A few images from my latest series

This series was about the story of failed relationships, and the mess there is to clean up once things are officially over. The theme is pretty universal, and although we tend to play it down culturally, the scars from these experiences can last for many years.



For me, this one was a humdinger! I came away from it feeling utterly drained, confused and lost, with the distinct feeling that I had given far too much of myself and now there was very little left to rebuild with. That was 6 months ago, however, and while it still hurts a lot, I’m doing fine. I’m really happy to have taken the somewhat scary step of spilling my guts on these seven canvases. To have taken a painful situation and turned it into something pretty is my own personal form of alchemy, and I know that once the feelings of loss and grief have entirely faded, theseĀ paintings will still be a part of my body of work.


All of these images will be available as prints soon. Email me at shelli.le.fay@hotmail.com if you’d like to talk about buying any prints or originals.







Throwback Thursday: UCA Degree Show 2011

I ended my degree on a text-based project called ‘Songs From The Revolution’. This was around the time of Occupy, the student marches and the beginnings of the anti-austerity movement in the UK, and all of these things had heavily influenced my artwork and taken that and my life in a more political direction. For this project I made cut up poetry out of newspaper headlines and advertising slogans, and the main rule was: they must always end on a positive note. The premise was that newspapers and adverts are designed to instill fear into the hearts of their readers in order to coerce them into spending their money. By cutting up the offending text and reclaiming the words as beautiful poems, the manipulation message is subverted. With the help of my uni’s wonderful technicians, I stole the Clear Channel logo and created this enormous billboard to display my final piece.


This project was great fun to do and I explored many formats before arriving at this final piece, including printing zines of the poems that I left in cafes and in public spaces, and a series of posters which I put up in phone boxes and any free notice board I could find.


I’ve been putting together some ideas for business cards…


…and this is my first shortlisted idea. This is a painting from nearly two years ago, however, and my work has moved on a bit since then so I don’t want to misrepresent myself by putting an older image out there.

I made this on a free app because I don’t have a great deal of skill with the computery side of things, so bear that in mind, too. I have also been told it’s unusual to have portrait business cards, but I quite like it like this.

Feedback is appreciated šŸ˜˜


I Can’t Grow A New Heart

Over the last year the subject matter for my paintings has shifted from the mystical to the personal. Having experienced a lot of loss in my romantic life of late, I have found it extremely therapeutic to pour my experience out of my chest and onto a canvas, bringing life and shape to the abstract feelings of grief, emptiness, pain and confusion that come at the end of a relationship.

Back in the summer, I fell very hard for a man who protected himself from the world’s machinations by becoming entirely emotionally unavailable. He had suffered a great deal of loss in his life and had chosen this way as a survival tactic. He also had nearly died from a heart infection a few years before, and had open heart surgery to replace the infected valve. In a quiet room, you can hear it ticking. With my keen/obsessive eye for symbolism I began sketching out ideas. When in the late winter our relationship reached its explosive conclusion due to a complete lack of compatibility, I started this cathartic process.

Never The Same

Never The SameĀ Acrylic on board 10 x 25cm

As both a strident feminist who believes is celebrating the culturally feminine, and as a proud and overtly girlie-girl, it is important to me to always include an element of the twee to my work. Therefore my sketches of hearts became a cartoony mish-mash of the anatomical and the symbolic.

I can only apologise to anyone who feels their privacy violated by this project. I aim to keep things as cryptic as possible but sometimes the work comes out a little more literal and, much as a songwriter might pen painfully honest lyrics about their experience, so I have chosen to squeeze out every last drop of sadness into this body of work.

i can't grow a new heart

I Can’t Grow A New HeartĀ work in progress. Acrylic on canvas 20x20cm

This painting is around 90% finished, although every time I look at it I see new things to re-do! I did this in one 5 hour session. Sometimes your muse grabs you and the work just pours out of you!


‘Broken and Useless’Ā Acrylic on canvas 35 x 45cm

My work always starts out so messy! That’s just my process, though, and I’m not embarrassed to show the world! This was around 5 hours again. A lot of work is required to tidy it up and finish it, but the groundwork is there.

I have planned between 7 and 10 paintings for this project and a potential place to exhibit them in a few months (although I won’t say any more because I don’t want to jinx it!). Its strange how such deeply painful subject matter can be such a joy to paint. Perhaps it’s the alchemy of turning something tragic into something beautiful that really feels empowering.