IT’S easy to see where Hampshire artist Faye Nasser- Joley’s inspiration comes from.

The 31-year-old, whose stunning paintings of horses are on display at the Terminal 5 Expo Fine Art Gallery at Heathrow Airport, spent her childhood in the heart of the New Forest.

“I grew up in East Boldre, in a house in the middle of the Forest. If you didn’t shut the gate properly, ponies would wander into the garden,” she says.

“I spent my childhood up trees, in streams and covered in mud.”

Her early exposure to ponies left an impression on her.

“I find myself being drawn to horses more and more,” she says of her artwork.

“It’s amazing – the more time I spend with them, the more incredible I think they are. They’re wonderfully inquisitive, intelligent and gentle.”

It’s fortunate that Faye, who now lives with her fiancé in Southampton, is so fond of horses, as she has just been commissioned to create a large-scale painting of one of Brazil’s equine entries for the Olympics – Eleda All Black.

The exhibition at Heathrow also features a portrait of Paralympian Lee Pearson’s horse Gentleman.

She always spends time getting to know her subject to get a feel of its personality, as well as photographing it.

It is how she has worked since she started out with a stall at Lymington market, taking commissions for painting portraits of children and pets.

“You always have to meet them to capture their personality,”

she says.

“You can paint the exterior of a person or an animal but if you spend long enough with the subject, you can’t help but paint the personality traits as well – they just come out on their own. They bleed through the exterior. That must be something I’m doing but I don’t do it consciously – it just happens.”

Faye studied at Winchester School of Art but she has been producing art since she was a small child.

Born with 50 per cent hearing loss, she believes that her artistic talent may have benefited from her poor hearing.

“They say that when you lose one sense, another one becomes further developed to compensate. I think that’s what happened to me,” she says.

“It’s funny – you’re born with a disadvantage and somehow it manifests as a gift. There’s nothing else I’d want to do.”

She says that her hearing loss has affected her.

“It’s an invisible disability,” she says.

“It’s not immediately obvious that you’re deaf. Very often, initially people think you’re stupid. They’ll ask you a simple question and won’t get an accurate response.”

She adds that she was often teased in the playground for being different, but then all the children would be gathered round her in art class to admire her work.

“My disability has never stopped me from doing what I want to do,” she says.

“In fact it has made me more likely to do it.”

Faye’s work has been shown in galleries in London, Belgium, Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as the New Forest.

“I’ve got a good reputation in the Forest, which isn’t to be underestimated. It keeps me going and also, it’s nice to have my work in galleries that I used to go to as a child. Some of them also turned me away a couple of times but I kept going back and eventually they gave in and took my work, I think to shut me up!”

Her work is also sold around the world and she has a number of commissions coming up, including painting Paralympic basketball champion and TV presenter Ade Adepitan.

“I’m thrilled to be a professional artist,” she enthuses.

“I knew I would do it though. Even from first starting the business and wondering how I was going to pay the bills, I knew my bloody mindedness and determination would get me there in the end.

“I think that’s true of anyone who succeeds in what they want to do. If you never, ever stop moving forward and never give up, eventually you get there.

“I’m extremely proud to be where I am, especially in that incredible gallery at Heathrow and it’s the best work I’ve ever done.”