Esther talks art!

I was lucky enough to interview the incredibly talented artist, Esther Jeanes who lives in South Somerset and works from a studio in Dorset. Esther paints local beauty spots, both well known and undiscovered.

A gate with
Gate on Pendomer

Where did you grow up and what are your favourite memories of it?

I grew up in Crewkerne and Rampisham, I still love Crewkerne, we lived in a flat in an old school. It was a quirky, lovely building and our steps lead strait out onto the woods that go up onto Beach Hill, where we always walked the dog. Rampisham is very rural and we spent a lot of time walking, my mum would always point out flowers and birds, information that I never retained.
What do you like about living in South Somerset? 
After moving away for years, it is such a pleasure to be back in the rolling countryside. I know my way around but still discover wonderful places. We are rural but there is a great community feel. We are a short drive the beaches in Dorset, the cities of Bath and Bristol, easy roads and rail to London. Perfect.
When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
I left university hoping to go into theatre design but a short stint of work experience in London and some jobs in the midlands made me realise I couldn’t afford to chase the work and afford to live. I worked in fundraising for 15 years, it had some real highs, fabulous experiences that I am very grateful for, but I have always wanted to create. I didn’t know that I wanted to ‘paint’ until about 5 years ago, but I knew I wanted to be more creative.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
To create as much as possible, enter every open you can afford to, build up your portfolio and your CV, network and learn how to promote yourself (and then tell me how).
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
Having my work in exhibitions with the Royal Society of British Artists, The Royal Academy of Scotland, the Sunday Times Water Colour Competition and the Bath Society of Artists.

Old stone steps covered in ivy with light flooding in
She’s not there…
Which other artists do you admire and influence your work? I love the picture ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ by John Singer Sargent and the style and use of light reminds me of your work in particular ‘ She’s not there’ and ‘Jump.’
Crikey, I admire so many, at he moment I am loving Erin Hanson, Chris Long and William Hawkins, they are all American. I do like figurative work and wish I had the eye, the confidence with colour and could free myself up to make marks count for so much.

A girl jumping over rock pools
What was the most memorable exhibition you’ve been to?
I went to an exhibition in Switzerland where the artist’s barn had burnt down with animals in it, it had traumatised him and he had made the most ominous, dark and threatening instillation. I have used the experience of the exhibition in several of my projects since then.
Tell us about one of your works and the story behind it.
Chiselborough from Ham Hill was the first painting I did after deciding to give painting a year (three years ago). It was the first piece of work I did on khadi paper, which I now use all the time. I remember the feeling of the painting coming together and being really happy with it.

A ramshackle count
Chiselborough from Ham Hill
What’s your artistic process for choosing what to paint? Do you make preliminary sketches? 
I take lots of photos. They help me experiment with composition, But more often that not I paint images I catch unexpectedly.
Please let us know how we can see more of your work and how to get in touch!
I have a website:, my Twitter account is @EstherJeanes, my Instagram account is esther.jeanes

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