“Trees crowd thickly and darkly to the water’s edge, the moss is succulent and green… the mouth of the creek… there is something of a mystery about it, even now, something of an enchantment.” 

“Frenchman’s Creek” Daphne du Maurier 

Sophie Velzian is a contemporary landscape artist who celebrates the enchantment and spell of the famous Helford River. Living and working in this unique Cornish location, she is inspired by its clear waters, the soft light and distinctive trees. Working in oil and cold wax she uses rich and muted colours to conjure up its enduring and enigmatic atmosphere. 

Sophie has always been inspired by landscape artists who love light and atmosphere, such as Peter Lanyon, Cezanne, Monet, and Turner. After graduating with a First from the Slade School of Art, she worked for several years in user experience design before reigniting her art through painting seascapes while sailing around the west coast of Scotland. In 2020, she fulfilled her dream and moved to live by the sea where she built her own art studio near the water. Sophie's passion is this unique Helford coastline, which contrasts sharply with the wide sandy beaches of North Cornwall. Here, the water is serene and clear, the rocky coves with their pebbled shores are draped with Monterey pine trees that stand out against the sky. This languid landscape, which has inspired so many writers and artists, is reflected in Sophie's work as she captures its subtle hues and textures at all times of the day and year. Her paintings are luminous and expressive, full of emotion and depth. Working in her studio, she builds up the layers of richly pigmented paint and wax over time, creating a history of marks in the layers with drips, solvent wiping and scratches, evoking a sense of movement and atmosphere. Inspiration comes from early morning walks with her rescue dog on the Helford beaches and from swimming in the cold water, especially at sunrise. The colours of dawn, especially the tangerines and blush pinks, are her signature palette. Her goal is to convey the essence and emotion of the places she paints, and to share her love of this unique landscape and the sheer joy of painting with the viewers.

You can read more about Sophie's background and inspiration in the latest issue (36) of Drift magazine, where Sophie is the featured artist to promote this year's Cornwall Open Studios. Click here to read the article.

Previous exhibitions

  • Light Fantastic Solo Exhibition - Spring Gallery, The Poly Falmouth
  • Spring Open, The Poly Falmouth
  • Penwith Gallery, St Ives, Associate Group Show - February 2024
  • Solo Exhibition - Tolmen Centre, Constantine, February 2024
  • Helford Light - Solo Exhibition at Port Navas Hall - August 2023
  • Poly Summer Exhibition, Falmouth - August 2023 
  • Guest Artist at Coast Colour Canvas, St Keverne, The Lizard - September 2023
  • Prime Women Artists Group Show - Truro High School for Girls - November 2023
  • St Ives Society of Artists Group Show - December 2023
  • Spirit of Cornwall, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro