Wombwell Rainbow Interviews Artworker: Jane Cornwell

I am honoured and privileged that the following artworkers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the artworkers three options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger, or an interview about their latest artwork, or a combination of these.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these artworkers you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Robert Burns for The Wombwell Rainbow

Jane Cornwell

graduated with a BA(hons)Design from Glasgow School of Art, age 20. She is a member of The Paisley Art Institute and she has exhibited with the RSW at the National Gallery of Scotland, the SSA, Knock Castle Gallery, the Glasgow Group, the MacMillan Exhibition at Bonhams, The House For An Art Lover, Pittenweem Arts Festival, The Compass Gallery, The Revive Show, the East Linton Art Exhibition and Strathkelvin Annual Art Exhibition. Her paintings are in private collections in Scotland, Ireland, India and the USA. She is the ‘Hoose Illustrator’ for The Wee Book Company.

Her website is www.janecornwell.co.uk

The Interview

  1. When and why did you start making artworks?

I’ve always had a compulsive need to draw, paint and create. Since I was very young it’s always been my favourite way to relax. I went to Glasgow School of Art when I was quite young, then became an art teacher. I kept my own painting going in my spare time, and then began illustrating books.

2. Who introduced you to artworks?

My mother, Ann Armstong, is an artist. There were always art materials around at home and she encouraged me to try out a lot of different media and techniques. She also taught me the importance of drawing accurately and being able to work through the creative process, and of looking after my art materials and my work space. She introduced me to textiles and silversmithing as well. My sister Kirstin became a jeweller, we both studied at Glasgow School of Art around the same time, we loved it.

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older artworkers traditional and contemporary?

I am very aware of following in my mother’s footsteps. As a child visits to Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery introduced me to the Scottish Colourists, the Impressionists and Post Impressionists. Printmaker Willie Rodger was a huge influence on me, I love the humour in his quirky lino cuts. Willie’s father taught my grandfather, Willie taught my mum, and he taught me how to print. Excellent craftmanship is very important in my own work. I feel it is crucial to preserve and pass on those skills.

4. What is your daily artwork routine?

If I am illustrating a book or a painting for someone else I work in a very organised disciplined way as there are usually tight deadlines. If it is for my own pleasure I work in a more intuitive way, and I use or make whatever I feel like at the time.

5. What motivates you to make art?

I suppose for me it is a soothing activity. When I am painting, I completely switch off from everything, I become completely focussed on what I am doing. Often I become unaware of time passing. It is totally absorbing.

6. What is your work ethic?

I am very disciplined when I am working to complete portraits or illustrations for clients, to make sure I meet their deadlines. However I have two children who will always come first and I work around them. If I have a deadline, I can often be working into the wee hours to make sure I deliver on time. I really enjoyed taking part in The Wombwell Rainbow Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2020, it focussed me to complete a painting each day during lock down. It was so rewarding to read the poets responses to my art work and very motivating. I would recommend this experience to everyone!

7. How do the artists you studied when you were young influence your work today?

As a child I loved reading and I used to copy illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Helen Oxenbury and NC Wyeth. I love Helen Oxenbury’s use of line and soft watercolour wash, I like her very simple but expressive character drawing. I like the decorative use of pattern in Neilsen’s illustrations. Dulac’s use of colour is lovely. I would love it if my art or illustrations inspired children to draw and paint.

8. Who of today’s artworkers do you admire the most and why?

It is difficult to choose just a few, there are so many! I love David Hockney’s very careful accurate drawing style and quality of line. I prefer his earlier work, but his use of colour is consistently beautiful. My children enjoyed stories illustrated by all my favourites, and also Axel Scheffler’s distinctive illustrations. We also really like Chris Mould’s quirky and skilful illustrations too. Kate Leiper’s beautiful coloured pencil drawings are stunning.

9. Why do you make art, as opposed to doing anything else?

As a teenager and student, I had lots of different part time jobs and I learned a lot from all of them. For me, creating and encouraging others to be creative is the most rewarding experience.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become an artworker?”

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 also continued to exhibit and sell paintings. I stopped teaching recently, I was injured by two students fighting at school and I was very lucky I didn’t lose my eye. This made me decide to focus on creating my own art work.

11. Tell me about the artwork projects you have on at the moment.

I am working with musician Addie Brik to create a cover for her new album, and also with children’s author Lorraine Johnstone to illustrate a picture book for young readers. I just finished illustrating a book for adults by Susan Cohen about poet Robert Burns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.