I completed my BA ( Hons) Visual Communication Design in 1986, specializing in illustration. It was 1998 when I finally turned to art full time with many project experiences and exhibitions both joint and solo. Day to day I could be working in my home studio, out working on commissions or teaching.
I live and work in my home town of Halifax, West Yorkshire, I am rooted here in Calderdale.
I have become very involved in local heritage which has led to my relationship with Calderdale Museums, particularly Shibden Hall.
Shibden Valley was my playground when growing up and is a special place.
Art is a very personal activity and I paint purely in watercolour. My process completely reflects my personality as I prepare with a detailed plan in pencil before layering colour in free flowing large brushstrokes to build transparent colours. When it all seems out of control I then use the pencil plan to bring the detail back to a realistic image but still retaining some of the wild, flowing marks and texture which can only achieved with this medium.
I am interested in painting colour, texture and pattern affected by light which is reflected by my range of work. Influenced greatly by the watercolours of John Singer Sargent many works search for the elusive luminecence of light only found abroad.
EVENTS in 2023
The Anne Lister Birthday Week was a little kinder to me this year. I ran several watercolour workshops in the warmth of Bankfield Museum and the day I painted outdoors in the yard I had a sheltered spot from the wind. Precious ginger me went to the extreme and burnt my nose in the sunshine.
It was lovely chatting to the mant visitors to the hall.
My first solo exhibition of the year 'Travelling Light' opened on the 22nd June in the Halifax Minster until the 31st August.
It was initially part of the Summer Festival events.
Reflecting back on past travels to beautiful places where light and colour dances with fond memories.
Warm skies, calming waters and quiet corners to soak up the atmosphere.
Friday 30th June I hosted an evening reception which was open to the public and free to attend.
It was an invitation to hear first hand the inpiration behind my painting and watercolour process.
A selection of cards remain for sale in the minster.
EVENTS in 2022
This year I began to work closer with Bankfield Museum and Shibden Hall adding images to the Shibden Collection and local heritage stock of prints for sale.
Many of the original paintings are to exhibit for sale alongside in the museums this year.
During the Anne Lister Birthday Week celebrations at Shibden Hall 2nd-9th April I was painting en plein air when the weather allowed and people were able to follow my chilly and wet journey @JaneAustinWatercolour
I moved myself around taking in Walker's Pit, the Gatehouse, the Cascades leading to Cunnery Woods and inside the barn, though I would say that the barn was the coldest spot despite being dry! It was lovely to chat to lots of the visitors and I hope that next year the weather will be much kinder.
I am looking forward to finishing the paintings in my studio and maybe a couple will be added to the collection.
You can view my full Shibden Collection on my gallery page.
September saw my sixth solo exhibition at All Souls Church, Halifax as part of our heritage festival.
'Art & Soul' explored the growth of our town through the Industrial Revolution, the influence of the wealthy mill owners, growth of banking and local astounding inventions to modern times of media. It particularly celebrated the legacy of Edward Akroyd, All Souls Church and Akroydon model village as an extension of current exhibition of works at Bankfield Museum.
Over the last couple of years the work with heritage became an integral part of my practice, exploring my roots and feeling grounded. Four generations of my family lived up the hill overlooking Halifax and the spire of All Souls Church. We all attended the local school and Edward Akroyd's legacy was part of our every day growing up.
Next year I will return to some of my previous loves of painting having created an extensive catalogue of local images in print.
EVENTS IN 2021
The Shibden Collection continues to grow with various prints, cards and postcards available at Shibden Hall and Bankfield Museum.
A selection of Halifax heritage prints can also be found at Bankfield Museum, the Design Shop at Dean Clough and The Yorkshire Gallery in The Piece Hall.
The Yorkshire Gallery also have originals for sale.
'Now You See Me' exhibited in the Top 50.
This year the exhibition could not take place at The Mall Galleries but you could walk through the exhibition virtually.
It has now been sold .
Earlier in the year I worked closely with TwoFour Productions advising them on the rewards and limitations of painting en plein air for the new Channel 5 'Watercolour Challenge' tv series in pre production. Series aired in February 2022.
FEAST FOR THE EYES
This was my fifth solo exhibition at All Souls Church, HX3 6DR, owned by the Churches Conservation Trust.
September 11th,12th,18th and 19th we welcomed 600 visitors.
The exhibition included many of my local heritage prints alongside all new paintings which fully reflected my range of work. Always looking for the bright spots found in colour and pattern, nature and architecture there was something for all tastes.
This was also part of the heritage trail of which All Souls, Colonel Akroyd, his model village and Bankfield Museum play a large part.
All our previous events and virtual tours can be found on our community page @allsoulshaleyhillcommunity
Other venues and events for the Halifax Trail can be found at www.discoverhalifax.co.uk.
In October it was wonderful to return to teaching, seeing familiar faces and running courses at Calder Graphics in Huddersfield and the four art groups in East Morton. Wonderful to return.
EVENTS in 2020
12th - 20th September 2020 Virtual exhibition.
Filmed at All Souls Church Haley Hill,
as part of the Halifax Heritage Trail and National Heritage Open Days.
As the fourth solo exhibition in this stunning venue and the national theme of 'Hidden Nature' I was able to indulge my quiet passion for wildlife. We have many trail cameras which have allowed me to develop paintings from our resident owls to the deer passing through.
This is also part of the heritage trail of which All Souls, Colonel Akroyd, his model village and Bankfield Museum play a large part. All our previous events and virtual tours can be found on our community page.
Other venues and events for the Halifax Trail can be found at www.discoverhalifax.co.uk
I hope that you enjoy your tour via YouTube.
When Shibden Hall opened to the public the 'Shibden Collection' was available to buy as a range of prints, cards and postcards, also available through their new online shop.
The images celebrate the hall as well as being a backdrop for the
BBC and HBO tv series 'Gentleman Jack'.
Following my third solo exhibition in 2019 several of my paintings are now available in print as well as original artwork at The Yorkshire Gallery in The Piece Hall.
I remain as the artist in residence for 2020 at All Souls, where I will be completing the community project 'People of All Souls' to be on show alongside my fourth solo exhibition during the heritage weekends in September. Our next filming date for the video stories is on 25th April.
' Hide & Seek ' a solo exhibition as part of the National Heritage Open Days and our own Halifax Heritage Trail will take place at All Souls Church, Haley Hill
September 12th/13th/19th and 20th, 11-3PM.
More information to follow.
EVENTS in 2019
It is a year of anniversary celebrations for The Churches Conservation Trust as well as All Souls at Haley Hill. The church will have it's 160th celebration with a service on 2nd November. Volunteer events, a summer garden party, local heritage walks and talks, music video filming as well as concerts have all played their part this year to bring the building back to the community as an event venue. In my role as 'artist in residence' I have been holding drawing workshops, promoting the venue and produced prints and Christmas cards for sale to raise funds for the building. My main event is a solo art exhibtion planned for the National Heritage Open Days and our own Halifax Heritage Trail in September, paintings will reflect the local history of the area in and beyond Akroydon.
We have begun to engage with the local community, to gather stories of fond memories on video and photographs from people who were married or christened in the church many years ago.
To be collated as a community project 'People of All Souls'.
ART FOR EVERYONE
The new BBC1 series ‘Home Is Where The Art Is’, presented by Nick Knowles, brought you 45 artists from across the country working in different mediums. Over 15 episodes three artists were competing to produce a commission for a ‘mystery buyer’.
I took part in episode 12 which aired on Tuesday 23rd April BBC1 at 3.45 pm.
The series started on 8th April. and my episode can be viewed on Daily Motion, just click on the link.
Thank you, the response has been phenomenal, it even caused my website to crash!!!!
“What a brilliant idea and a great experience to take part. I joined the two other artists to be filmed looking around the home of our mystery buyer for clues as to their taste and personality, before being given a brief for the commission. We then had time to produce an idea to pitch to our client in the studio, while our process was recorded. It was so interesting to be a part of this production and I can’t wait to see the other 14 episodes and all the art that was produced.”
On Sunday 23rd June I held an OPEN STUDIO, 1-4pm at my home and garden, Punch Bowl House, HX3 6UB. The weather was kind and the rain held off. Thank you to everyone who came along, some new buyers and students for my art classes.
The work on show was inspired by the garden and the local wildlife around us.
Holmfirth Artweek 7th - 13th July I took part in the main exhibiton at the Civic Hall but I also held a joint fringe exhibition 'Time to Stand and Stare' with Holmfirth artist Rosalind Annis at Helen J Bray Studios. What a beautiful venue to show off our work, many thanks to Helen and Nigel for hosting.
Our exhibition was a huge success, I met many new people who fell over themselves to buy, raising over £700 between us for Macmillan Cancer Research.
The following Sunday 14th July I gave a watercolour workshop at The Piece Hall drawing inspiration from the building. Everyone worked a different levels, gaining knowledge of drawing, colour mixing and watercolour techniques. Again thank you to Jo and everyone, it was a lovely day painting. The working painting from the day I intend to finish for my September exhibition.
On 31st July 2019 the next hardback edition of the American watercolour series 'Splash 20' will be available to buy, my painting of the interior of All Souls is part of the publication.
Calderdale has a wealth of artists and events that can sometimes be hard to find. In 2018 many conversations between artists and art spaces formed the idea of a new space in which anyone could easily access the arts happening across Calderdale, with all of us working together to promote the area through art. VisitCalderdale.com will be supporting our events but the information is now building on The Art in Calderdale, also tagged on Instagram #theartincalderdale. We are hoping that this will become a comprehensive list of events and artists to contact with a website to follow.
I HAD THREE MAJOR PUBLIC EVENTS IN 2018
The first was in June when I took part as a wildcard in the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year at Studley Royal, recently shown in the new series as Episode 4. I was a wildcard last year at Knaresborough but in this episode I am interviewed with others as we battled the weather.
The filming day starts early with registration at 7am, your paper/canvas is stamped and wristband attached. A shuttle bus ferried us all a distance through the estate as the fine rain began. Before we were settled in our spot for the day after 9am the wind had picked up to strong blustery downpours. All the wildcards struggled with many umbrellas turning inside out and broken, including mine from the off and equipment held down with every limb. Typical spirit we all battled through, having a laugh about it. Brushes, sponges and waterpots were blown into the water along with a young man's painting which was picked up by the wind, whipped over the heads of others and landed face down, to be blown to the other side of the water. My watercolour paper turned into a wet blanket, the sun finally broke through the clouds before which I could barely keep any paint on, despite putting it under my table in the worst of the rain. My friend Sue rescued me by holding everything down while I stretched my legs.
Mottled is my new style! Tai took interest in my battery powered fan which I used to attempt to dry the paper out in order to put some darker tones on before time was called.
An experience to say the least.
I learnt from this experience with unpredictable weather. When I was asked by The Piece Hall in Halifax to help them celebrate the anniversary of their opening on Yorkshire Day by painting a giant watercolour of the Yorkshire rose live in the courtyard I was sure to be under a gazebo. It was a glorious day, packed with people and this time I needed the shade.
As I paint with many wet layers over a detailed drawing I had to do much of the preparation before the day to ensure a finished painting in front of the public. The size gave me many issues, eventually resorting to pasting over 6 full imperial sheets of watercolour paper to a thick MDF board.
Without a frame it JUST fit into my vehicle but now framed it needs to travel by transit van, measuring 127 x 235 cms, just short of 8ft tall.
Here are a few photos showing the journey to the finished painting.
In September I held my second solo exhibition at All Souls 'There & Back' as part of the National Heritage Open Days, Halifax Heritage Trail and the European Year of Cultural Heritage. This year it covered two weekends and the second candlelit preview evening when the building looks even more amazing. The volunteers were brilliant in helping making it a great success, looking forward to more events next year.
'Smell the Roses' was part of the exhibition Artist of the Year held by the Artists & Illustrators Magazine at The Mall Galleries in London in 2016. It acheived the Watercolour MaimeriBlu Award and a global three year contract with Woodmansterne Publishing Ltd which led to the sale of the original to Scotland via contact from Italy.
Also I cannot believe it is now fifteen years since I closed my gallery studio in Northowram.