Jeannette Hayes

Born in Sweden 1962

Studied Foundation Studies at the Royal Berkshire College of Art

B.A (Hons) Fine Art/ Painting at Kingston University 1982-85

Member of the Pastel Society

Member of the Chelsea Art Society

2016 - President of the Pastel Society


When I was seven & living in Spain, I temporarily lost my hearing. It took several months for my hearing to return, during which time I found great solace in being creative. As well as painting and drawing, I was encouraged at school to make puppets. Being creative became a form of communication & it was no surprise to my parents that after A levels, I enrolled at the Royal Berkshire College of Art and Design and subsequently Kingston University.

My work tehn and for many years after was representational & figurative, but the lure of the abstract grew ever stronger as the new millennium approached. A trip to Morrocco with friends in December 2002 proved a real turning point: the bright sunshine and vivid colours of North Africa inspired me to embrace a much more vivid palette in my work & as such marked a new departure. 

My work post-2002 therefore features a much brighter and wider palette than was the case in previous years, although there were some emotionally dark days in the decade to 2010 when a more sombre palette prevailed. The decade to 2020 was marked by an ever deeper exploration of the abstract as I travelled throughout Europe and the UK. Of particular note were trips to Portugal, Greece, Scotland & Cornwall. Sometimes one doesn't need to go abroad to experience a different culture! When I am not away from home, the Oxfordshire light & the view from my studio in the Vale of the White Horse are a constant inspiration.

Although I have worked with oil all my artistic life, I find it isn't easy to use without making a mess (oil painting, especially while listening to music, is something I have always really enjoyed. I have been known to literally throw myself at large canvases...), so there were a few years after graduation when I was restricted to working in water colour, pastels and charcoal before I had access to my own studio space, after which I could make as much mess as I liked.

I have always loved the immediacy of working with pure pigment and soft pastels in particular: layering, smudging, moving. There's a physicality to working with any medium, but because pastels can be applied directly to paper without the intermediary of a brush, gesture becomes colour, easel becomes floor.  Some of my best work has literally been done lying down, my eyes tracking the pastel's journey as it leaves its trail across a sheet of 400gsm A2... 

I suspect the way I see the world was greatly affected by not being able to hear anything when I was small. Friends sometimes have to see my work from a distance to see what I can see from only a few inches away.