Inviting visitors to her studio for the Derbyshire Open Arts weekend was a decision that Janet Mayled couldn’t make without first asking her neighbours.
For she and a handful of other families live in a close-knit little community nestling in the beautiful countryside beside the River Wye.
It may be just outside Buxton, but Blackmill Cottages are definitely off the beaten track. To reach them you have to drive down a path used by walkers and cyclists, park in a space reserved for the residents and then cross the river by a narrow footbridge.
With the blessing of her neighbours Janet, pictured, right, plans to share this idyllic setting with a host of art lovers for the bank holiday weekend while she demonstrates how she creates her vibrant colourful paintings.
Janet and her husband moved from Glossop to the cottage four years ago having fallen in love with it the minute they saw it.
“It really is a perfect setting and I never tire of it. Not even in the winter. I love to watch the seasons changing and there is so much wildlife. Living here provides me with a lot of inspiration for my work,” said Janet as she pointed out the view from her upstairs studio.
Like many artists she has monopolised a bedroom as her own domain and every inch of space is utilised to store her vast and ever growing collection of objects which feature in her still life paintings. There are tins, bottles, glasses, vases, pretty Victorian books and lots of keys.
“I have an obsession with keys. Keys feature in a lot of my work and define me more than anything else…although I do also have an obsession with tins and herons,” she adds with a big grin.
Janet points out a heron in one of her paintings and I can’t help noticing a tin on a shelf decorated with keys. She is definitely not exaggerating.
“I am always looking out for objects to use in my paintings and scour the shops looking for anything a bit unusual.
“I take inspiration from rural and urban landscapes and enjoy the juxtaposition of new and old, natural and synthetic, still life and figurative.
“What I am working towards are captivating compositions which draw your eye through the painting, breaking down elements into patterns, leading your eye from one object to the next.”
Janet puts her method of working down to the fact that she started out specialising in textiles. She studied textiles and fashion at Manchester Polytechnic in the 80s.
When she graduated she set herself up designing screen printed textiles and was so successful she was made Cheshire Young Entrepreneur of the Year 1986.
While her two daughters were young she gave up that business to concentrate on being a mum and painting. She then decided to train as a teacher and embarked on a career as a Art and Design lecturer at Bury College.
“I only decided to return to producing my own work four years ago, after my daughters had finished their studies. I have always been painting and working with textiles but now that I am a full-time artist once again I couldn’t be happier,” she explained.
Janet uses acrylics, watercolour and dyes to create bold and vivid images and she also uses other media such as paper and fabric to add depth and texture.
In the recent past she has become known for her very popular paintings of allotments and her use of bicycles in her compositions. While she still loves both subjects she says that she is also trying new work and plans to incorporate the Peak District landscape close to her home in her future work.
If you want to see her work there are plenty of opportunities because she is going to be very busy during the rest of this year. She will be opening up her home (postcode SK17 9TE) from May 27-29. You can phone her for directions if you need them on 01298 74461.
As a Peak District Artisan Janet will be taking part in all their events including the Great Dome Fair in July and she will be at the Patchings Festival in Nottinghamshire from July 13-16.
St John Street Gallery in Ashbourne exhibits her work and she will have a solo exhibition there in October. For more details about her work go to http://www.janetmayled.com