10 Most Artistically Inspiring People of 2011 - No 9 Ching-Chou Kuik
Celebrating my good qualities

10 Most Artistically Inspiring People of 2011 - No 10 Jane Davenport

The last person on my list is.......

10 Most Artistically Inspiring People of 2011

No 10
Jane Davenport
for Providing Lifelong Artistic Tools

I'm going to sit here and have a cry (just a little one) while I write this, how do I say thank you to this amazing lady who has given me a tool which I will use for the rest of my life and one which brings such happiness?  All I can hear in my head as I write this is the song by LuLu - To Sir with Love, which I have re-written a little to fit here...

To Jane, With Love

Those schoolgirl days of drawing hearts and nagging doubts are gone
But in my mind I know they will still live on,
But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to pastels?
It isn't easy, but I'll try

If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters
That soared a thousand feet high 'To Jane, With Love'

The time has come for new books and that last lesson to end
And as I leave, I know that I am leaving with a new friend
A friend who taught me to blend and shade,  and draw amazing people
That's a lot to learn, but what can I give you in return?

If you wanted the moon I would try to make a start
But I would rather you let me give my heart  (check photo below).....
'To Jane, With Love'

You can hear the original song on iTunes just click the button: To Sir With Love - The Gold Collection

 IOC-logo1Jane Davenport is a photographer, illustrator. award winning author and artist who (along with her fabulous hubby Angus) runs The Institute of Cute store in Byron Bay, Australia.  I first met Jane in Brisbane in 2011, where she attended her first Papercraft fair as a stall holder, needless to say she and her journals were a hit (even the other stall holders were talking about them)!  Jane was taking enrollments into her on-line drawing class 'Draw Happy' which was a part of 21 Secrets 2011, I signed up on the spot and then proceeded to be so nervous about beginning that I didn't even begin classes for a few weeks - because I CAN'T DRAW.  When I finally plucked up the courage to take this massive leap (the idea of drawing something from scratch neared terrifying proportions in my mind), Jane was there to catch me and I haven't looked back, I even had the courage to sign up for 2 more drawing classes for 2012. 

Before I go on, I just wanted to share a few pieces of Jane's art  (You can see more on her Blog: http://www.janedavenport.com/) and show you all her awesome gift for drawing and colouring, for some reason looking at these makes me happy - I think it's because Jane's amazing bubbly personality comes through in her art.  To me Jane's art is a lot like Jane herself - playful, whimsical, colourful, happy and joyous.  I love how she draws her beautiful little people and creatures, the eyes are something that draw you into the image, the adorable little faces and outfits, the soft hair, defined with just a few flicks pf the pencil and then there are all those little extras that make it something special - the flowers, the accents, the backgrounds.  I've had the opportunity to watch Jane at work both in person and on many video clips and she makes it look so effortless, so unplanned and random, adding a little something here, covering up something there, a little red, a little blue, 'Trust the mess' she says!'  BUT this is the eye of a trained professional at work, who I'm willing to bet puts many hours into perfecting her art!


Jane is an amazing artist who I will be admiring for the rest of my life, but it's not her obvious artistic talent that I admire most - nope - it's Jane's ability to take something which has seemed so complicated, so mystical, so out of reach and impossible for someone with no art training and make it possible.  First and foremost for me - Jane is an amazing teacher.  She has this very special ability to explain drawing, faces, bodies, limbs, in such a way that it seems simple (sure you still have to practice and it doesn't all turn out looking like you may want), with Jane's guidance I found the drawing was possible - yes even I could draw a face.  For the first time in my life instead of saying 'I can't draw' and not even giving it a go, I'm looking at things and saying 'you know - I could draw that'.  It's a heady experience which I am completely enjoying and look forward to exploring much more.  Now I'm not DaVinci or anything, and I have a long way to go, which I expect will see me learning and improving my drawing for the rest of my life, but I now know that I can do it, I can learn to draw, I can improve and I like what I'm drawing (most of the time lol!). 

So what is most inspiring about Jane, is it her art or her talent for teaching - well I have to say I think the two are entwined, one an essential component of the other.  Jane's art inspires me to TRY and hew teaching gives me the tools to succeed.  Now I won't give away any of her teaching secrets, if you'd like to learn then take one of her amazing classes, believe me you will never regret it.  

For the first time in this 10 days of posting I just can't find the words to describe how important a person Jane has been to me.  My whole life I have wanted to draw, as a young child I would draw for hours and somewhere along the line I began to listen to the comments, to feel my scribblings weren't any good, what I drew wasn't pretty, wasn't realistic, wasn't worth putting on paper.  When I began high school I was so excited to take an art class, sadly the teacher expected that everyone already knew how to do everything and there was very little teaching of art (loads of art history though - I suppose that's easier to grade) - another disappointment,  even worse I could only take 6 months of art before having to do a different subject (small country town!).  So I've never had the opportunity to get over that impression created at an early age that 'I can't draw'.  To have someone totally blow that away in under 3 months is quite literally life changing, I can do this, I can learn to draw - for someone who has spent the last mumble mumble 30+ years wanting this, to suddenly be handed it and realise you have achieved a dream - it really is a precious gift.

Kate 40 mins
As a final thank you to Jane I have drawn this - not my best work, but my bravest, no planning, just a very quick sketch and in I went with my watercolours, just slapping colour over colour all wet and then laid the pen over the top - start to finish 40 mins - no thinking no aiming for perfection - just enjoying myself.  I've gone from stick figures to feeling confident enough to draw an actual person - what a huge difference a great teacher can make!  So Jane - thank you!  Thank you for being a wonderful teacher, an amazing generous person and thank you for giving me the tools and the inspiration to draw - for life!

Sending out big sparkly hugs and I hope everyone reading over the last 10 days has found a source of inspiration in at least one of these amazing artists who continually inspire and amaze me,

Images re-posted with Jane's permission,