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The Resident, Jane Blundell

By Kyrenia Blanshard

This month, our resident Jane lives in Longueville, where she moved in 2016 and doesn’t intend to leave. “Colour Jane”, as she is known in the art world, is a renowned watercolourist and has now launched several courses online to help others improve their techniques in watercolour and sketching.

Jane shares her local favourites with us, why she loves living in the area and tells us exactly what’s involved to become a master in watercolour.

You’re a Longueville resident, what do you love about the area?

I love the peninsula suburbs of Sydney. They help create the interesting shape of our city – a city where every corner you turn reveals a new vista. As a long-term Lane Cove resident – my husband and I first bought in this postcode in 1990 – I love the Lane Cove village with the pedestrian malls and great range of restaurants and cafes. Longueville has access to all that, and the lovely Kingsford Smith Oval, the Longueville and Lane Cove tennis clubs, views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the more modest Figtree Bridge, and the North Shore Rowing Club, where we spend a fair bit of time on the water. The Lane Cove River is all around us and I love its many moods.

Anything you don’t love?

I don’t love the public transport in and out of Longueville. The ferry only runs a few times on weekdays and the buses don’t run on Sundays, so everyone depends on cars. I also don’t like that people park their boat trailers all around the parks and never seem to use them.

What’s your favourite place for feed?

While there are no restaurants in Longueville apart from the Diddy, we have access to plenty of restaurants in Crows Nest and Lane Cove. A long time favourite is Malabar in Crows Nest and we enjoy trying out the Lane Cove restaurants in turn. There are plenty of cafes for breakfast after rowing.

Any local hidden gems you’d be kind enough to share with us?

I love to row up the river, under the bridge and round the bend where, surrounded by bush, it is hard to believe you are in the middle of a city. It is so quiet and beautiful, with gorgeous sandstone rocks jutting about between the mangroves. Or I love to head around Cockatoo Island if the ferries are not running. That is also a favourite place to sketch and a fascinating island to visit.

What’s your favourite room in your place?

I love my house, which I don’t intend to leave. I spend much of my time in my art studio, which overlooks the river, painting or working on my computer. I also enjoy being in the kitchen or relaxing with friends or family at home. We often entertain here and cook at home most nights.

Describe your ideal weekend… 

I love to do something on a Friday night – it makes the weekend feel longer. Dinner with friends or family is fun, whether out or at home. On a still morning, rowing a double with my daughter or husband, then returning home to a great cooked breakfast and coffee continues a great weekend. I’ll sometimes spend some time painting and we’ll do some work around the house, then perhaps catch our son performing a gig at a brewery pub. Pancakes with berries, ice cream and maple syrup is a Sunday morning tradition, followed by the Sydney Morning Herald quiz. Dinner at home on a Sunday night and the latest Netflix series is a cosy end to the weekend.

Finally, tell us more about how you became a world renowned watercolourist and have developed courses for others to follow suit online?

I’ve been painting and drawing all my life and began teaching art to adults while I was still at college. After graduating, I taught Visual Arts at schools but since 1999 I’ve run my own business teaching adults to draw and paint with watercolours. I’ve been exploring watercolours since I bought my first little set as a teenager and adore the medium. It is deceptively simple to work with water and pigment, but it is the purest way to see pigments in action and to explore their many characteristics. It is also so portable that it is possible to always have watercolours and a sketchbook with you for plein air paintings and studies. I’ve filled many such sketchbooks, and they are often the inspiration for larger paintings.

I’ve been teaching online for many years and travelling the world teaching art and giving lectures. During COVID lockdown I stopped travelling and had the time to fully develop my courses, creating detailed courses in ‘Mastering Watercolours’, ‘Travel Sketching’ and ‘Special Effects in Watercolours’. Next year I plan to add ‘Drawing in Detail’ to the repertoire. This year I am focused on painting, in preparation for another solo exhibition in December, at Gallery 11:11 in Epping.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to do what I love, and love what I do, and have built up an art business in my home, based around online courses, workshops and teaching, book sales, and of course creating original paintings for sale.

Thank you, Jane!

If you’re interested in viewing Jane’s work or even taking a course online, please visit her website: https://www.janeblundellart.com/

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