Marcella Cooper: Beauty in Simple Things

What could be more relaxing than sitting in your back garden with a steamy pot of tea, a good book, and a snuggly feline friend?

British artist Marcella Cooper captures the joy of simple pleasures in her lovely paintings, each an invitation to live in the moment.

photo of Marcella by Sarah Lane

Based in rural Suffolk, Marcella lives with her family in a 16th century thatched cottage. Interested in art since childhood, she had always been drawn to British flora and fauna. 

While living in a quiet village and homeschooling her two children, she was inspired by her picturesque surroundings and began to dabble in drawing and painting. She sold these early pieces to family and friends. 

At age 44 she decided to pursue formal study, earning a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Suffolk. There, she was introduced to printmaking and discovered her love for lino cuts. She saw how the stark composition of lino cuts allowed simple designs to make a strong impact.

After she and her husband moved into their current home, he helped convert an antique washing mangle into a printing press.  Marcella then began producing lino cuts inspired by the strong connection she felt with the surrounding countryside.

She returned to painting with acrylics and oils after discovering certain images she had in mind couldn’t be conveyed with the smooth lines of lino printing. She soon discovered that her approach to painting had changed; her lino cuts informed her new work, which assumed a more naïve style.

She welcomed this change in style, as it more accurately reflected who she was and what she was really interested in. 

Being quite introverted by nature, home takes centre stage in my work and I often find myself inspired by my free time spent pottering around the cottage, cooking, reading, gardening and walking in the beautiful countryside outside our door. I use my interiors and the everyday objects in my home for inspiration, whether it’s my crockery, my favourite teapot and mug, Roberts Radio or the Kilim Rugs on the floors. Simple chores and taking time to be still and present in the moment are reflected back into my work. I see great beauty in simple things and celebrate living slowly. 

Her “studio” is a heavily beamed room at the front of her cottage. She usually works with her border terrier Molly on her lap, with her other dog Jack curled up nearby. The two black cats depicted in many of her paintings were beloved pets, now gone, who lived to be 21 years old.

I do love the idea of living in a thatched cottage with an Aga stove and a dresser full of crockery. So quintessentially British!

And I can easily understand why any artist would be inspired by the English countryside. Timeless, pristine beauty. It’s good to know small quiet villages still exist and certain areas are protected by the National Trust.

I was also tickled to learn Marcella was born in Wimbledon (South London), the place where Len and I met. I lived in three different flats while in Wimbledon and wonder in what part of town Marcella’s home was located. 🙂

Marcella’s original paintings may be purchased via the Primavera Gallery in Cambridge and Church Street Gallery in Essex. Giclée, digital, and lino prints are available at Marcella’s website shop, with greeting cards at Green Pebble. 

Official WebsiteFacebookInstagram

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*Copyright © 2021 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

16 thoughts on “Marcella Cooper: Beauty in Simple Things

  1. Jama, just what I needed before leaving my coffee cup in the sink and getting ready for a day of work. Thank you for the beauty. A wonderful, wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting to see the changes in her art, at least I think that’s what I’m seeing. The colors seem richer, deeper. But I love those lino cuts, too! And I loved the peek into her home studio. Thanks, Jama, a wonderful look at how she sees life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for introducing me to Marcella! I am US born and raised, never been anywhere out of the country except China to adopt my kids, but I am a lifelong anglophile. My ancestors are Irish on one side and Scots on the other and I dream of going there someday. And so many artists I fall for turn out to be from the UK. (Rachel Grant and Jo Grundy come quickly to mine).

    Her paintings are charming, just wonderful! I love the naive style over realism because I can take photos for that (though I greatly admire those artists too!). The details in her paintings are right up my alley – flora, dogs, cats, cottages, teapots. So cozy! I just followed her on Instagram, where I mostly follow artists and animals! I am going to go now and enjoy all her posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan — thanks for the nice comment. Nice to hear you’re excited about Marcella’s work. Like you, I’m discovering that so many artists whose work I’m drawn to turn out to be British. I’m also a fan of Rachel Grant and Jo Grundy. Have featured them here as well:

      https://jamarattigan.com/2020/03/10/rachel-grants-world-of-serene-beauty/

      https://jamarattigan.com/2019/11/05/nine-cool-things-on-a-tuesday-30/

      Hope you get to visit the UK someday. There is so much to love about it!!

      Like

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