A GWENT woman who discovered a love for creating expressionist art in the height of lockdown has opened her very first gallery.

Elizabeth Louise Art & Interiors is the brainchild of Liz Prosser, from Pontypool, and opened its doors in Usk last weekend, showcasing a range of paintings, sculptures, and jewellery from local artists.

Ms Prosser aspires for the gallery to be a hub of creativity for the Monmouthshire town, as well as a place where young people can express themselves through artistic workshops.

South Wales Argus: Liz Prosser has opened a new art gallery in Usk.Liz Prosser has opened a new art gallery in Usk.

And despite being passionate how art can help improve people’s mental wellbeing, this wasn’t always the case for Ms Prosser.

“I never really liked art before lockdown,” she said.

“I had just been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy – which is an unexpected episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis – so it was a really difficult time.

“One evening, I’d bought a canvas and just decided to create something, and I found myself totally lost in the process.

“Art suddenly became part of my rest and recuperation process.”

South Wales Argus: There's plenty of work from local artists on display.There's plenty of work from local artists on display.

Ms Prosser’s first creation was soon snapped up by an art collector from Portishead, near Bristol.

But it was when the owner of a nearby wine cellar business took an interest in Ms Prosser’s work that things really started to develop.

“Dale Leighfield, who is the managing director at Demada Wine Cellars, took an interest and started buying my work,” she added.

“And he helped me get this place that I’m in now and we’ve got plans to work together in future.”

South Wales Argus: The art gallery also has sculptures made by a local engineering firm in Pontypool.The art gallery also has sculptures made by a local engineering firm in Pontypool.

The pair have plans to convert space towards the back of the gallery into a wine cellar, with the aim of selling fine wines and marry up both cultures.

As for what’s in the gallery, most of the artwork is by artists in Monmouthshire, as well as a collection of sculptures made from repurposed metals by an engineering firm in Pontypool.

What’s more, there’s also a range of jewellery on display – some of which has been made by a 17 year-old girl.

Ms Prosser, who has worked with youngsters who have experienced domestic abuse trauma, has witnessed first-hand how art has helped youngsters engage and express their emotions.

South Wales Argus: Ms Prosser hopes the gallery becomes a creative hub for Usk.Ms Prosser hopes the gallery becomes a creative hub for Usk.

“I’ve worked with children and young people that were victims of domestic abuse,” she said.

“And I was working with a 14-year-old boy once who found it difficult to communicate his feelings.

“So, one day, I took in canvas for him and told him to do what he wanted with it – and he took his aggression out on the canvas which really worked for him.

“It wasn’t really about what he created – it was the process in which he did it.”

South Wales Argus: She also sells her own work in the gallery.She also sells her own work in the gallery.

And that’s why Ms Prosser is keen to set up creative workshops for youngsters at the gallery to help them express difficult emotions.

Ms Prosser said that she is in talks to produce a display with youngsters for the upcoming Queen’s platinum jubilee in Usk.

The gallery is open from Wednesday to Saturday, between 10am to 4pm.