Award winning water-colourist Jenny Oldknow is filling the gallery for the month of October with her animals and landscapes perfect for this time of year so come on over and grab a hot chocolate and view her stunning work. We wanted to know more about her so we asked her! Below are her answers.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jenny Oldknow and I am a full-time watercolour artist living and working in Belper, Derbyshire. I am married with three young children. and have two dogs, a cat and two tortoises who keep me company as I paint!
How do you work?
I prefer to work in my studio, rather than outside. I get better results in these familiar surroundings, and feel less pressure to complete a piece in one sitting. A painting may take me several days to complete, working on it for short periods of time to avoid overworking it (a common problem with watercolour painting), so working from my studio at home gives me the flexibility to work when I want.
When painting animal subjects I work from photographs, as my subjects never stand still long enough! My work can hardly be described as photographic though! Landscapes are also painted from reference photographs, although again with a large degree of artistic license! I paint floral subjects from life, such as the blackberry paintings I have been doing where I bought a sample in from my (rather wild!) back garden and created a painting from it, even using berry juice on my palette, mixed with paint as part of the composition!
What's your background?
All I wanted to do throughout school was work with horses, and that is exactly what I did do for many years. Painting had always been an important hobby throughout my life, and I was a member of a couple of art groups. I stopped work when I had my first child, who has profound special needs. It wasn't until I had my second child that I made the move to professional artist, back in 2006, when people started asking me to paint commissions and suggesting I approach galleries with my work, and I have never looked back!
How has your practice changed over time?
Most noticeably, my style has got far looser and expressive. I push the boundaries between representation and abstraction far more. After trying most mediums over the years, I now paint exclusively in watercolours, and I have made my subject matters more specialised - the natural world, the rural landscape, wildlife and pet portraiture. I have also branched out into teaching art.
What work do you most enjoy doing?
All of it, although there is something very special about painting a much loved pet, and handing over the painting to a delighted client. I adore painting all animals, especially dogs, capturing the expression in their eyes and their personalities, in a sensitive style.
What is your dream project?
Painting Johnny Depp's dog, cat, whatever! (of course, I would have to meet him in person to discuss the commission!)... And get paid lots of money for it!
What inspires you?
Being a country girl at heart, inspiration for my art comes from across the natural world. Living in Derbyshire, on the doorstep of the Peak District National Park, means I am surrounded by beautiful landscapes, and an abundance of wildlife and flora which lives within it. I don't need to travel far to get material for much of my work. I also love domestic animals, and love to paint pet portraits.
What do you like about your work?
All of it, I love time spent painting, but I also enjoy the time spent doing administration, promotion and marketing, which is a bit strange for an artist! I also love to inspire and teach others to paint, and I run popular weekly classes and workshops, which are great fun! I love just about every part of being an artist and painting tutor.
What's the best piece of advice you have been given?
To follow your heart, and be individual as an artist. If it feels right, it probably is.
Professionally, what's your goal?
To carry on developing my own unique style, and to paint as many different species of animal as possible, both wild and domestic. I would love to travel more to see different animals in the wild too. Over the next few years I will be working on building up a portfolio of work with the aim of being elected into the Society of Wildlife Artists. I also have an ambition to be elected into the Royal Society of Watercolour Artists or the RIW!
See more of Jenny's work on her website: www.jennyoldknow.com
Octobers artist in a window is Lynn Presland, we have walking with your camera workshops coming up too and also The Big Draw on October 15th 10.15 -11.30am supporting the charity campaign for drawing we will be drawing the future! Follow this blog for more information coming soon.