Jo shopping with mum, c1960
Jo shopping with mum, c1960

Born in Greenock in the West of Scotland, my interest in Art began when my parents took me to “Miss Francis” – a very special lady who ran a kindergarten school from her house on the Esplanade. Miss Francis used to tell the children a story each day illustrating each event in the story with coloured chalk on the blackboard. It was the highlight of my day!

Each child was given a tin box of chalks and a drawing book interleaved with tissue paper to keep the chalk drawings from smudging. I still have my first drawing book, kept by my Father in his filing cabinet for years before rediscovering it and handing on to me.

kindergarten chalk drawing
One of Jo’s early masterpieces

From such a positive early experience and great encouragement from Mum and Dad, I continued to develop my artistic abilities at Greenock Academy. Later, at Loudoun Academy under the inspiring tutelage of art teacher David Longmuir, I applied to Glasgow School of Art, and began to chart my way through the murky waters of a “formal” art education. From Glasgow I transferred to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, where I welcomed the opportunity to follow a more traditional Art school training than was then available in the Sculpture department at Glasgow.

Thankfully the silly “Conceptual Art” movement of the 70’s has now been consigned to the trashcan of history! [but then again, maybe not: ???? – “The great conceptual conceit behind such ideas rests on the postmodern trope that by moving something from one location to another – usually an art gallery – you have then performed a mysterious benediction and transmogrified the object into art.” (Robert James, The Conservative Woman, 10/09/18)]

Well, “be that as it may”, whatever deceits our decadent culture may foist upon us, for me, the artistic learning process has begun all over again as I am now able, after a fulfilling career in education management, to return to painting the natural environment, the subject which originally inspired me, and follow my creative instincts wherever that journey may lead. Hurrah! At Last!