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Interview with Artist of the Month Jan Bulley

A woman in an art studio painting onto a canvas
Jan Bulley in her West Yorkshire studio

We interviewed Yorkshire-based artist Jan Bulley, who is exhibiting her work at The Courthouse as our Artist of the Month for February 2022.


Can you introduce yourself and your exhibition?

My name is Jan Bulley and I live in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire. This exhibition at Rural Arts is as Artist of the Month for February.

Which mediums do you use? What is your artistic process?

I work principally in Acrylics, especially acrylic ink but I also incorporate many other mediums so technically I am a mixed-media artist. I tend to work from a watercolour perspective using a lot of washes, wet-in-wet with lots of dribbling and fluid movement. I use textured grounds so the wet paint settles into the creases and brushmarks below, adding depth and interest. I work in many layers.

Occasionally I produce collagraph and mono prints and also work in clay, producing hand-built works that are often on display in the Rural Arts shop.

How did you first get started as an artist?

Although I have dabbled in art all my life, I became more seriously interested whilst doing a degree in Garden Design. At the beginning of that course involved working out in the landscape a lot but eventually the work became much more computer based. It was then that I realized that painting was what I really wanted to do. However I continued to work as a Garden Designer for some time, managing to fit painting and drawing around it. Eventually I had the opportunity to exhibit my work and had some early success. I have now retired and the art has taken over.

How did you find out about Rural Arts?

I also attended the Ceramics department at Harrogate College, intending to work in their printshop but somehow managing to start making some ceramic pieces. Whilst there I made a few contacts with Rural Arts and have been exhibiting my work in their gallery shop, initially with Harrogate College and then individually.

Have you visited The Courthouse before?

Yes, many times. I always enjoy a visit and think it’s a wonderful resource. I would have loved to have something like Saturday Morning Art Club when I was a girl.

What are you inspired by?

What I am inspired by, and hope to achieve in my work, is the effects of light and atmosphere. I am drawn to plant life, particularly in winter skeletons especially of trees and their reflections. I love the dawn, especially in the presence of water, stillness and wide expanses. I am very lucky to live in a beautiful location and am able to walk by the river regularly. Early influences for me were the Impressionists, particularly Claude Monet, and JMW Turner. In recent times, I admire contemporary artists like Kurt Jackson, Debbie Loane, Lewis Noble and David Tress.

What are your links to and thoughts on the arts in North Yorkshire?

I have been very lucky to be able to exhibit at the Great North Art Show in Ripon Cathedral several times (although activities have been curtailed during the pandemic). I am actively involved in Boston Spa Art and Crafts Festival as a member of their committee, and also exhibit annually in my studio as part of Artists Around Wetherby Open Studios, and also have work in several local galleries. There is a rich seam of artistic talent to been seen in the North.

You can see more of Jan’s work on her website and social media below:


Facebook: Jan Bulley Artworks

Instagram: @janbulleyartworks

A painting of bare trees with their reflection in the water
One of Jan’s atmospheric mixed media paintings on display at The Courthouse