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Jane Burkinshaw – Artist

Jane Burkinshaw - Exeter Artist Devon
Jane Burkinshaw -Artist

Jane Burkinshaw is an artist who lives in Exeter in Devon. Jane was born in Sheffield in Yorkshire, then spent some of her younger years in Mexborough, Yorkshire which is between Barnsley and Rotherham. It a very old Domesday Book town.

When she was just seven her family moved to Stevenage in Hertfordshire. Jane says of her more recent work that it reflects an enduring delight in the small wonders of nature.

Having drawn and painted throughout her childhood, at seventeen years of age, she pursued her love of creativity and went to art school in St Albans School of Art and completed the Foundation Year. She also worked at Falmouth School Of Art as an artists model.

A Sea Trip Then British Columbia

Then the adventures really began! Jane spent time on a sail boat – the SV Carlotta – a 50ft Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, built in Gloucester in 1899. She went as cook and crew from Falmouth to Barbados in the late 1970s. The boat was without an engine and reliant on wind power alone. Stop offs included Bayona in Spain, Madeira and Gran Canaria before she left the ship in Barbados. Jane says that the SV Carlotta is still around and is now based in Canada.

Jane Burkinshaw - Exeter Artist Devon
Maple Leaf - by Jane

Jane emigrated to Canada. She lived firstly in Vancouver and then Vancouver Island. She just loved to get away and meet new people and discover different lifestyles as well as encountering her love of nature at every turn. While in Vancouver she worked as a care provider to elderly and disabled members of the community in their homes.

When she moved to Vancouver Island she worked as a carer and an archivist for an elderly First Nations chief who was originally part of Pentlatch tribe – now affiliated with Kwakwaka’wakw tribe. Jane helped with personal care, cooking and gardening. She was paid partly in money and partly in canned salmon!

Back To The UK And The South West

Throughout her life, Jane seemed to have been drawing continuously. She loves sketching, painting and being creative. She hated school and didn’t much enjoy university. I was probably a bit of a rebel and a hippy really she muses.

Jane Burkinshaw - Exeter Artist Devon
Becca by Jane - An Early Work

Jane came back to England when her father became ill, and decided to relocate closer to her family. She at first lived in Hertfordshire, near to her parents and then when she gained a place at Exeter School of Art & Design (as it was back in 1989), moved to Exeter. Here at the college, based in Topsham, she obtained a 2.1 degree in Fine Art.

When Jane’s father died in 1998, she didn’t want to abandon her mother by returning to Canada. Although both her parents are gone now, she doesn’t feel like upping sticks and moving so far again.

For fourteen years up to 2008 she worked as the Assistant Curator of Ethonography at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter. She was made redundant sortly before the recent major refurbishment. Since then she has been concentrating on artwork.

She says :

It was my privilege to be a curator of the ethnographic collections at the RAMM from 1992 to 2008. These wonderful collections are of international importance and include objects brought back to England on voyages of exploration and discovery captained by James Cook, William Bligh and George Vancouver. The items at Exeter museum with the most significance, for me, are from the Northwest Coast of North America, made by First Nations artisans, artists and carvers. This is a part of the world that I lived in for many years and where I developed a love of and respect for First Nations’ arts and culture.

Jane Burkinshaw - Exeter Artist Devon
Recent Work - One Of Jane's Favourites

A Devon Artist

Jane Burkinshaw Salvia Officinalis Exeter Artist Devon
Salvia Officinalis by Jane

Jane’s formal business as an artist was established in 2009. She offers customers all her years of experience as she has drawn for most of her life. She has an exquisite eye for detail and a good ability to interpret what she sees. And of course she offers her own unique style.

Jane’s recent inspiration and work is of leaves, stones and shells – drawing and painting natural objects is her favourite thing to do.

She also enjoys doing portraits and can work from photographs of people or animals. She likes to get commissions of either portraits or natural objects. When she works from photographs she can do commissions for anyone, anywhere in the world.

She also finds her artwork provides a good opportunity to go the coast. She especially likes Coryton Cove in Dawlish, Devon but she also likes to visit Honition, Totnes, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Colyton and Beer

Cortyon Cove, Dawlish, Devon
Coryton Cove Dawlish

Although Jane misses the British Columbia coast – the eagles, mountains and bears, the forests and lonely beaches, the whales and the First Nations people – she finds the South-West coastline astonishingly beautiful. She loves the temperate climate, friendly, welcoming people and the fact that things move more slowly here.

She finds Exeter to be cosmopolitan and loves all the restaurants, cafes and independent shops. She is especially appreciative that the city of Exeter has plenty of green spaces – and that she can see the hills from the central Exeter. It means she doesn’t feel enclosed. She sees great beauty in the cathedral built of Beer stone.

Jane says :

Recent watercolours of shells, stones and leaves (some exhibited at INC gallery in Exmouth this year) were somewhat influenced by the formal arrangements of historic illustrations recording exotic plants and minerals encountered on the great voyages of discovery. A lifelong delight in the natural world is reflected in these studies. For me drawing is an exploration, a way of understanding, a way of finding out how things work.

It was the Art school that brought her to Exeter but she was also drawn to its proximity to rural and coastal spaces. Jane also feels priviledged to live in a place where so many people aspire to settle.

Her ambition for her business is to go on building her portfolio and for more super-satisfied clients. She wants to do what makes herself, and other people happy and so far she is really succeeding!

Recent Work

A dog protrait by Jane artist exeter devon
Fennel - A Red Setter By Jane

Other projects over the last couple of years include a series of botanical studies, a collection of images based on old family photographs and a memory book – drawings and paintings of small items of immense personal significance brought from her family home after her mother’s death.

The commissioner of a recent picture said :

I wanted a special 60th birthday gift for my brother: the man who has everything he wants. This painting was taken from his favourite photograph of us when we were young and Jane has brought a new life and sensitivity to the image by capturing our expressions and attitudes perfectly, and adding an extra something that's hard to define.

Needless to say, my brother was delighted with his present and has it hanging above his desk in his study. We are both thrilled with what Jane managed to achieve from a tiny, dog-eared photo that was well over half a century old!

The Completed Commission

Jane Burkinshaw - Exeter Artist Devon
A Recent commission

If you would like to talk to Jane you can .


  1. Jane – I’ve said this before but it bears repeating hun, your work is simply breathtaking :o)  Your technical proficiency is stunning :o) 

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