Olivia’s roots are in the mining town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Her childhood landscapes included not only the industrial and working class parts of the town but also the wilder areas of surrounding moorland, which are echoed in the paintings she creates today. Her father was a Polish immigrant after the Second World War; he arrived in Britain with a sketchbook in his cardboard suitcase.
Olivia studied music at the University of East Anglia, followed by a career as a teacher and in teacher education and research. Towards the end of her career in education Olivia began painting and drawing courses at City Lit London and completed the Fine Art course there in 2016. She won the RWS Contemporary Open prize in 2019, and the RWS Cass Art Solo Exhibition prize in 2020. She has exhibited in many group shows in London, as well her solo Cass exhibition in Islington in March 2022.
Olivia lives in Southeast London. Her work has two main focuses: the industrial buildings, blocks of flats, streets and parks of that area, and the landscapes of the English coast and the Drome in France.
Olivia’s work is based upon on- and off-site sketchbook drawings and paintings as well as still and moving digital images collected on her iPhone. Sketches use charcoal, ink, watercolour and pastels. Her work is mostly on paper using acrylic, watercolour, ink, charcoal and crayon.
Olivia wants the images she creates to demonstrate a sense of commitment to a place, a reflective commentary on the continuum of what can be described as ‘ordinary’, whether a building seen from a commuter train or a brown English beach on the South Coast.
Olivia divides her time between art and political campaigning on NHS issues.