I have inherited my love for art from a very early age, being inspired by my father who was an artist and a nature lover. I create art that is inspired by nature and I am passionate about both.
I am lucky to live in the beautiful countryside of Sussex, which is where I get my a lot of my inspiration from, while out walking with my dog, who is a permanent fixture at my studio! I have been a professional artist for many years, and have sold my work through fine art galleries all over the UK and overseas. I work from my studio in Ditchling, East Sussex.
Hi Jo! Tell us a bit about yourself. When did you begin doing art and how did you get started? When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Jo: I’ve always loved art and as a child, I was constantly drawing. I also had a passion for dancing, and as I got older, a lot of my time was taken up with dance classes. When I was 16, I decided to hang up my dance shoes, as my heart was no longer in it, and it was then, that I realized that I wanted to pursue my passion for art and so I embarked on an art foundation course at college.
I kickstarted my career as an artist by exhibiting and selling through local galleries and exhibitions when I moved to London after completing art college. This was a slow burner though as I wasn’t able to commit to my artfully until many years later when I was in a position to work part-time. I also took time out to go traveling around the world, get married, and have children. So, I would say my art career didn’t really get off the ground until after the Millennium where I was in a position to commit to it and dedicate the time. I moved to Sussex in 2003, and I began to build up my portfolio of work. I initially worked from an outbuilding at home, and then once I got more established and my work was selling in galleries, I got myself a studio. Since then, I have worked full time as an artist selling my work all over the UK and overseas. I’ve had an agent for the past few years, but I have recently gone solo, and I’m now selling through independent galleries again, which is great, and I’m excited about the future.
Tell us about your artwork, medium, style, subject matter etc.
Jo: As a nature lover, I love to paint landscapes, trees, and flowers. For the past ten years or so, I have produced my work on silk, using mixed media. I use the silk as a canvas, which is first applied with a batik effect, to create a sense of undergrowth, which really lends itself to the meadow scenes I paint. This has an element of realism, with a stylized, contemporary feel. It is a format that I have developed over the years, through lots of experimenting. I use acrylic and silk paints, which work alongside each other well, and the silk paints, which have an ink-like consistency, create an iridescent feel. I also use a lot of texture for the wild grasses, which often have metallic highlights.
What is a day of working like in your studio? Do you have any rituals that help you get motivated or in “the zone”?
Jo: I start my day at my studio with a cup of coffee in hand, while observing my previous day’s work and contemplating the next steps. I tend to work on multiple paintings at a time as this utilizes my time and materials. I find it quite easy to get into the zone as I’m so enthusiastic about my work.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your father, who also was an artist?
Jo: The most invaluable lesson that my father has taught me is how to recognize and appreciate the beauty of this weird and wonderful world we live in. His observation and enthusiasm for nature in its simplistic form was infectious and captivating. I feel privileged that I am able to get so much joy from something as simple as taking a walk in the countryside, taking in the sights and sounds and smells, and I thank my father for this. My father is still alive, but unfortunately, he has dementia and sees the world very differently now.
Your art is inspired by nature. What’s the most challenging part of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?
Jo: I think the most challenging part sometimes is being able to translate and captivate the beauty of a landscape on to a canvas. For example, a field of buttercups is a beautiful sight, but when you’re trying to recreate that scene as a two-dimensional painting, you have to bring it to life and make it interesting, which can be challenging. This is where having your own sense of style comes into play, to make it your own, and give it an edge.
How do you see the inspiration for your work growing and changing?
Jo: I have recently been experimenting with a new style of work, which came about during lockdown. I was lucky to be able to continue working at my studio, and without having any time restraints, I had the time to experiment, and as a consequence, I discovered a new style and method, which I am really enjoying. It is simply acrylics and mixed media on board, but using a different method of markings and brush strokes, creating layers of texture. This new style of work is more organic and allows me more scope to paint natural landscapes with an abstract feel, but with a sense of realism. [the pics I have sent you are of this new work.]
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Jo: I am always very touched when I have customers from far afield, such as Australia, who have accidentally come across my work on the internet and are delighted to have found me. Occasionally, I will hear from a customer that has purchased a painting through a gallery, and they take the time to reach out to me to tell me how much they love my work, and what it means to them.
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?
Jo: That’s a tricky question to answer. I don’t think you can beat seeing my work in the flesh, and particularly in a gallery setting, but I would also like to attract more customers through my online profile, which is essential in this new cyber world we live in.
Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about (or canceled due to the Covid-19 situation)?
Jo: There are a couple of things on the horizon, which involve an exciting opportunity to exhibit at a wonderful local venue; details to be announced in the near future. I have also entered a couple of competitions, which is something I haven’t done before, so watch this space!
What’s next on the horizon for Jo?
Jo: I would like to nurture and grow my new style of work and see where it takes me. I don’t know what the future holds, especially in these uncertain times, but as long as I can continue working as an artist, that’s all I need.
To learn more about Jo and her art please visit: