About Emma J Read
Artist & Founder
International selling artist Emma J Read is inspired by the sea and its wild ways. She lives in Hampshire and works from her barn studio alongside her furniture-making partner Dan and is mum to their son Cedar. Alongside Dan she works under their collaborative name Cedars Yard. Your Guest Canvas started as a sideline to her artistry but it quickly gained popularity and became its own business. In 2022 Emma launched Make Your Mark Events offering live painting entertainment for large celebrations including weddings, celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries, and team events.
Emma’s paintings stem from growing up on the Deal seafront and watching her partner surf around the world. Her passion for the coast has never waned. Emma’s paintings are a spontaneous and intuitive response to her feelings of both joy and respect towards the sea, the surf and its wild ways. She studied printed textile design at Loughborough University where she developed a strong love of colour and pattern which is key to her work. Exhibiting in the south of England and predominantly by self representation Emma is gaining loyal collectors who share her connection with the coast and love of bold colour. She hopes her paintings will draw you in, turn you about and have you emerging with salty hair and longing for the sea.
The origins of Your Guest Canvas
After the birth of her son, Emma felt the urge to inspire others to paint too. To encourage not just the quest for a pretty picture but the goal of enjoyment. With a background in training teams Emma considered running workshops and whilst investigating this area, trialling some workshops and working alongside a local art facilitator she soon noticed her passion for collaborative artwork and painting large canvases!
“I love seeing people work together on one piece, losing themselves in a moment of creativity and having the opportunity to paint on a larger scale.”
In the Summer of 2019 something clicked and Emma asked herself “when do people come together for a celebration and who would want the artwork?” Weddings seemed like the obvious answer. It was trialled for a wedding in August 2019 with a local couple in Haslemere who were happy to try our unique service and Emma has not looked back since. Emma has been constantly refining and growing the service and in 2022 is proud to have welcomed on board two other artists to support the event and launch it under its own name Make Your Mark Events.
Depending on the date and location of your event, you may be lucky enough to have one of our other trusted artists, Jen or Zoe looking after you and your guests on the big day.
Jen Smith Stemp
Jen is an artist happiest with bold bright colours, painting her expressive playful abstracts often inspired by music. Working from her studio in West Sussex, she lives with her husband Tim and cat Monty.
"It’s an honour to be a part of the team and I love the opportunity to encourage people of all ages and abilities to have a go. I especially love it when guests who claim “they can’t paint” have a go and discover they enjoyed it. It becomes another highlight of their day that I hope has a lasting impact."
Zoe's creativity explores all mediums - from painting to wreath making. Most at home on the farm or by the coast Zoe's work predominantly has roots in nature. She lives in Hampshire with her 2 kids and her energetic dog Jacs.
"I love working the events as it's a beautiful and personal way to get everyone involved on the special day. As well as helping people release their creativity"