Jenny Chapman, Artist

Greetings from the wild west coast of the Scottish Highlands. I have been living and working on the remote Ardnamurchan peninsula – a rugged but beautiful coastal area of western Scotland – since we moved here from the Scottish Borders in 1999.

I’m a professional artist and writer. I studied illustration, animation and drawing at Edinburgh College of Art (B.A. Hons. and M.Des.), following a general Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Camberwell College of Arts, London, and a degree and postgrad research in Art History and Philosophy 🙂

I’m also the author and illustrator of the Adventures of Algy children’s chapter books, and author/co-author of several college textbooks and technical books on multimedia etc., and have taught art and animation at widely varying levels of age and ability, including to children of all ages, college students, and mature adult enthusiasts.

I paint and draw the landscape and wildlife around me, creating work mainly for reproduction, which I sell as giclée prints, posters, greetings cards, postcards, etc., and on a range of gifts printed with my original images – all available to buy at my Folksy shop. Some of my paintings are created as illustrations for my series of children’s books, the Tales from the Adventures of Algy.

I usually create work on a fairly small scale (up to A3+), and scan it at high resolution in my own studio for reproduction, but in some cases it is then blown up to large poster size. Most of my art work is created with the highest quality professional watercolour media, using pure paint for the landscapes and combining watercolour paints and paint sticks with watercolour and non-soluble pencils for the wildlife art. I also like to sketch in water-soluble Indian Ink.

With the exception of greetings cards and postcards, I now make all reproductions of my paintings myself, in my own studio, using a professional quality inkjet printer with lightfast pigment inks on archival quality papers, or special canvas for canvas prints. I then mount and frame the paper prints, and stretch the canvas prints which are then coated with Winsor and Newton’s professional UV varnish to protect them.

My love for the practice of painting started at a very early age, when I was introduced to finger painting at kindergarten at the tender age of 3 or 4. I swirled the paint around on the paper with my hands, and that was the start of it all… The resulting artwork served as the backdrop for the family fish tank for many, many years 😀

I never looked back… and instead of “getting on in the world” I have spent most of my adult life in studying, teaching and practising art in one form or another.

Art was always my favourite subject at school and (together with English) the one in which I got the best marks – and my favourite hobby at home too. I made my first attempt at oil painting (a medium I have still not mastered) at the age of 10 or 11 with a portrait of my teddy bear, and won a Blue Peter badge at around the same age with a painting of the family’s pet donkeys. I even had a painting shown in the gallery of the legendary TV show “Vision On” – a high point in my early career. These are undoubtedly the achievements I’m most proud of 😀

However, it was when I was given my first box of Winsor and Newton Artists’ Watercolour paints in my early teens that I discovered the medium I still like the best, although at the time I had no idea how the paints should or could be used, and created densely painted, highly saturated illustrations in dazzling colours…

Despite all this, however, it never occurred to me back then – and was never suggested by my teachers, unfortunately – that art could be a career, for me or for anyone else. Even in my last years at high school I was not made aware that such things as art colleges existed, and had no idea that it was possible to train at one.

So, after a few hiccups between school and university, I graduated in my mid twenties from a purely academic degree course in art history and philosophy at the University of Leeds, following it up with further postgraduate research in art history at St. Andrews. I did get the opportunity to learn a great deal about the work of many great painters, and to see many wonderful paintings first hand, but it wasn’t what I really wanted to do, so I abandoned my studies for a Ph.D.

I then worked for a few years in an administrative post at a university, before returning to full-time education in my mid thirties to train for over 5 years at art schools, so that I could become a professional artist and do what I had always wanted to do from the first…