Janet Keith

Janet’s painting is a response to the sensory excitement of her surroundings. She believes that what seeps in to her being through the senses marinades somehow and eventually finds a way out again through painting.


She is interested in exploring how the spontaneous and the more considered elements of pictorial structure weave together to build an expressive and evocative painting. 

Her approach is to begin working with no preconceived idea of how the painting will look when it is finished. She activates the blank canvas with a variety of spontaneous marks and areas of colour and then observes, listens and responds to those marks and colours with others as the painting develops through various layers and iterations. Her goal is to create a painting that excites in the making - enjoying the placing of each colour, line or shape next to another over and over again, until the painting rings true to her in its freshness, energy and power to evoke.

Janet can sometimes, perhaps, discern in the paintings some visual parallel to her physical surroundings and sometimes not. For the paintings  ‘Winter' and ‘Spring’ - which are both quite scribbly and of a limited palette, her feeling is that they may echo the trees around her home in a very wooded area of Sussex. She loves to gaze at and through the tangle of bare branches of the trees which fill the studio windows with a dance of colour, movement and sound all year. In other paintings, colours of landscapes she knows well may emerge, cadences of birdsong, rhythms of music playing in the studio or an unexplained physical urge to be bold and assertive with the paint and materials or, conversely, tender and still. She does not speculate too much about where the paintings have come from or what they might be about. She is more interested in the experience of bringing them to fruition and accepting them as an expression which may, in fact, have no words, explanation or explicit narrative - something more akin to music, maybe.

Janet’s artistic influences range far and wide from fourteenth century Sienese altarpieces, to Indian miniatures, Japanese woodcuts, and twentieth century American and British painting.

She has paintings in both private and public collections and exhibits regularly in the U.K. In 2020/21 she exhibited with the Royal Ulster Academy and the painting “ Listening for Curlews” was awarded the prestigious Paul Henry Landscape Prize. Her work has been acquired by the Northern Ireland Civil Service for their permanent collection.
In 2013 Janet was an artist in residence at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and exhibited in the Stalls Gallery. She has also exhibited with the Royal Society of Marine Artists at the Mall Gallery in London.
She is an elected member of the Ulster Society of Women Artists.