Artist Q&A | Jo McKinney

  Jo McKinney 

Here's a few questions and answers to give you an idea of who I am and what I do...

Who are you?

My name is Jo McKinney, I'm 36 and a Contemporary Equestrian & Canine Artist from the East of England. I'm married to Lee (a Scotsman) and we have a rescue dog called Alfie. I love most animals (except snakes) and I'm a keen horse rider. I'm a country girl, I have a need to be surrounded by open space and could never live in the city. I've travelled a lot and spent some time living in Oman where I discovered a love of camels!

Why do you do what you do?

Hmmm... to keep the answer simple... because it's an integral part of who I am, it's what I'm good at and it's taken me a lot of trial and error in life to realise this.

What's your background?

I have no formal art training, I guess you would say I'm self taught but that's not strictly true as I've learnt from family members and other creatives. My whole family are creative and I learnt to draw properly at a young age as my Grandfather, a very talented amateur artist, taught me all about perspective and drawing what you see.

I've dabbled in many career paths since leaving school at 17. Art wasn't one of them until I reached my thirties; yet when I was at school all I wanted to be was an Artist (or a fashion designer, but you only have to look at my dress sense back then to realise that wasn't going to happen! I think I also briefly toyed with the idea of being a Vet as I loved animals, but on discovering I'd need to be good at science I let that one go). I'd wanted to study art at college but after being told at school that my creativity was too rigid to be an Artist and that I was average at best, I looked at everything else but a career in art or anything creative. In fact I dropped out of my A levels because of that conversation, it still stings now remembering it.

So after a twenty year diversion in which I qualified as a Riding Instructor, Hairdresser and HR professional I have finally come back to the thing I really wanted to do in the first place. The need to be creative never quite left me, no matter how much I tried to ignore it. The fact that I have managed to merge my love of horses and dogs with art makes me feel like it's what I am meant to do.

What art do you most identify with?

The art I create is mostly portraiture depicting realism because it comes naturally to me, I'm detail orientated and like to bring to life the subjects I paint and draw. But the fundamentals that inspire me are largely composition and colour, so there's actually lots of different styles of art that I can identify with. I'm drawn to art that has a mood about it and I am noticing that as my own artwork evolves, the pieces are becoming much more emotive.

What work do you most enjoy doing?

I've recently moved much more towards creating oil paintings, I love getting an idea in my head for a piece and then tinkering away at a canvas until it starts to emerge... it's my happy place. I also love the smell of oil paint, it's kind of calming... but I probably shouldn't admit that!

What themes do you pursue?

Equestrian and canine themes mainly, although I have dabbled in painting and drawing a variety of other animals but I'm inspired by and drawn to Horses and Dogs and the lifestyle that involves them. 

What do you like about your work?

I like that it makes people smile.

What do you dislike about your work?

I never think it's good enough.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

You do you. Stop trying to fit in, trying to be like someone else or trying to be what someone else wants you to be.

Professionally, what's your goal?

I would love to have a solo exhibition in a gallery and be recognised as a successful Equestrian & Canine Artist.

If you've read this, thank you!

I'm always happy to hear from you so if you've got any more questions about me or my work please drop me a message or leave a comment.

Jo x

1 comment

  • Claire Sylvestre

    Hi Jo,
    It was a pleasure to read and learn more about you! I feel the same way about publishing pictures or videos of me or writing about myself. You did very well and I love the look of your website. Looking forward to your next blog post and creation. You got this!

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