gifted people in Port Talbot but all too many of them believe that their work should speak for itself.
Vincent Van Gogh only sold 1 painting during his lifetime for the modern equivalent of £80, his talent went unrecognised, his work did not speak for itself and he died without popular approbation, depressed, epileptic and unfulfilled. His large body of work survived him and sells for £millions at auction and private sale today, long after his death. For Van Gogh, read Vermeer, Bach and Keats, all of whose popularity occurred after they died. Uniqueness should be held in high regard and should be proclaimed for without doubt, the soul’s beauty shines through in both great art and great performance; talent recognised, brings success, happiness and above all else, fulfilment.
Why do I make these points? Because LSH seems to fit this mould. Not only is she a successful graduate; loving mother to 2 children, full time worker in NPTCBC’s Flying Start programme, published children’s author, exhibited artist and soon to be TV celebrity on Channel 5 but she is modest, humble and charming to boot. Her work deserves recognition and the whole point of PTArtsCafe is to do what she and other PT artists and performers seem very reluctant to do, shout ‘Look at Me’.
Influenced by a talented mother, both sculptor and ceramicist, a father who is a keen videographer and her late Grandfather who painted, LSH was possessed from a young age, with an overwhelming desire to create, paint and express herself. Encouraged at Duffryn School by her art teacher, Mrs James, LSH matriculated to Swansea Institute and from there to the Elephant & Castle, London where she graduated with a BA (Hons) degree from the London College of Communication, a world leader in creative communication education.
Love and life came calling and after a brief sojourn in ‘The Old Smoke’, LSH came back to the real ‘Smokey Town’ of Santo Portablo. Blessed with a son and daughter and the demands of a full-time job, art went on the back burner.
Happily, LSH’s constant striving to learn and grow as a watercolour artist, proved too strong. Inspired by the sea, mountains and ‘moody wet landscapes’ that surround us in Port Talbot, LSH has developed an expressive loose style of painting bordering on abstraction but, as she adds, it comes ‘with a heartbeat of emotion’.
When asked her favourite subjects she says, ‘I enjoy painting wildlife, flowers, animals, mountains, roads and seascapes’.
LSH can be contacted via Instagram with examples of her work appearing at LushWaterColours on Etsy. She is currently exhibiting as a watercolour competition winner at the Queen Street Gallery, Neath, her children’s book ‘Ophelia’s Garden’ is on sale with Amazon and you will shortly see her on Channel 5’s ‘WaterColour Challenge’ in January of 2022. The only thing she hasn’t done is halt the tide on Aberavon Beach.