Jo Walker

Crail Harbour
Crail Harbour

A bit about my painting journey

 I was first inspired to paint when we lived in the beautiful Sultanate of Oman for five years in the 70’s.  However, it was only when I returned home to Scotland eleven years ago, after living in London for 20 plus years, that I felt compelled to take up painting seriously again, an emotional response to the vivid colours and stunning coastal scenery of my new surroundings.

In the 1970’s, under the guidance of the American artist, Charmaine Hall, then later, while on leave from Oman , completing a residential course with Ron Ranson, I began painting in watercolour, preferring the atmospheric effects that his ‘wet-into-wet’ watercolour technique gave. And I still love painting in watercolour now.

I have continued to add to my understanding of paints and painting by completing many other courses over the years on oils, acrylics, acrylic inks as well as watercolours, here in the UK and abroad. The most recent course involved using bees wax with oil, run by Leith School of Art. I like to experiment with texture, colour and perspective in order to capture the essence of the subject. I am fascinated, too, with the way the play of light and often weather affects a painting’s mood and atmosphere. But I have also been interested in other media from the time when Charmaine Hall introduced me to her silk screen printing. In recent years I have completed two courses at the DCA in Lithography, and this autumn I have undertaken a six week course in monoprinting and producing linocuts. This is perhaps spreading myself too thinly but I believe it will eventually help me to find my artistic ‘voice’.

“It’s only a piece of paper” is the philosophy that keeps me experimenting and also stops me from settling for one particular style, palette or subject matter (so far). Nothing ventured, nothing gained is my motto. In the meantime I’m having too much fun seeing how far I can stretch my painting boundaries”. Part of this has been fuelled by visiting as many art galleries as I could fit in over the years. In fact I think I’ve probably been visiting galleries on my own since I was about thirteen!

Living in the beautiful East Neuk of Fife, I love to paint the ever changing sea and Fife’s historic harbours. Capturing fleeting moments of changing light is an ongoing challenge for me. However, many other subjects attract my interest, especially, at present, flowers where I often use unorthodox tools, sometimes throwing a variety of substances including bleach, coffee, Brusho and a selection of different inks at the under painting to represent that elusive, atmospheric effect.  At this stage on my artistic journey I am trying to paint more loosely, experimenting with semi abstract impressions, to capture my subject matter. What drives me to step outside my painting comfort zone was the comment made by my Edinburgh College of Art teacher about one of my efforts……”

Aye but it’s “no special”  With this comment often ringing in my head, trying to make it ‘special’ is what I’m all about.

My work has been successfully shown in several galleries including the Fisher Gallery in Pittenweem and in art exhibitions including a successful time these past two years (2013 / 2014) at the Pittenweem Arts Festival where I rented venue 63 /22 with fellow artist Frances Donald, attracting a fair share of its  25,000 art loving visitors.

My paintings are now in several countries across Europe, including Denmark, Germany, France, Austria and most recently Spain as well as in various parts of the UK. Several of my paintings are now in Boston and New York. While in the Middle East, two of my paintings are owned by His Majesty The Sultan of Oman.

Venice in Autumn
Venice in Autumn
Blue Jug
Blue Jug
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