Artist of the Month – Jayne Crow
This month I got to chat with the lovely and talented mixed-media artist, Jayne Crow.
I chose Jayne because, like me, we are both firm believers that ‘art has the power to heal’.
For me, art plays a huge part in my well-being and definitely makes me a happier person. Both Jayne and I are massive advocates for promoting the many benefits of art. Art is fantastic for relieving stress, anxiety and aiding the recovery of some illnesses.
According to Megan Carleton, Art Therapist at Harvard Affiliated Hospital, ‘the beneficial effects of creating aren’t dependent on a person’s skill or talents – it’s the process, not the product’.
In this interview, Jayne shares her own personal story of how art has played a massive part in her life and has helped her.
Emma: Jayne, thank you so much for sharing your truly inspiring and heart-warming story. Can you tell us about your story and how art has helped you?
Jayne: In 2008 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and later in 2016 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
In 2017 Doctors told me my cancer was incurable, I was devastated. That same year I began teaching myself to paint, I loved it so much.
The whole journey of learning to paint filled me with positive energy and gave me a focus away from cancer and illness.
At the end of the following year, I saw my Doctors for the results of my routine scans and to everyone’s amazement my cancer had completely gone, I have remained cancer free since.
Art and creating provided an escape from my reality and soothed my anxieties. For instance, if I couldn’t sleep at night instead of worrying about my health, I would lay awake thinking about what I wanted to paint next, how I would go about it, which colours I’d use etc and I would feel calm.
The entire creative process provides a flow of positive energy which I believe was instrumental in healing me and giving my future back.
Emma: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get into art for therapeutic reasons?
Jayne: Firstly, I’d say don’t use the word ‘Can’t’, just go ahead and ‘Do’.
Secondly, throw yourself into the creative process, because ultimately your art is a piece of you, there is no wrong or right.
Lastly enjoy, paint, or create whatever fills you with positivity.
Emma: How did your artistic journey begin? Did anyone inspire you?
Jayne: My art journey began after coffee with a friend, fellow artist Julie McDonald. Because of my ill health, I couldn’t get out much, I wasn’t working, and I felt stuck and unhappy. I was telling Julie how I felt, and she suggested I try painting. Contrary to my advice above my first reaction was, I can’t do that, I wouldn’t know how.
But Julie had sown a seed, I went home that day and started thinking why can’t I learn to paint. I bought a set of acrylic paints and brushes and threw myself into it wholeheartedly – and have not stopped since.
Emma: How would you describe yourself as an artist and your work? How would you describe your art personality?
Jayne: I tend to paint whatever makes me happy or inspires me. I mainly paint in acrylics but also use watercolours and pastels. I like to challenge myself with something new or different.
I primarily paint animals but do paint landscapes and other subject matter too.
Since lockdown, I’ve also found myself painting lots of dog portraits.
My art personality is fun and vibrant, I love bright colours.
I love painting big too, having painted murals in local schools with Julie and last year during lockdown I kept myself busy painting murals on my backyard fences.
Emma: What has been the standout moment for you as an artist so far? Is there an artwork you are most proud of?
Jayne: It is a bit like choosing between your children, I love all my paintings. However, if pushed it is my jellyfish paintings (see below) that have provided the standout moments so far.
My very first jellyfish sold at the first art club exhibition I took part in back in 2018.
Last year I sold another of my jellyfish through the Gallery where I am an exhibiting artist. This year my ‘Royal Jellyfish’ painting was longlisted in the D31 Art Prize, the first competition I’ve entered.
Emma: Who are your favourite artists and why?
Jayne: There are several classic artists I love but my art journey has shown me how many great and different artists are living amongst us.
Through Instagram, I have become connected to an eclectic array of current artists from all over the world.
I love to see everyone’s work and to feel the love and support of the artistic community.
I feel a huge connection when I find someone who paints similar to me, like yourself Emma, but I also love seeing artists work who have a completely different style or method, there is an inspiring amount of talent to be found.
Emma: What advice and tips would you give fellow artists?
Jayne: Learn by doing, the more you paint the more you learn. Create what you love and love what you create.
Emma: Where can people see your work?
Jayne: I am a resident artist at Gallery 92 in Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex.
This May, I am one of 13 artists and makers taking part in the Beyond & Above II exhibition at The Crypt Gallery in Seaford, East Sussex. I also have an Etsy shop where I sell original artwork, prints and cards the link is www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Jaynesartdesigns
And lastly, I have a Redbubble shop where my artwork can be purchased as designs for a variety of products such as coasters, cushion covers etc. The link is www.redbubble.com/people/Jaynesart
(One of Jayne's joyful creations - A Family of Giraffes)
Emma: Jayne, you are a remarkable and inspirational woman and one that I would love to meet face to face and maybe collaborate with one day.
What you have gone through and achieved in the art world is truly incredible.
I am honoured to have interviewed you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling us your own personal story. I hope it brings hope and much joy to others.