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 paint and draw the wildlife and landscape around me, creating work mainly for reproduction, which I sell as giclée prints, posters and greetings cards, and also make available through Redbubble so that you can buy bags, purses, cushions, clocks and other items for the home, printed with my original images. Some of my paintings are created as illustrations for the Tales from the Adventures of Algy, a series of illustrated chapter books for readers aged 7 and upwards.
I usually create work on a fairly small scale, so that it can be scanned 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 professional watercolour media, often combining watercolour paints and paint sticks with high quality watercolour and non-soluble pencils. I also like to sketch in water-soluble Indian Ink.
I set up the design of all reproductions myself, and I frame, mount and make the giclée prints in my own studio, using my own professional quality inkjet printer with special lightfast pigment inks and archival quality papers.
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 🙂
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 🙂
However, it was when I was given my first box of Winsor and Newton Artists’ Watercolour paints that I found the medium I still like best, although at the time I had no idea how they should or could be used, and created densely painted, highly saturated illustrations in dazzling colours…
Despite all this, however, it never occurred to me – and was never suggested – that art could be a career, for me or anyone else. Even in my last years at 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, but it wasn’t what I really wanted to do, so I dropped out of my Ph.D. course half way through.
Somewhat at a loss, I worked for several years in an administrative post, then eventually returned to full-time education in my late thirties to train for over 5 years at art schools, so that I could do what I had always wanted to do…
I studied illustration, animation and drawing at Edinburgh College of Art (B.A. Hons. and M.Des.) with a general Foundation Course in art and design at Camberwell College of Arts, London.
I 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’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.