Houses of Kadıköy

Zealous Stories: Painting winner, Edinburgh-based artist Emily Moore, creates arresting landscape paintings using an amalgamation of personal source images and experiences. Moore’s creative process allows her to recall each place and combine them to create new, anonymous landscapes.

Emily Moore, Nobody Lost, Nobody Found, 2019, Acrylic and gesso on panel

Congratulations on winning Zealous Stories: Painting! Your winning series ‘Houses of Kadıköy’ was inspired by a trip to Turkey. How do you typically go about documenting your experiences?

Thank you, it was a lovely surprise. Whenever I’m away, I always make sure to take lots of photographs. I normally just use my phone, but I’ve also got a little pocket camera which has a better zoom if needed.

You work in a number of mediums including paint, collage, print and installation. Before embarking on a new project, what informs your decision regarding media?

Although I enjoy working in other media, paint is what I make the majority of my work with, so I never really have to make that sort of decision. I do always go back to collage, especially if I’m in between bodies of work. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any printing, but I’d definitely like to make some more screenprints in the future.

Emily Moore, In His Blue Gardens, 2019, Acrylic and gesso on panel

Could you tell us more about your painting process, what materials you used and how you constructed this series?

My painting process was hugely influenced by the printmaking I did during art school. I loved the precise application of paint obtained through screenprinting and developed a similar technique to build up layers in my paintings using masking tape and a scalpel. I work directly onto birch plywood panels, often leaving areas of the raw wood exposed, such as the circle in ‘In His Blue Gardens’ and ‘That Was Just a Dream’. I use an overhead projector for the intricate, detailed images, which are then drawn and cut out by hand. Quite a laborious process but it allows me to combine precise, detailed layers with more painterly ones.

All the Kadıköy paintings were constructed in the same way. I started by painting the graduated background colour before adding the grid (at this point I’d already masked off the circles on ‘In His Blue Gardens’ and ‘That Was Just a Dream’). I then painted the buildings and then foliage, before finishing with the bottom band or circle in ‘Nobody Lost, Nobody Found’.

The materials I typically use are acrylic, gesso, graphite, enamel and varnish, however these works were made using only acrylic and gesso. I always work using acrylic mixed with gesso as I prefer the surface quality of the paint and it’s a lot easier to sand down, without the plastic-like finish you often get with acrylic paint.

Emily Moore, That Was Just a Dream, 2019, Acrylic, gesso, graphite, oil pastel on panel

How has your style and painting technique evolved over time? 

I’m not sure how much my technique has evolved, I’ve always been obsessed with tracing and replicating images with a certain level of exactness. I’ve incorporated a lot more painterly marks in my work which is slowly becoming more abstract. Although I really enjoy making the figurative, architectural and mountain pieces, I wanted to move away from relying so heavily on the projector. Also, I think naturally, I just fancied a change. I’m always keen to push my work on, although I sometimes struggle to get really experimental. It’s hard to pick out one particular body of work as they all contribute towards the development of my practice. Lockdown has definitely had an impact on what I’m making. Up to this point my work had been largely informed by the photographs I took whilst away, so this absence has perhaps also pushed my work more towards abstraction.

Emily Moore, Chamonix Series, 2013, Screenprint,

How have you stayed creatively motivated during lockdown? What are the major challenges you have faced?

The first lockdown was more difficult as my studio complex was closed for two months. I was still able to create some work from home, mostly collages and some small paintings, but it was tricky. Thankfully our studio has stayed open throughout the second lockdown, but I’ve found it especially hard to get myself back into work mode after the Christmas break. Although it can also be a distraction, looking at what other people are creating on Instagram motivates me to get going and make new stuff. I’ve also had a few commissions recently which are great prompt to make work.

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Ellie Isaacs

Community Manager