Local artists brush with fame and her new-found friendship

Hazel Mabbott with Emotional Overflow and the Holland Chorale CD, Expressions of the Soul.
Hazel Mabbott with Emotional Overflow and the Holland Chorale CD, Expressions of the Soul.

A Northam woman has made a life long friend over the internet, through her love of art.

In 2001, self taught Northam artist Hazel Mabbott uploaded her artwork to a website where over 3000 other creatives has posted their work.

A conductor from the USA with the Holland Chorale, Ryan Kelly, was trawling the website trying to find an image for the cover of their new album, Expressions of the Soul.  

“He wanted a piece of artwork that explained what the CD was about,” said Hazel.

“He said he looked through hundreds of paintings, when he came across my painting Emotional Overflow.“

Ryan sent Hazel an email expressing his interest in the piece.

“He said he really loved the painting and it would match the music beautifully,” she said.

Ryan ended up buying a high resolution image of the painting and also sent Hazel ten copies of the finished CD. 

Ryan said he would like to buy the painting but he was not in the financial position to do so because he had a baby on the way.

The pair exchanged many emails during this time and Hazel was touched that her artwork was appreciated, across the other side of the globe. 

Hazel developed Parkinson's disease and has gradually been unable to paint. 

She has always remembered this interaction with Ryan and was recently telling her carer Chris the story, while playing him the CD.  

Later that day she received a friend request.

“I couldn’t believe it – but it was Ryan!” she said.

“After all these years, we were both thinking about each other the same day.

“I told him and he couldn’t believe it either.”

“He said he would like to buy the painting if I still had it – I said I did and it had been waiting for him!”

“I had many offers but it didn’t feel right to sell it.”

Ryan bought the painting from Hazel and it now sits in his Pennsylvania office at the University of West Chester, School of Music. 

The pair have developed a friendship and keep in contact online updating one another on the latest in their lives.

“It is amazing and I love to hear latest updates on Ryan, his family and his creative career,” she said.