An explosion of bold colour and varied textures will fill a Hammersmith gallery during a free exhibition.
Trees and woodland, cityscapes, and even everyday foods are among the subjects that have inspired Shepherds Bush artist Janet Milnes for her latest exhibition at the Hepsibah Gallery, in Brackenbury Road.
Now making her home in the borough, Janet has drawn on 34 years of living across Europe to create a wide-ranging body of artworks – all of which have her distinctive colourful and abstract style.
“My aim is to create bold images that grasp the imagination and excite, in compositions with a twist,” explains Janet, who uses pastels, acrylic paints and mixed media – which could be anything from collage, to bark, sand or twigs.
“Working in pastels and mixed media, combined with collage, enables me to be as free and adventurous as I want, using the combination of varied, sometimes unexpected, materials to create striking effects.”
Among the artworks that will be on display during the showcase at the Hepsibah Gallery from 19 to 24 May is one of Janet’s favourites, Lombardy Choices, which she says is ‘really very special to me’.
The soft pastel picture depicts Lombardy poplar trees, and Janet adds that its feeling of crossroads is about choosing between lots of different ways to go.
Meanwhile, the mixed media piece called Figure Gazing Over a Lake is created from birch bark, twigs, and acrylic paint.
Many of Janet’s pieces are influenced by her childhood in Shropshire, where she grew up in a ‘place surrounded by woods’.
“I just love trees, and I feel my happiest in woods,” she reveals.
But Janet is also partial to a cityscape – with many of her artworks packed with the energy of some of the cities she has lived in over the years, from Vienna and Munich, to Brussels and Lyon.
“They are all very different,” explains Janet, who moved to the borough last year and lives in Dunraven Road, close to her two sons and five grandchildren.
Although Janet has exhibited at the Hepsibah Gallery a number of times over the past eight years, it was a one-off lesson with an inspirational watercolourist which first sparked her artistic passion more than a decade ago.
Having previously worked as a semi-professional singer, Janet was delighted to find a new creative outlet when she attended a class with acclaimed artist Betsy Smith.
But she knew that watercolours weren’t for her, and soon found a natural affinity with creating abstract pastel pictures.
“I love the shades, they are very subtle,” points out Janet. “But I also moved onto acrylics because they are a lot bolder and you can slosh them around. It gives a very different type of effect.”
Around 20 of Janet’s pieces will be hung in the gallery during the exhibition’s six-day run, with a further selection of giclée art prints for visitors to explore.
And, while Janet – who also runs her own business as a change management consultant and executive coach – may have swapped European cities for a life in London, she is finding creative inspiration in this corner of the capital.
“I love that the borough is very green, with lots of interesting parks, and masses of trees,” she says. “It’s a very active borough, and there’s always something going on in Shepherds Bush Green, whether a fair, or people just doing different things. There is a heart and soul to everything here.”
The exhibition is open each day from 9am to 6pm from 19-23 May, with the final day (24 May) closing at 1pm.
“Janet is a particular favourite of The Hepsibah Gallery,” adds Jayne Hepsibah, the owner of the gallery. “Her work is colourful, masterly and uplifting, full of views of nature and observations of life.”
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