Janine Umbers

I have a family background in Art so it has always been part of my life. I studied at Manchester College of Art and  have  painted in many parts of the world.  After my marriage I went part-time to Folkestone Art College under John Eveleigh, concentrating on portraits. When I moved to Berlin with my family I studied with Hermann Siems and widened the field to include abstracts and landscapes. I was fortunate through Service contacts to be able to undertake commissioned portraits and large commemorative depictions of Royal and military occasions.   

We moved to Nigeria in 1981 and there the alien landscape, the quality of the light and the colourful people were the inspiration for a solo Exhibition in the British Council Gallery. We came to Hythe in Kent – still my home today – in 1984 and now work mainly on portraits and local landscapes with occasional trips abroad for added excitement.  

Whatever I paint – people, abstracts, landscapes, still-life – colour is a major factor – often the electrifying inspiration.  In my portraits I enjoy getting the subject’s colouring right, depicting the combinations of colours which everyone displays: it is that which brings an individual to life.  

In a landscape, a field of oil-seed rape I see as man’s hand on the land, brightening the green of nature. My landscapes are all done on the spot for immediacy and reflect a particular time and place. Wind is always a problem on Romney Marsh – I have had to tie down my easel! – but wind creates movement which the viewer should sense in the final painting.  Revealing that rhythm of movement, together with the internal rhythms of life and shape, is the very essence.

 My work has appeared in exhibitions in the Metropole Arts Centre, Folkestone, in the Romney Marsh Gallery, and the Neville Gallery in Canterbury.  I am a member of the Armed Forces Art Society, and I exhibit annually in the Mall Gallery, and with local art societies.