A Different Green is the first solo exhibition from emerging artist Bella Hoare, taking place from 22nd May – 2nd June at The Oxo Tower on London’s South Bank.

The exhibition focuses on over 20 works that explore the beauty of the female form alongside closely observed natural references to forests, leaves and flowers. Successive layers of paint build a final images as well as the visible history of that image’s construction while Hoare’s optimism shines through in a celebration of feminine beauty and power.

Bella Hoare has independently developed a distinctive style of painting, using modern cold wax medium with traditional oil paint to enable the construction of complex, multilayered works. Her emotional sensitivity to colour is supported by intense study, demonstrated by the numerous hand painted colour wheels and charts lining the walls of her studio.

She lives and works on the edge of the Stourhead Estate in Wiltshire, embedded in a richly forested landscape and is a keen gardener, and a fellow of the RHS. This close bond with the seasonal cycles sustains and enriches her.


Bella is a member of the RHS and has created an award winning wildflower garden, Gasper Cottage, outside her artist’s studio in Wiltshire which is open to the public. Bella’s practice which focuses on the female form is very much inspired by the natural world around her home with closely observed references to both wild, garden and hothouse plants, trees and flowers.

Throughout childhood, motherhood, widowhood and into a new chapter of her life the annual renewal of the natural world has taught Hoare that it is always possible to create a better future for yourself.

Plant life and the natural world are constant touchpoints. In A Different Green, Hoare’s series of “green goddess” paintings offer a feminist take on the “green man” figure of medieval Pagan-Christian folklore and can be seen as a reminder of the possibilities of human and, more specifically, feminine intimacy with the natural world, while her Glasshouse paintings feature five portraits of women from The Glasshouse – a social enterprise empowering female prisoners through horticultural training.

A passionate supporter of The Glasshouse, Hoare’s paintings are larger than life-size images. The scale throws off viewers’ preconceptions, monumentalising these women from marginalised communities and emphasising their potential for growth. As both individuals and archetypes, they represent the opportunities for renewal offered by the natural world through horticulture and shared experiences.


Hoare’s practice repeatedly turns to themes of renewal and hope. In A Different Green, transitional colour palettes and expanses of lush vegetation hint at the turning of the seasons and the inevitable return of light and life from darkness. Under Hoare’s brush, nature is not a benevolent force but a neutral one, indifferent to human lives but providing us with emotional and physical sustenance if we are willing to embrace its power.

“As a child I spent long hours deep in the forests and gardens around Stourhead that surrounded my home” says Bella Hoare. “”As an adult the seasonal renewal of life has supported me through challenging times. This positive relationship between nature and feminine power is celebrated throughout my work.

“Colour is crucial as a way of expressing emotion. My memories of green light from deep in the spring-time forest, the vivid colours of summer flowers, or the infinite variety of browns and greys of mid-winter are all equally beautiful.

“The intricately textured surfaces of my work evolves over months with many layers of oil and cold wax medium. Representational when viewed across a room or on screen; in proximity you appreciate the successive application of abstract marks. We are all more interesting the closer you look.”