This year’s virtual Christmas card to friends, followers and other random folk is a painting courtesy of artist Janey Sharratt. Or New Friend Janey, as I like to call her. I thought it was impossible to make new friends beyond a certain age but the internet and pilates proved me wrong. Aside from all the fabulous bloggers I’ve connected with (both online and in the real world) over the last 12 months – I also met Janey. In a local pilates class. Fellow northeners, we share a similar sense of humour and bonded over back problems, life and style. We’re like a pair of rowdy schoolgirls whenever we’re in the studio together.
Here’s Janey Sharratt in her own studio. The 63-year-old artist teaches part-time on a post-graduate course at Chelsea College of Arts and describes herself as a Secret Painter, ‘It’s a bit pathetic really, I’ve only had a few exhibitions, but painting is the most exciting thing I can ever do. I’m very optimistic about life and I like to portray that in my work.’
These are the Secret Painter’s snowy landscapes but she also does a lot of still life pictures using vases, jars and empty alcohol bottles, so I’m guessing she’ll be stocking up over the next week or so, ‘ I’m well known for liking gin. One of my paintings is called Hendricks for Breakfast – which I try not to do, obviously.’ Discussing her artistic style Janey explains, ‘To me, it’s about composition, not the story – I’m paraphrasing Whistler – I’m not interested in telling the story, I’ll leave that to you. People often ask me how I get the effect and I say,” I don’t realise it is an effect until I put my glasses on.” Adding, ‘I love painting, it’s an adventure and you never know how long it will take. It’s not a time thing, it’s knowing when you’ve got the magic.’ Spookily that’s exactly how I feel about writing.
I’m spending Christmas in New York with Mr That’s Not My Age and this morning, the view of the Hudson from Manhattan Brother’s apartment reminded me of Janey’s paintings:
Happy Christmas to old friends and new.
Very best wishes,