Hello, my name is Jan Purves. Thank you Charlie for inviting me to be a guest artist in this inspirational group. I live in West Yorkshire, U.K. When I am not having fun with my six grandsons, or at work teaching reading with primary children who need a little extra help, I am an enthusiastic amateur artist.
My inspiration is the wonderful natural world around me, especially flowers and birds. I also paint still life, seascapes and landscapes. I love to paint from life and when this isn’t possible, my own photos. I might sit in my garden to paint flowers or bring them indoors.
I photograph birds in the garden or out bird watching on holiday and sometimes friends allow me to use their beautiful photos ( like Charlie, thank you! ). For still life, which I love, I use my own objects and interiors at home and I have used photographs of friends and family’s interiors which have inspired me (with their permission of course!)
I also paint landscapes and seascapes, a particular favourite, I tend to take my own photos especially when we’re on holiday. Living on the edge of the Yorkshire dales and near to the North Yorkshire Moors I have a special advantage as I am surrounded by inspiring views.
Visiting art shows including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London and other shows is always an inspiration for me. It gets the creative juices going doesn’t it? Of course, seeing all the World Watercolor Group art is an amazing source of learning too.
I’ve learnt over time to use the minimum of drawing in my paintings to try to be as loose as possible, and where possible to draw with paint. Being loose when painting is not something I find easy, any top tips would be gratefully accepted.
I fell in love with watercolours a long time ago. An elderly lady family friend started my watercolour journey when I was in my teens. She produced wonderfully simple watercolours of single flowers which I loved. I thought, “I wish I could do that,” but having been thrown out of art at school ( even though I loved the process) I didn’t have much confidence.
Many years later, when my youngest daughter left home to do fine art photography and my eldest daughter was carving a successful career as a fashion designer and my two step daughters also working in the arts, I said to my artist husband, “I’m the only one in this family who isn’t making art, I want to have a go.” So he lent me his watercolour paints and I sat in the bedroom at his mothers house one weekend and drew and painted the single honeysuckle flower that she had placed in our bedroom to welcome us. My lovely husband was so supportive he even framed it and I have it to this day.
From that day I went on to enroll at watercolour night school and later joined several art clubs where I have met wonderful artists and made lifelong friends. We have artist tutors, including my husband, to do workshops and demonstrations. I’ve amazed myself by developing from being terrified of drawing before painting to not drawing at all or only with paint!
Now, I have exhibited at several local art shows and been selected for Hull Open art show. I have sold paintings, giclee prints and my handmade cards all over the world and opened an Etsy shop called Cards by Mormorjan. Why Mormorjan? Two of my grandsons are half Finnish (Swedish speaking) and they call me Mormor (mother’s mother in Swedish) so now all of the grandsons know me as Mormor. I have done some commissions too. I’ve even branched out and tried acrylics and pastels.