It is the creation of likeness which fascinates me most; a glint of gold in the shadows, the flicker of an eyelid, the shimmering pulsation of nerves under skin. Likeness is always at the centre of my work; the almost mathematical relationships of feature to feature are just the beginning, but accuracy is essential.


Using the historically-loaded medium of oil on canvas I set out to create jewel-like treasures, like altar pieces or the small icons intended for personal devotion.


Costume, masquerade and artifice as well as beauty found in unusual places are essential elements of my work, building on my long-time explorations of self-image and self-presentation. There is a sense of escapism; most of my paintings are of a single figure, of a solitary moment, withdrawn from the rest of the world.


I relish the glowing transparency and texture of oil paint and I seek to create a macro-feast of surface texture which can only really be appreciated close up.


Humans relate to images of of other humans, particularly faces, on a visceral, subconscious level; this is why portraiture is especially powerful and relevant. After layers of meaning and concept are stripped away, that relationship remains. My images can be very intimate and very personal, drawing on my own lived experiences of Love, longing, sadness and joy.

all images and design copyright emma tooth © 2012