Jenny Chisholm


My work represents an ongoing endeavour to explore and understand the energy of colour and contrast, the nature of the spontaneous mark and the process by which a painting is translated from mind to canvas.

About Me

I maintain a fascination with the portrait as a vehicle through which light and shade, colour and contrast, space, spontaneity and repetition can be investigated and displayed.

My compositions reflect my interest in the process of cognition and how it translates to the canvas; the transformation from subject, to charcoal, to paint. Being greatly influenced by the work of Frank Auerbauch, I attempt to achieve a truer understanding of spontaneity through reworking and repetition, by drawing the same image many times over in charcoal. The speed at which I create these charcoal images is crucial to my work, as it is the momentum which is created that enables incidental marks and loose traces of line to meld together and provide ideas for the final composition. As the process continues, the brain’s ability to store and reiterate information becomes integral to my concept of ‘spontaneity’.

Together with the use of repetition to generate originality, I take advantage of the manoeuvrability and sculptural nature of paint, using heavily hung impasto oils to celebrate and flaunt the possibilities of paint in its own right. I am drawn to contrasting and conflicting colours, and take inspiration for both subject matter and colour from a wide variety of sources: swatches from landscape photographs, pictures from newspapers and magazines, and often material from within my family circle. The paintings that result from such techniques represent the evolving nature of my work and challenge the boundaries of conventional portraiture.

Alongside and complementing my fine art is my work in schools and local communities, something with which I have been involved for several years; since completing my PGCE in Art and Design in 2010 I have become yet more aware of the importance of promoting contemporary art to the wider community. I believe that art should be available for all to experience, irrespective of background, and that connectives such as the workshops and interaction with schools that I offer provide the opportunity for greater understanding and participation amongst groups who may otherwise miss out.

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