About Jane MacNeill
Jane MacNeill is an award-winning artist living and working near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. She was born in 1971 in Aberdeen, and grew up in Aviemore. She studied at Edinburgh College of Art and graduated in 1998 with a First Class BA(Hons) degree in Drawing and Painting and a postgraduate MFA (Master of Fine Art). Her work can be found in the public collections of the Wakefield Gallery, The Royal Scottish Academy and Edinburgh College of Art, and in many private collections worldwide. Awards include the Richard Ford Scholarship for travel to Madrid, awarded by the Royal Academy, and the James Cumming Award for Draughtsmanship, awarded by the Royal Scottish Academy.
"I draw my inspiration from the landscape and the birds and insects I encounter in it, paring back detail and striving towards simplified compositions, sometimes using gold or silver leaf and presenting animals and birds like icons, as a way of conveying both the sense of awe and the joy that I feel in the natural world. As a young artist I was deeply affected by the symbolic use of colour and gold leaf in religious and devotional art which I encountered on travels to Spain and Italy. This had a profound and lasting effect on my work and has, over the years, combined with my tendency towards minimalism. I compulsively simplify, soften surfaces, economise on detail and allow only one shape or subject to emerge in each painting.
The mountains of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, particularly the Cairngorms, where I grew up, have been a constant source of inspiration, and through their faces and contours I glimpse a mystery made up of the combination of rock and vapour, distance and light, which moves me and compels me to paint.
I spend time walking, drawing and taking photographs in situ, and then take my drawings and photographs back to my studio where I gradually develop the collected images and memories into paintings. Sometimes it can be the distance between myself and the experience of the landscape which permits me to explore it in paint."