Born in the early post-war years, Jane Burgess recalls being taken to sketch bomb sites in Stockport and Manchester by her father, artist Morgan Hewinson, who was a lecturer at the city’s College of Art.
She was just five years old when she declared that she too wanted to be an artist. It was an ambition that was encouraged.
“My father would bring materials home for me,” said Jane, who lives in Birkby. “One time, when I wanted to do silk screen printing he converted my mum’s tea trolley into a press! ”
Although Jane, now 65, was forced to choose Latin over art at school she obtained a place on the Foundation course at Leicester College of Art and went on to study for a degree in graphic design at Maidstone College of Art from 1968 to ’71.
“I always wanted to do fine art,” she said, “but art at the time was all conceptual and not what I wanted. It wasn’t painting and drawing.”
Since the late 1980s she has produced a large body of work in watercolours and oils, and her work is held in collections here and in France, Spain and Sweden.
Jane describes herself as a tonal and figurative painter. She enjoys studying the effects of light on landscape and says: “I like my paintings to be aesthetically pleasing, and sometimes to invite the viewer to see beauty in unexpected subjects.” Her influences range from John Piper and Graham Sutherland to the Scottish colourists and Edward Seago.
Jane came to live in Huddersfield in 1974 with her husband John. The couple, who married in India in 1973 after working as English language teachers in Libya and travelling around North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, have two children, Sam and Lucy, and twin grandchildren.
After raising her family Jane taught art at adult education classes and held her first exhibition at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. She has since been elected a member of Leeds Fine Artists and the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, has had eight solo exhibitions in various Yorkshire venues and has shown works in galleries and exhibitions from London to Ripon.
She still leads a group of ‘plein air’ painters, formed during her years as an adult education tutor, who capture the scenery of the Holme and Colne valleys. Although Jane is primarily a painter of British scenery she also enjoys painting Mediterranean landscapes, usually in watercolours, capturing the different quality of light in Spain and Greece.
Her work can currently be seen in the Leeds Fine Artists exhibition at the Dean Clough Gallery Halifax; also in Zillah Bell Gallery, Thirsk, and in the Xmas Exhibition at ‘Art in the Mill’ in Knaresborough, which opens on November 10.