Jane Cornwell creates soothing and emotional art that speaks to the soul
I was accepted for Glasgow School of Art age 16 and I loved it…
I have a notebook from school, age 5, with a little drawing of me standing at an easel. I’ve always had a compulsive need to draw, paint and make stuff. Since then I’ve continued to draw and paint. At the moment I mainly illustrate books for adults, however my dream is to write and illustrate my own books for children. As a child I used to copy illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Helen Oxenbury and NC Wyeth, and I would love it if my illustrations inspired children to draw. As an adult reading gives me the chance to ‘live’ other people’s experiences, I love travel diaries and fiction set in exotic places I can only dream of visiting.
Reading helps to connect children to the world, to their own feelings, to have empathy, bravery and hope
My advice to a younger artist would be: Try to find a steady job doing something you enjoy until you feel confident that a creative career will work for you. After art school I became an art teacher as I enjoyed working with teenagers, I did this for 19 years. I went part time, then began to sell paintings through different galleries, and tried to get accepted for art exhibitions.
I say yes to every opportunity I am given
Recently, I was really proud to have a painting accepted for the RSW exhibition at the National Gallery of Scotland. I also enjoy illustrating books and I am ‘the hoose illustrator’ for The Wee Book Company, a small Scottish publisher based in Edinburgh.
This is my favourite painting. I enjoy drawing and painting my children, they are my favourite subjects
This is a recent painting (on the left) of my sister with her new baby, born during lockdown. My sister was exhausted and covered in wires and cannulas which I did not include in this portrait. I tried to make quite a scary time in intensive care seem quite peaceful and relaxed in my painting. I like how an artist can do this in a painting, help to choose what to remember or how someone would like to be portrayed, rather than capture the reality of a situation the way a photograph does. I think this is why I enjoy illustrating books too, it is an escape from reality. It took me a really long time to do this painting of my sister and niece and I’m really happy with it.
I also really enjoy landscape painting, one of my favourites is this watercolour of the woods near where I live
This of Redmoss Grasslands, looking towards the Campsie Fells near Glasgow
and also of that strange rock formation on Skye that’s been in lots of films!
And of course my kids sleeping. They were very excited to be included in this story…
I like calming peaceful music
I usually just listen to whatever is on the radio. One of my children has Auditory Processing Disorder and prefers classical music, so that’s usually what is on when I’m drawing or painting.
I enjoy walking in the countryside with my family and my dog, Brandy
I spend a lot of time outdoors and enjoy taking photos of Scotland. My husband, Danny, is very supportive, and I enjoy discussing my ideas with him.
I’ve learned to stop worrying about other people’s criticism
I used to be a perfectionist, but I’ve learned that I can’t please everyone, some people will never be happy whatever I do. I’ve learned to stop trying to please those people. I would say that doing the best you can with the time you have available has to be good enough, nothing will ever be perfect, there is always something to improve. I’ve learned to accept that.