I was all set to study Art and Drama at Cheltenham University (having studied both at A level) but fate changed my path.

I became a Signwriter - self taught and self-employed - as part of the Princes Trust and had a great time painting in a small workshop under the arches near the Pultney Bridge in Bath. But, I found working by myself too lonely so, having dabbled at art, I followed thedrama route at Reading University.

The Sunflower
'The Sunflower'

Almost a decade later I moved to Plymouth and became Head of Drama at Plymouth College in 2000. Although my interest in art was always there, time was not on my side! Alongside a busy career running the Drama department and directing school plays I had three small boys at home to keep me entertained (in a different way) and life was always busy.

Forward the clocks to when the children had grown and (mostly) flown the nest; I had relinquished my role in the Drama Department but was still working in school supporting students one-to-one when the dreaded COVID struck and the world stopped. In my wonderfully naive way, I totally believed the initial three week lockdown would actually last for three weeks. But it didn’t.

Fig Tree
'The Fig Tree'

What did I do? I turned to art. I picked up a paint brush and pulled a brand new, unopened set of watercolour paints out of the draw and I started to paint. I hadn’t used watercolour before but I found the I loved it … the freedom, the looseness and the many happy accidents that appeared on the paper inspired me. With a little encouragement from friends I used my paintings to have 100 cards printed in June 2020 and sold them all on the same day! And so Jayne Ashenbury Art was born. And I haven’t looked back. From humble beginnings, and a hiccup of nature, I have created a lovely little art studio in my home and now have my cards, cushions and pictures for sale in seven local independent shops in three counties. My art is displayed in homes across England and most importantly I am absolutely loving every moment of every day! .

Mothecombe Coastguards
'Mothecombe Coastguards'

I’ve found what makes me happy - and I’m super grateful for that. I’m making people happy with my art … ‘sending the world a hug’. Would I have found this without COVID … we’ll never know but I certainly think I found it a lot faster.