Featured artist: Jane Hunt
Her work evokes a feeling of peace. With an impressionistic style and an illustrative base, the textural imagery in Jane Hunt’s sweeping landscapes skillfully merge a sense of immense wonderment with a tranquil feeling of warm familiarity. Her work is calming and ethereal, conjuring emotions of a familiar, yet undefined, location.
West of Town, oil on Ampersand Gessobord
Jane Hunt knew she would be an artist from a very young age. For as long as she can remember, art was the center of her life. As a teenager, Jane relocated from her native England to the US, later attending the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she earned her B.F.A. in illustration. She traveled the world to further her education by studying various painting techniques in art communities in France, Indonesia, China, and England. Jane’s career started as a commercial artist and illustrator. Fifteen years ago, she switched to fine art and focused on her true passion - landscape oil painting. She eventually settled in Colorado, where she continues to be inspired by the awesome natural beauty of the surroundings. She paints primarily in oils, often creating smaller pieces en plein air.
What was your journey to finding your current style and subject matter?
Because I was trained as an illustrator I really wanted to loosen up when I transitioned to fine art. To achieve that goal, I started working on a very large scale and with a palette knife. My work now is somewhere between those large textural pieces and the illustrations I used to do.
Halcyon Days, oil on Ampersand Gessobord
How has your practice changed over time?
Incorporating a plein air practice into my work has hugely improved my landscapes. There is something magical about being a part of the scene you are painting and it creates a strong connection to the place. Plein air also forces you to work fast and make quick decisions about what to include. Painting outside has helped me see color and temperature more accurately, as well as loosening up and working fast.
What does your artwork "say" about your personality?
I struggle with anxiety and yet ironically my pieces are all about tranquility. The process of creating is very healing and hopefully, the work brings peace to its viewers as well.
How do emotions play into your artwork?
My work is very emotional - it’s much more about my emotional response to a scene than a literal interpretation. Others find it calming, ethereal, and that it reminds them of a place they can’t quite recall.
What memorable responses have you had with regard to your work?
I’ve received feedback from people all over the world that they’ve found comfort in my work. Some of them were struggling more than others. I once heard from a man who was suicidal when he saw one of my posts online. Apparently, it gave him a glimpse into something bigger than himself and he decided to go get help.
October Gold, oil on Ampersand Gessobord
How did you find Ampersand, or start using our panels?
I knew that I preferred a rigid surface that could hold up to my vigorous knife work. I tried all the surfaces I could get my hands on. I’d probably gone through about a dozen when I found Gessobord. It’s the perfect surface for the way I work.
How do you color/tint your work, and how do you finish it?
I use Winsor and Newton water-soluble oils and use Kamar spray varnish.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Not really art advice but it still applies: "feel the fear and do it anyway." Creating and putting yourself out there brings up a lot of insecurities and doubts. I’ve had to learn to accept that and just keep painting.
Who is your favorite painter?
I don’t know that I could narrow it down to one piece but J.M.W. Turner is my favorite painter. Even though he pre-dated impressionism, he was a true painter of light. There is depth to his work that goes much deeper than the subject matter. He used light as an expression of spirituality and I really feel that when I look at his paintings.
What do you like/dislike about the art world?
I really like how it connects people on a very deep level. Dislike - It’s a bit of a roller coaster and you have to develop a thick skin to deal with all of the rejection.
Crystal Cove Morning, oil on Ampersand Gessobord
What is your proudest moment as an artist?
Probably the proudest, and most surreal, was having one of my paintings hang between a Bierstadt and Tavernier (two of my painting heroes) at the Irvine Art Museum.
What is your dream project?
My dream project will actually be a reality in 2021! I grew up in Europe and spent a lot of time around Monet’s work and in Giverny since I was little (my parents were big fans). I’ve been back to paint, but I will finally be taking a group of students to paint in Monet’s garden. Monet heavily influenced me to become a painter and I can’t wait to share this magical place with artists who may never have been there!
Do you teach and/or hold workshops?
Yes! I teach in France (Workshops in France), and in the US both in Colorado and at the Scottsdale Artists’ School.
Hunt's paintings have been featured in Fine Art Connoisseur, Southwest Art, Art of the West, Mountain Living, Luxe, and Plein Air Magazine. Her award-winning paintings have been exhibited at notable galleries and museums internationally. Now based in Colorado, she frequently paints plein air and continues to be awed by the beauty surrounding her. Hunt's work is represented by galleries in the US, as well as her native England. To see more of Jane's work, visit her website, blog, Facebook, and Instagram.