I think being an artist is often something that you are born with! As children my twin sister, Judith and myself were always drawing, painting and making anything from shell ornaments to knitting and sewing for our barbie dolls. I always wanted to attend art school and at the age of seventeen I headed off to Gray's school of Art in Aberdeen. Sadly in those days of no mobile phones or internet, I felt very lonely in what I thought then was a big city and I returned home after completing my first year but I continued to be creative working at Tankerness house museum amongst other things and exhibiting for the first time in 1977 in a mixed show at The Orkney Library. Selling artwork and various crafts became a way of making some extra income and I continued to do this all through my art course at Harrow school of art in London. Although my course had been very varied, working with print making, sculpture and photography, I concentrated on painting and drawing during my final year mainly using watercolours and inks to paint a series of work based around craftspeople at work. Once back in Orkney in 1985 I gained a commision painting six large composite paintings for the then new Highland Park visitor centre. The fee from this allowed me to open my gallery at the back of Judith's shop in Kirkwall(where the cafe is now) and I started to paint mainly watercolour landscapes of Orkney. Around the same time Orkney's tourist industry was growing and this mean't that along with a lot of local support, I had a customer base which allowed me to sell prints , cards and other items produced from my work.
In those days, I would often work on location, taking my watercolour box, pad and sketching school with me to all my favourite places. I still visit the same locations, Birsay, Harray and often the outer isles such as Westray and Hoy and my all time favourite place is Rackwick bay in Hoy. I love the shoreline and old cottages along with our seabirds and wildflowers. One of the most important things for me as an artist living in Orkney is the changing light and colours.
Today I work mainly from my studio and visiting all the locations that still inspire me. I never get tired of looking and taking inspiration from my home and discovering new ways of interpreting what I see. I still paint with watercolours, mixing them with collage and other mixed media. These last few years I have been obsessed with birds in all forms and set amongst different landscapes of sea and sky. I still love the colours and light of my home, Orkney. To view all of Jane's artwork visit