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Behind the Brushstrokes: A Conversation with painter Jo Rance

Updated: Jun 14

Welcome, art enthusiasts and aspiring creators, to 'Behind the Brushstrokes.' This is your one-stop shop for diving deep into the minds of the incredible artists who move us, inspire us, and make the world a more beautiful place.

Whether you're a seasoned painter, a curious doodler or simply someone who appreciates the power of art, this is for you. I'll be chatting with phenomenal artists about their creative journey, their unique perspective, and the stories behind the work we love (and most importantly, what studio snacks they are eating!)

Today, for my inaugural conversation, I'm thrilled to be featuring the amazing Jo Rance. A Cambridge based painter who is gaining quite a name for her beautiful countryside landscapes with their mesmerising marks and intriguing colour palette. Pretty pastel colours happily rub shoulders with pops of fluorescent hues, if you are a fan of Fauvism (I definitely am) you will love her work.

Read on to find out more!

What sparks your initial ideas for a piece? Is it a feeling, an image, or something else entirely?

The natural world is my biggest inspiration, and I have a particular affinity to the British landscape and countryside as that’s what I’ve grown up with. I think the creative process for me starts when I’m outside walking, I see specific scenes or fleeting seasonal moments that I know I then want to paint when I’m back in the studio. I take photos and a lot of the time draw when out on location to make visual notes to bring home. It’s simple but I feel happy and calm when I’m in this process, which is why I will always paint.

Do you have any lucky tools or materials you can't work without?

I definitely have an emotional attachment to some of my paint brushes, I’ve had some of them since I was in school!

If you could have your art evoke one specific emotion in a viewer, what would it be?

For me, joy is always the aim. I think if my work can improve somebody’s day in whatever form, enlighten their mind with a new perspective on our natural world or simply make someone smile, I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

Realistically I’d probably be working in the Textile Design industry, as I originally trained in Woven Textiles! Very happy to have carved a career with my painting practice though, it fills up every metaphorical cup on my shelf. I feel so lucky.

What are your ‘must have’ snacks and drinks when in the studio?

I’m slightly addicted to Orange and Mango squash, in particular the Robinsons one - I know, VERY rock and roll. I’m also partial to a dark chocolate rice cake! I basically eat like a squirrel when I’m working; if there’s anything in miniature version, or nuts, cereal bars etc, I’ll probably have them on my snack trolley (if that doesn’t say it all...’

What’s the best piece of artistic advice you’ve ever received?

I can’t think of one particular quote per say, but I do think I’ve learnt to give space to paintings before I feel like they’re ‘finished’, as it usually tends to be that something is finished 20 minutes and 20 brushstrokes before I think it is haha! Just letting paintings breathe, allowing them time to think for themselves a little and in turn going back to work and feeling like yes! This is in fact 'done’!

You are hosting a dinner party and have invited 3 other artists (living or dead), who would be on the guest list?

Ooh what a question. My number one would be David Hockney, to ask him about his life spanning career would be such a privilege - he’s an all time inspiration for me. Vanessa Bell would be on my list, a hero female artist of mine who resided at one of the most inspiring places I’ve been to, Charleston Farmhouse. Finally, Milton Avery. I would just want to ask him about his awe inspiring trees, such a dream!

So you there you go! Orange & mango squash with rice cakes fuel Jo's stunning paintings, who would have thought?! Visit Jo's page here to see some of her available work.

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