The Monthly interviews artist, Janet Keith – Part 1 – Connecting with Colours

What are your earliest memories of being interested in art?

A vivid memory as a 5 year old child, in the first year of school, stirring around in a pan of lovely blue paint until it was just the right blue for an angels outfit to go on a class frieze about the Nativity. I still derive a lot of pleasure from stirring paint around and finding just the right colour. I have also since met the Wilton Diptych in the National Gallery, London – so can look at blue angels any time!

Wilton Diptych

Did you get support at home or at school?

Pre 6th Form I had plenty of support. Thereafter, Art was was not an option at school because I was deemed to be “academic” and was encouraged to study other subjects. I went along with that…and then signed up for life drawing classes and the A level syllabus, at night, at the Rupert Stanley College in Belfast – and learned a lot about observational drawing there.

I also remember attending 6th Form seminars (sponsored by the Northern Bank) at the Ulster Museum – on art and applied art – those lectures really opened my eyes to those areas of activity in life being something that could be done and studied, with a history and an importance in the wider world.

My parents have always been very supportive and interested in my art studies/work to the extent that, during their retirement, they attended extra mural history of art lectures at QUB, travelling to see exhibitions/museums and my father did a Fine Art Degree. My husband and sister (an artist herself) are also great supporters and helpers.

Rupert Stanley College

Did you go on to Tertiary level education?

Yes, I went to St. Andrews University in Scotland and did an M.A. (Hons) in the History of Art. After that I took the post graduate law conversion course and practised as a solicitor for about 20 years. During that time I completed a B.A. (Hons) in Painting (part time), took many courses at The Prince of Wales Drawing School and with Robin Child at his Art Research Centre in Devon. The tutors I encountered as an adult were brilliant guides and encouragers and really helped me find ways to paint on my own terms.

Janet Keith – The Way Home
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