Interview and new art from Scottish landscape and portrait painter Jennifer Bisset

If you like looking at stunning landscapes then you need to look at Jennifer’s stunning paintings of stunning landscapes. If you like Scotland then even better as that’s where she paints most often, based on the shores of Loch Lomond. We are fans.

Art Pistol (AP): What’s the first thing you can remember painting?
Jennifer Bisset (JB):
 I remember when I was a little girl about 6 years old in primary school, our wonderful teacher Miss Howarth had the brilliant idea of doing a mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Everyone was assigned something to paint according to their ability: sky, grass, flowers, rabbits, etc. The main characters were dished out to the best ‘artists’ and as I was sure I was the very best in the class, I was quietly looking forward to getting the title role ie Snow White when Miss Howarth announced that as I was by far and away the most capable I could do the most difficult… Prince Charming on his horse! Ech! I was raging! Still never got over it. As you can tell. I can still picture my masterpiece and the awful mess that the runner up made of Snow White who was as big as my horse!!!

AP: When did you first realise you were an artist?
JB:  I have been an artist all my life though I have had little formal training. My father was a draughtsman and always encouraged me to draw and paint. He gave me my first set of oils when I was 9 so the smell of linseed and turps has pervaded my life.

At school in Canada I was streamed away from art towards the academic but I continued to paint at home. When I came to Scotland to finish my education, I had the chance to take up Art again and with great encouragement from my teachers did Higher Art.

At St Andrews University, murals surfaced again at the infamous Chattan Balls and I was the cartoonist for the Uni rag “Aien”.

Even in Sierra Leone where I went with my husband, I continued painting especially the locals in their wonderful local dress. Another mural nearly resulted in my husband’s imprisonment.

Back in Scotland, I took to landscape painting and displayed my work on our walls at the Inverbeg Inn. Since then I have exhibited in Helensburgh, Paisley and Glasgow.

AP: How would you describe your art to someone that has never seen it before?
JB: My landscapes are mainly in oil. I like strong bold colours and tend to use a lot of palette knife. Living on the shores of Loch Lomond, water is a predominant theme in my pictures especially reflections of the hills and sky.

More recently, I have been absorbed with watercolour which I find a fascinating challenge. But again, I want strong vivid colour not bland wishy washy tones. I do still life and animals as well as landscapes but always, I hope, with a sense of drama.

AP: Is your work on any famous person’s wall?
JB:  Oh dear, I fear not yet although I have just completed a series of landscapes for our local hotel’s new brochure so I am hoping these will be sent all over the world.

AP: If you had the opportunity to change something in the art industry what would it be?
JB: Well, I suppose I could rant against the establishment but in fact I think there are so many opportunities for artists nowadays with online galleries, festivals and co-ops etc. that it is up to the individual artist to make their own success.

AP: Do you have any other interests or talents that you’d like to share?
JB: My other great passion is opera. Not only do I love the music, the drama and all the visual pyrotechnics but I get to follow my amazing daughter Lee. This summer she is doing the Ring and der Flieginde Hollander so more music to learn and more pictures for me to paint.

AP: Describe yourself in 3 words, one has to be a colour?
JB: Black and White (It’s an Audrey Hepburn thing)

AP: Tell us your perfect scenario for painting.
JB:  I never paint ‘en plein air’ as I can’t be bothered with wind and bugs. Rather I prefer to work in the evening after dinner when there are fewer distractions. Might like a brandy and some dark chocolate…

AP: If you weren’t an artist you’d be..?
JB: Dead.

AP: Do you have any advice for artists just starting out?
JB: My daughter gave me the Artist Yearbook a while back and that has been a great source of knowledge and information. Another wonderful fount of inspiration and ideas is YouTube where there are hundreds of artists’ demonstrations.

AP: And finally, what are you working on just now?
JB: I am working on some watercolours for the Helensburgh May Show and a couple of large pieces for the RGI. Work in progress shots below:

landscape painting

landscape art

landscape artwork