Jane Beinart is an Oxford based artist who I first met through coaching (she is a life coach as well as an artist). She brings the same mindfulness to her art as she does to her coaching, responding to what is happening 'in the flow' rather than planning a painting out. Her work is colourful and spontaneous and is as much about the process as the outcome. She brings this same sensibility and playfulness to her public art classes, which are all about being curious, exploring what art materials can do, experimenting, and having a play. These are particularly popular with people who have not picked up art materials for years and who are frightened about 'technique'; non-judgemental, the classes are designed to help people to increase their creative confidence. As well as trying out art as a potential new hobby, making art in this way is great for your general wellbeing, for relaxing and for escaping from all the things that need doing for a few hours.
In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
I love the fact that I feel I'm doing the right thing creatively because when I think about making art it literally makes my hands tingle! It is an amazing thing to find something you are really passionate about, and then actually get to do it as part of your job, and I am very grateful for that.
I thoroughly enjoy mixing my love of making art, and my slight addiction with helping people be the best they can be, through my art classes and team building with art. There is nothing as satisfying as someone coming to one of my complete beginners classes, having perhaps not made art for 20 or so years, and for them to leave, feeling confident enough about their work (after 2 hours) to frame it and put it on the wall at home!
Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
I don't really have a creative hero - I just greatly admire people who do things in their own way, and with creative passion and energy. Artistically I love the colour and energy in Kandinsky's work, and the emotion and movement in Van Gogh's. If I can say a non-creative hero, I find my Dad incredibly inspiring, as he has helped me to listen to what I want, and have the courage to try new things even if it scares you - I wouldn't be doing what I am today if it wasn't for that.
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
Quite simply - to listen to and go with what you enjoy doing. I did an Art Foundation Course, then didn't get into the textile art course I had convinced myself was the best option for me, so instead took a gap year, came back and studied History of Art, and sort of veered off on a detour of administration and working with other people's artwork. This was all until 6 years ago when I connected with my own love of making art again!
If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
The way I work is very intuitive and mindful, and if I think about things too much it really won't flow. So it is either allowing myself not to create if I'm not feeling like it, or creating something for it's own sake - just for fun - like potato printing, or drawing to music. I think taking yourself out of your comfort zone and being playful are great ways of getting creativity to flow.
In terms of thinking creatively about my classes or business, it is getting away from my computer, and going for a run or sitting in the summerhouse at the end of the garden - somewhere where I feel I have more freedom to think - a view and peace and quiet help.
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
I would be my absolute favourite pair of shoes - these lovely bird shoes......... because they are completely individual, however they are flat and practical too (you can walk quite a distance in them)! I think that pretty much sums me up.