On a chilly winter's day, we headed to a picturesque Cotswold village at the edge of Blenheim Palace, where our Art Director and local artist, Janice Hume lives. Her quaint cottage, complete with cosy wood burner, studio space and original beams is filled with the paraphernalia of an artist. In this beautiful space, she creates wonderful pieces of art from block prints to watercolours. Jan is busy throughout the year: not only is she an artist but she also works on our photoshoots and catalogue. Inspired by her creativity and drive, we wanted to find out more about her and what motivates her.

Where is your favourite place in the Cotswolds?
"Blenheim Palace and walking around its beautiful grounds. Daylesford Farmshop is also on my list as they do a good Bakewell tart."
What is your favourite item from our Christmas collection?
"So many! The cashmere bed socks, the Lochcarron tote bag but especially the Fairisle cardigan. I really enjoyed creating the shot where the model is standing in front of a log pile."
What does a typical day involve?
"I get up and feed and brush my cat and then make myself a cup of tea and porridge. Then I go for a big long walk through the kissing gate into Blenheim Palace’s grounds, and hopefully, I’ll be inspired by something and draw it afterwards."

What is the inspiration behind your pieces?
"The local Cotswold countryside but apart from that, I do think colour is really important. When I am shooting in Europe, the colours that stand out are sun-bleached; peeling paint on the buildings is quite prevalent and interesting too. Here, in the UK, everything is a very vivid green from all the rain. Well, not at this time of year but on the whole the colours are very luscious. Further afield, on an undisclosed continent, the landscapes are very different – you can see for miles and miles. It’s almost like a cinemascope with these huge mountain ranges that create really epic scenes."
"Despite all these glamorous shoot locations, the rolling Dorset hills are where I am happiest and most inspired. Thomas Hardy country."

When are you happiest?
"When I’ve just completed a piece of art and am out walking in the elements. Saturday at 3pm was also a happy time for me as I’d just enjoyed a lovely lunch with friends and was looking forward to looking around a Christmas market.
What is your philosophy?
"Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and do something you really like. Make the best of what you are doing."

What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
"That’s a difficult question… Probably that I’m actually quite a good cook."
Under or over-dressed?
"Under-dressed. I like to be comfortable."
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
"Think before you speak."

How do you unwind after a long day?
"I unwind with a glass of red wine."
What materials do you enjoy working with?
"Acrylic, ink, watercolour, lino cutting, charcoal, chalk, pastels, coffee, tea and Ribena."
Who is your favourite artist?
"I have several. Gaughan, because of the colours, Dufy and my friend Shaun. But really it has to be Eric Gill. His work influenced me to work in lots of different mediums. He was a marvellous designer, printmaker and sculptor."

When did you start painting?
"I’ve always painted. I sold my first painting when I was 7 to my headmaster; I was in trouble for not doing well in geography, and he had come to find out why. I’d make homemade Christmas cards with my father and much later, when I had children of my own, helping them with their projects re-kindled my love of art. Then, once they grew up, I had all this free time, which I used to paint. It’s such a relaxing thing."
Do you have any exhibitions coming up?
"I have a permanent exhibition in the gallery at Waterperry Gardens, a lovely attraction with tea rooms, just outside Oxford. I also have my website www.thiswouldlookniceonyourwall.com
"I create pleasing artwork because they are pleasing for me to do."

Jan has designed these beautiful notecards exclusively for us, which make lovely gifts and can also be used to write out thank-you cards for Christmas presents. Take a look here >
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