It’s been a while since I’ve hosted an interview + giveaway. This is a series in which I introduce you to very special people…individuals who work equally hard at their craft and at living an intentional life….individuals willing to share thoughts on creativity and discussing current work dear to his/her heart. Each individual who joins us will also generously offer some sort of giveaway. It could be a handmade item, a spot in a workshop, a collection of stones or crystals…anything that’s connected to the feature artist’s work and life. Their gift to you is of their choosing. This series will, I hope, create space to explore what creativity looks like to different people; I hope it will also create space to spread a little love through the gifts of our guests.
I met today’s guest, Jane Hinchliffe, in an online class this past summer. Jane is an artist working hard to build an intentional business, and I appreciate the work she’s doing. She approached me a few months ago, inviting me to be part of an upcoming online class of hers. It’s a yearlong class (you’ll hear more about it below) and it looks to be wonderful. I thought my interview series would be a perfect opportunity to introduce you to Jane, her painting, and her upcoming class. So let’s get to know Jane…
I love hearing what creativity means to other people. Will you share with us what creativity means to you?
A great first question and one that I love hearing the answer from other people too. For me, creativity means freedom, play, self-expression, encountering the sacred, contentment and at times, challenge. I say ‘challenge’ because whenever you’re creating something from the heart, you’ll encounter your inner critic – it doesn’t stop me though!
Can you tell us about your creative work and business?
I’m an artist and online art teacher living in the UK. I create online art classes for women who want to embrace and re-discover their creative spirit. Life is so busy for many of us and I’m passionate about helping women take some time out for themselves to fill their own well. Art helps us to slow down, be mindful, process (often subconsciously) emotions, memories, worries and dreams – it even boosts our immune system and lowers blood pressure. My classes aim to help women find their own unique way of expressing themselves using art, often when there are no words.
Do you have any rituals surrounding your creative work?
Rituals – well, before I start painting, I like to say a brief prayer and will often do some journaling in my combined bullet journal/sketchbook. I also love candles and will light one or two – my favourites are nestled in china tea cups, one of which belonged to my great, great aunt. Being English, I love tea and always have a mug of piping hot tea next to me – I just try not to put my paintbrush in it though! I sometimes play podcasts and occasionally music but for the most part, I like silence because otherwise I find I’m too distracted.
As a mother and artist, I’m curious how you weave your creative work into that of family and home. How do you honor your creative work while also being a mother?
Our teenage boys are both at a local high school and so after we’ve dropped them off and walked the dogs (often with my husband), I tend to settle down in my studio, look at my planner and see what I need to accomplish and then have some journal writing time with prayer. I get some work done for a couple of hours whether it be painting, writing a blog post, drafting a Heart Letter (my newsletter) or recording a new art tutorial; then after a break for lunch, I get back to work until it’s time to collect our boys from school.
The other part of your question is quite a tough one for me because there is always that push and pull towards being a Mum and a creative business owner. I love to create and if left to my own devices, I would happily paint and create all day, especially as time flies by! However, I have to pull myself away and put on my ‘Mummy hat’ which is a struggle (I’m not going to lie), especially if I’m in the middle of a project or creating a new class. Saying that, I also adore being a Mum and enjoy when it’s the school holidays and weekends.
Does being a mother inspire your painting?
Being a mother does inspire my painting at times. I created a body of work called HeadsUp50 and this was based on mixed media collages and my past experience of depression. Some of the collages feature children and families. My work very much speaks of the lives of women – life stages, the struggles and the blessings – all combined.
You have a new online workshop coming up. Please tell us about that! What inspired you to create this special yearlong workshop?
Yes, I’m really excited about this new year-long online class! It’s called The Art Of Contentment and every month I’m going to be creating a mixed media portrait tutorial as well as introducing a guest (and I’m so glad to have you as my first guest, Michelle, for 1 January!). Each guest will share their insights into what contentment in a busy world means to them. I believe that art can help us switch off from the pressures of a busy world and enable us to reconnect with ourselves, refocus our priorities and slow down. I think it’s going to be amazing to witness women giving themselves this monthly gift and immersing themselves in portrait painting, slowing down, finding rest, hearing from inspiring women and discovering an inner contentment.
Now some fun ones…
What’s the weather like in your corner of the world today?
The weather is yucky! It’s very windy, grey and rainy today but the oranges, russets and brown colours contrast beautifully with the smoky, charcoal sky.
Do you have a favorite food?
My favourite food varies depending upon what I feel my body needs. Sometimes fish is what I crave, whilst other times it might be a classic chilli con carne to a yummy cheese omelette with salad and some fries.
Are you currently reading a book? If so, what is it?
My current book is: Very difficult to choose just one because I love to read. I’ve just finished Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory, I’m now reading A Book Of Silence by Sara Maitland and Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller. I always have an art book on the go and currently it’s Textile Landscape – Painting With Cloth in Mixed Media by Cas Holmes.
What are some ways you like to relax?
I like to relax by reading (especially in bed), taking family walks with our dogs here in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales where we live, painting (of course), cooking, time with friends, watching birds from the window, learning something new and taking a delicious afternoon nap every now and again. Being a very visual person, I love to take photos wherever I go (it drives my family nuts) – I particularly enjoy textures from nature such as moss, rough bark or rusted old gate that’s peeling.
If you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind?
Word that comes to mind is: contentment. Seriously, I know I’m creating an online class around this word but it’s personally on my mind too. How to find contentment throughout the ups and downs and all in a busy, fractured but utterly beautiful world. For me, the simple, humble (and free) things are always the best.
And now for the giveaway…
Thank you to each of you who left such thoughtful comments on what contentment means to you.
Jane and I wish you much contentment in your coming days.
But wait! There’s more:
Jane has created a special discount code just for you, my dear readers. With this code, you can register for class at the price of GBP £95 (approximately $121 USD). Regular price is GBP £150 (approximately $192 USD). What a generous discount!
Use this code by Friday, December 14 to get your spot in class: MICHELLEHEARTSCONTENTMENT
Click here to register.
An artist and online teacher, I’m passionate about sharing soulful, creative and practical tools I’ve discovered through my life’s challenges. My journey has encompassed depression, the life-threatening illness of a child and more recently, a diagnosis of high functioning autism for my two youngest children. I’ve learned to approach life and all that it entails from a place of gratitude, warmth and honesty. I help others slow down, reclaim their identity, embrace play through art and find an inner contentment and joy in a busy world.