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Christabel Blackburn

Christabel Blackburn is a London-based artist who studies and specialises in the human form. After finishing her degree in Classics at Newcastle University she studied figurative drawing and sculpting in Florence and then The London Atelier of Representational Art where she started to paint.

Christabel’s work has evolved over the last ten years, becoming increasingly pared down. She is an observer of people within cities and certain environments such as art galleries or parks. She has a great skill for being able to capture the essence of a person’s mannerisms or mood despite her minimalist style and often featureless figures, revelling instead in the power of colour and form. Her figures are always solitary, usually only accompanied by their own strong shadow which serves to emphasise their solitude and creates an unsettling and vulnerable feeling, as if they are being followed. Christabel’s work has been featured widely within the press and she was the winner of Sky’s The Portrait Artist of the Year in 2019.

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Christabel's Style

Christabel is influenced by Edward Hopper’s realism and photography by Philip-Lorca di Corcia as well David Hockney’s architectural traits. Her strong sense of observation has enabled her to refine her technique. Both capturing on her iphone or holding the image in her mind, the moment that she sees a captivating solitary figure within a dramatic backdrop, she will later use this as the starting point for her paintings. Be it a lone figure in a gallery or a child in an urban park, the stillness she portrays in her everyday scenes draws the viewer in and like photography, holds you in that moment in time. 


The intimacy she creates pulls you closer, giving you a greater sense of the people in the picture, their thoughts and their feelings. The simplicity of her work often conveys the loneliness and anonymity felt in a crowded city as well as challenging the impact of mental health caused by this digital age. Christabel’s scenes transcend the everyday; they are stories about society and how we live our lives.


Read about Christabel in The Times, following winning The Portrait Artist of The Year on Sky Arts in 2019.

Read 'Conversations with Friends - Christabel Blackburn x Kate Bryan'

“Growing up in London I have always been an avid people watcher. By painting figures and architecture in the way that I do, I hope the viewer will get as much pleasure from these scenes as I do.” - Christabel Blackburn

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August 2021 Prints

“It seemed appropriate to produce prints which symbolise hope and togetherness. I realised recently it is not necessarily people or architecture which are the subject of my paintings, but sunshine and light.” - Christabel Blackburn

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