The fragrant half-silence of drawing a breath in, easing a breath out, as a woodland stirs around you is one of the most enchanting things about entering a patch of wilderness.
Likewise the headiness of standing on the brink of a stretch of land with the sea forming itself into endless shifting sculptures just beyond. These are the moments that remind us of the sheer awe-inspiring beauty around us.
These are the moments Jane Betteridge transforms into works of art.
Despite this, Jane never imagined she’d become good enough to be a professional artist, Happily, “years and years of practise and experimenting, in between getting on with my day job and raising a family, finally paid off.”
And the pay-off is enviable, as Jane now has the pleasure of being a full-time artist and experimenting with paint daily.
“In my eyes there is no other medium that comes anywhere near the vibrant characteristics of watercolour,” she says. “The way they merge and mix together on the paper, granulating and changing colour is mesmerising. Their glowing luminosity adds life to a painting.”
Jane sources inspiration from the ever changing nature of landscapes, as well as ephemera and other potential new materials.
“Changing seasons, country walks, hedgerows, colours, textures, textiles, old stone walls, rusting metal, and peeling paintwork, the sea, the sky, new tubes of paint or unusual watercolour mediums, old postcards, tickets and wrapping paper can all stir a desire in me to paint.”
It all adds texture to her art, and enjoyment to the process. Jane’s ongoing desire to experiment are vividly evident throughout the pages of her beautiful book Watercolours Unleashed. But how did the book come about?
“I spoke to Search Press when at an art fair in Nottingham and then sent them some images of my work and they asked me to go to their offices for a chat about writing the book.”
An urge to capture the sense of a moment drives much of her work.
“It’s the atmosphere of a place that makes me paint. For example, an isolated bluebell wood with the sun streaming through can be ethereal, magical and peaceful,” she says. “A rough sea lashing against the rocks can be awe-inspiring. Whether or not I do actually capture the atmosphere doesn’t really matter to me as it’s the fact that it made me create a work of art which is the most important thing.”
Looking at her glorious, energetic paintings, I’d say Jane captures the atmosphere with every stroke, offering glimpse of the world that can quietly infuse any room in which you choose to hang them.
Along with teaching, which she finds “so rewarding”, Jane feels hugely fortunate to be able to devote so much of her time to creating new work.
“I feel like I’m in heaven working as an artist,” she says. “If I wasn’t a full time artist, I’d be painting every spare minute I had anyway, so how lucky I am to be able to earn a living at what is essentially my hobby and favourite pastime.”
Jane has studios in Leicestershire and in St Ives, Cornwall. “People can make an appointment to view my work when I’m there. I’m in a couple of galleries at the moment and you can view my work on my website www.janebetteridge.com and my Facebook page Jane Betteridge Art.”
She adds: “I’ll be taking part in the St Ives September Festival (from 9th-23rd September) this year when my studio will be open to the public. I do quite a few commissions and had solo exhibitions every year for around 10 years until recently when writing the book took all of my time.”
Watercolours Unleashed has been such a success that Jane is now writing her second book for Search Press. I can’t wait to see what she creates for us this time.
Are you an artist or do you know an artist who would like to be showcased on SkyLightRain.com? Get in touch at judy(at)socketcreative.com.