As far as debuts go, the Scottish Borders Art Fair couldn’t have really asked for a better one with plenty of visitors flocking to Springwood Park.
The event, organised by Denise Playfair and Jane Smith of Kelso’s Vennel Gallery, showcased the work of 70 artists from the Borders and north Northumberland and attracted around 3,500 people over the course of the weekend.
It was born out of Denise and Jane’s frustration at a lack of events where local artists could go to showcase their work.
Like them, Lowick’s Jane Harbottle had looked at fairs in Edinburgh but been put off by the expense.
And the Borders Arts Fair proved to be a particularly good one for her. Not only did she sell a number of her paintings and have a number of requests for commissions, she was also awarded the Tweeddale Press prize , meaning we will follow her progress over the coming year.
A graduate in graphic design, Jane worked in places like Beamish open air museum before deciding that she wanted to focus more on her painting.
“It’s so easy to be inspired by the things you see all around you,” she commented.
“It’s important to take time to stop and look at natures and landcsapes - my own tag line is ‘inspired by the beauty of nature’.
“Of course living where I do I’m near to the coastline and the hills and everything in between.
“I grew up in Australia, whose landscapes are breathtaking but in a very different way.”
Although she has a number of new commissions due to her appearance at the Borders Art Fair, Jane is no stranger to them, especially ones involving animals.
“Painting an animal, whether it be wild or a pet, is a challenge I enjoy immensely.
“Capturing its likeness as a piece of art really helps to bring out their character and displaying traits that people might not have been too aware of before.
“I always encourage people to let me meet the animal as you can only tell so much from a photograph.”
*To find out more about Jane’s work visit her website