Artist: Jennifer Thorpe
Contact The Artist
About The Artist
"I only found my love for painting five years ago, I’ve always been creative in one way or another but never in my wildest dreams thought I was capable of producing a painting that others would appreciate, let alone win an award in a pastel exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London in my first year.
Free from the rigours of any formal training I’ve spent many hours perfecting my skills with soft pastels and love painting on large pieces of paper, the bigger the better. You get a real sense of being immersed in the moment if a painting is big and commands your attention. I love painting water; its multifaceted properties keep me curious and addicted to exploring my ability to capture it.
My inspiration is fuelled by nature and its cycles, from day to day, month to month, it never fails to disappoint. I am very lucky to live by the beach in Hill Head on the South Coast of England. I walk every day come rain or shine and each time I’m filled with excitement and anticipation; camera in hand, I take hundreds of photos every week. I already have a lifetime of material, but I just can’t stop collecting moments.
I’m always looking up or looking intently at the colours emerging through the crest of a wave, or at a sunset reflecting in wet sand. There’s always something wonderful to see and this, I think, is why I love to replicate what I see realistically. I feel like I’m cheating nature if I don’t get the exact exquisite colours. I harness my ability to see the subtle changes in colour and pick them out in my paintings. This is not to say I don’t go mad with colour and produce some crazy abstracts from deep within occasionally."
As a child, Jennifer spent a lot of time with her family at the beach, not in the water with the others, but hunting for treasures in the rocks and sand. Her fascination with nature then was in the detail of a shell or the pattern on a feather. Now, her passion for the natural world runs much deeper and she wants to share what she sees with everyone. Art touches and reaches people more than we realise and Jennifer hopes that she can give pleasure whilst stirring a deep passion in people to cherish, be grateful and thankful for the amazing planet on which we live.
Living by the beach on the south coast of England, Jennifer has a fascination and an insatiable desire to paint water in all its forms (clouds, water and ice). Light provides the ever-changing ingredient to enhance and display water in all its glory, so whether it's the sea providing the biggest mirror to reflect and flaunt the magnificent colours in a sunset, or light illuminating the neon blue in icebergs, or the sun shining through the crest of a wave, Jennifer loves to capture all these beautiful images with her unique way with soft pastels.
"When I prepare for one of my pastel paintings, I take a long time blending colours together on test paper to get the right tones and won’t begin the painting until I’ve at least got the colours for half the painting ready. I then take a mid-tone pastel on my white paper and begin drawing and mapping out the painting, filling in the respective darker and lighter areas carefully so I don’t lose the light of the white paper in the areas where I want maximum light. This very first thin layer is rubbed in well and creates the base layer to build on. I then go in with a second layer of pastel and build up the depth and colour, finishing with the final layer which picks out the detail and highlights. There’s not much room for error, once the tooth is full, its full and you can’t apply any more colour.
For the very detailed parts of my work I break the pastels into tiny shards and use the edges for the fiddly bits. Pastel pencils at this stage just slide over the top and don’t make an impression. To seal the finished painting I use a supermarket own brand hairspray. Because it’s a cheap version, it doesn’t have any additives and is basically a spray glue. In my experience some expensive fixatives tend to darken the painting.
I think I’m drawn to soft pastels because it’s an immediate medium, there is no mixing on a palette, no brushes to find, you just pick them up and off you go. I get stuck in with my hands, I use my palms for the larger areas that need blending and my fingers to rub, dab and manipulate the pastels on the paper. You have to be careful with soft pastels not to mix the light and dark colours if you want vibrancy, it’s a delicate process which takes patience, some days I have loads and other days I get distracted easily. I tend to have a podcast or an audio book playing in the background."
Art Groups / Exhibitions
Royal Society of British Artists, The Pastel Society and Bursledon Art Society.
Jennifer exhibits her work in a number of locations.
Harbour Lights, Solo Exhibition 31st January - 26th February 2020
Hampshire Open Studios 17th - 26th August 2019
The Accessible Art Show - Day of Art - Southampton 23rd March 2019 - The Spark (Solent University Conference Centre) Live Auction and Art Exhibition.
Hampshire Open Studios August 2018
The Royal Society of British Artists Exhibition, Mall Galleries 2018 presented by Philip Mould
Oxmarket Gallery Chichester 2018
The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2018 Mall Galleries London presented by Rupert Maas
Oxmarket Gallery - Open Art Exhibition, October 2017
New Forest Centre- Open Art Exhibition, October 2017
Hampshire Open Studios - August 2017
The Pastel Society 118th Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries, London, Award winner, presented by Michael Portillo (Unison Colour Award) London - March 2017