Artist Jane Watson talks to us about the upcoming Wivenhoe Art Trail taking place later this month

Tell me a little bit about your artistic background?

I’m from a little village called Debden near Saffron Walden. I lived in and around Saffron Walden until I moved to Wivenhoe with my husband Neil in 2009. I always loved art at school but didn’t really get into it seriously until around 2003. I painted some pictures for our home and had lots of compliments on my work and was also lucky enough to receive a few commissions. Since then, I have been attending workshops and experimenting with painting and collage, and basically learning as I go along.

What medium do you work in and why were you drawn to this particular field of art?

Although I love to paint, I think my favourite form of art is collage. I enjoy the process of painting and printing on tissue paper to use in my collages. I use various techniques for printing on tissue paper, including making my own linocut stamps. I try not to use anything in my collage work that I haven’t created myself.

Great British Life: Artist Jane Watson is based in Wivenhoe. Credit: Jane WatsonArtist Jane Watson is based in Wivenhoe. Credit: Jane Watson

What is your creative process like?

I find the preparation of the tissue paper for collage very freeing, as during that particular process I am not trying to create the final finished piece yet, just something that could become part of it. There are lots of happy accidents along the way! Once I have a stock of paper, I can then piece together my collage.

How has your art changed since you first started creating it?

Looking back at my first paintings, I can see that I have become a lot more confident in my work. My paintings have many more layers and texture now.

What inspires your work and is there a particular theme that runs through it?

I love the area where I live, along the River Colne. The sailing boats, the colours and the flora and fauna along the river are a great inspiration to me. I am also inspired by artists such as Alfred Wallace, Mary Fedden and, more recently, Matisse. I think there is a naïve theme that runs through my paintings and collages, as well as colour – I love colour!

Great British Life: 'Mersea Shed' is a painting on a wooden panel. Credit: Jane Watson'Mersea Shed' is a painting on a wooden panel. Credit: Jane Watson

What is your favourite piece of art that you’ve created?

I think one of my favourite paintings is one I have done quite recently. Originally, I made a small abstract patchwork collage featuring sailing boats, and I have now recreated it on a much larger canvas as a painting. Another favourite is entitled ‘Mersea Shed’. It’s a painting on a wooden panel, and I like it because of the textures created with a palette knife. I could also say that my real favourite is the one that I haven’t done yet as I'm always striving to do better and better. When I achieve the ultimate, that’s when it’ll be time to stop - and I know that time will never come!

Do people commission artwork from you?

I have done many commissions, including pet portraits created in my naïve style. If anyone would like to commission me to paint their pet, or indeed any other image, the best way to contact me is through my website.

Great British Life: Jane loves incorporating bright colours into her work, such as this beautiful floral collage. Credit: Jane WatsonJane loves incorporating bright colours into her work, such as this beautiful floral collage. Credit: Jane Watson

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my spare time I like to go on long walks. I also love to swim in the sea, and I do so all year around. In the winter evenings I can be found at home surrounded by strips of fabric which I use for making rag rugs. I find the process of rag rugging very relaxing.

How did your involvement with the Wivenhoe Art Trail come about and can you tell us a little about what we can expect from the Art Trail this year?

There has been a thriving art community in Wivenhoe for many years, with artists displaying their work at open studio events. Some friends and I decided that it would be a good idea to promote the Wivenhoe open studios with a map for people to follow, and it became known as ‘The Wivenhoe Art Trail’. The next Art Trail will take place on the 17,18 and 19 November and we have more than 30 artists taking part. There will be plenty for visitors to see, including paintings and collage art, ceramics, photography, assemblage art, woven textiles, sculptures, book binding, jewellery and more. For more information on the artists taking part and a downloadable map, visit the Art Trail website at The map will also be available from participating venues, such as the Wivenhoe Bookshop in the High Street.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the Wivenhoe Art Trail

Great British Life: 'Home' appeared on Channel 4's Grayson's Art Club. Credit: Jane Watson'Home' appeared on Channel 4's Grayson's Art Club. Credit: Jane Watson

What’s been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

I think there are two or three; having one of my collages featured on Channel 4’s Grayson's Art Club is certainly up there. The collage is entitled ‘Home’, and although it only flashed up on screen for a few seconds, it was nonetheless very exciting. Another highlight was selling one of my works through the Saatchi Online Gallery. And now I'm very proud to have my work represented by the prestigious Church Street Gallery in Saffron Walden, my home town, where my fledgling art career began.

Do you have any other upcoming shows or events?

I have recently started giving collage workshops at No.4 on West Mersea and The Loft, Tea by the Sea in Tollesbury and I am really excited about developing these further and maybe doing some online workshops.

I also have a range of prints, greetings cards, tea towels, placemats and coasters with images of my work available from my website,