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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Janet Melrose & Jenny Matthews: Best friends in Art and Life

Best Friends a Natural Fit

Jenny Matthews  & Janet Melrose RSW

Blue Sky and Blue Feather by Jenny Matthews

Visiting the Temple by Janet Melrose

45 Broughton Street
0131 556 7707

May 4 – June 4, 2012

TWO Scottish artists who have been best friends since their schooldays are currently exhibiting together for the first time at the Union Gallery in Edinburgh.
Janet Melrose and Jenny Matthews first met in 1976 when they were 11-year-olds at the Royal High School in Edinburgh. “We decided back then that we were going to start our own art movement when we grew up and we’ve followed very similar paths,” laughs Jenny.

Nice wallpaper ladies... well it was the 70s and it always rained in the 70s didn't it?

The two friends went on to study drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art, where Jenny veered towards botanical illustration under the tutelage of Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, and Janet studied with renowned wildlife artist, John Busby.
Their joint exhibition began at The Union Gallery on Edinburgh’s Broughton Street on May 4 and lasts until June 4.
Janet was recently elected awarded the honour of being an elected RSW by her fellow artists of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours. She was also a finalist in the 2008 Aspect Prize. 
She describes her paintings, which are mainly inspired by the natural world around her home in rural Perthshire, as ‘accidents which have waited to happen...’

Jenny’s work is familiar to hundreds of thousands of people who buy greetings cards with her exquisite botanical illustrations. Her work is widely collected and the author Ian Rankin is one of her biggest fans.
Both painters create enchanting works inspired by the world around their homes. 
Jenny lives in the Colinton area of Edinburgh, with her husband and two daughters. In her 40s, she has become a keen triathlete and is now a member of the Edinburgh Road Club, along with her elder daughter, 15-year-old Zoe. 
“Being in my studio is a very solitary life,” she says, “so I enjoy the camaraderie of the club. You have to be as focused for triathlons as you do in preparing for an exhibition.”
Janet lives in the Perthshire town of Crieff, with her husband and two teenage daughters. A keen horsewoman, she derives much of her inspiration from her rides around her Perthshire home. 
Janet explains: “I love being outside with my horse and wandering along the river bank with him. I see far more when he is with me as we both lookout for one another.”
In the lead up to this exhibition neither artist has shown the other their work. “We’re in almost constant contact,” says Jenny, and this has been a conscious decision not to look at the work before it’s hung in the gallery.”
Gallery owner Alison Auldjo says: “Both Jenny and Janet share an interest in common ground, mainly in nature, but they deal with it in very different ways.
“While in many ways it has seemed inevitable for a long time that these two talents would exhibit together, it is only now that the time is right for them to do so.” 
One of the very special sights at the exhibition is
Janet's desk from childhood, which is filled with
meaningful objects and objets d'art pertaining
to her life and work, including a dried up
set of watercolour paints given to her by her late
dad, Bill Melrose, also an artist

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