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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > October 19 > Layers of detail

Layers of detail

Jennifer McRae, winner of the 2019 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, talks to Susie Hodge about the benefits of entering competitions and working in a variety of media in her portraits, landscapes and cityscapes


Award-winning artist Jennifer McRae has exhibited extensively in both solo and group exhibitions. In 1999 she won the BP Travelling Scholarship and in 2002 took up a bursary place on the Drawing Year at the Prince’s Drawing School.

‘My studio is a practical box,’ she says.

It’s brilliant to work in and every day I feel grateful. Studios are, from experience, transient, so while they are available they’re precious. It has north light and four basic windows. The walls are white, although I do stick up various images, notes on the wall that cleverly doesn’t interfere with the space. It hides the clutter, which helps my focus. My huge easel, which I’ve had for more years than I can remember, is central.

‘Occasionally I work outside, especially on travel trips where the environment is new. I like setting up temporary working spaces while travelling too. I love painting and drawing cityscapes. I have worked in New York City, Venice, Rome, Florence and Buenos Aires, and I am truly inspired when working from the London skyline. These works are often watercolour on paper, drawn first with pencil.’

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About The Artist

Welcome to the October issue of The Artist, including an additional 16 pages full of ideas and suggestions about art courses and holidays that could help to inspire and develop your creative skills. This issue is also packed with inspirational insights into how professional artists approach their work, including a commissioned portrait in oils, and practical demonstrations in watercolour, oil pastels, oil-based pencils, acrylics, line & wash and mixed media. There's something for everyone, whatever your level or experience, from how to add a little magic to your watercolour still lifes, paint an autumn landscape in five easy stages, capture a sunset in acrylics, sketch people in line & wash, create a vibrant flower composition in mixed media, and more. Plus be inspired by some of this year's The Artist Open Competition prizewinners, who explain how they created their winning artworks. Enjoy your month of drawing and painting with The Artist.