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Local Artist…Jenny Ham from Bellevue Hill

By James Hutton on July 21, 2020 in People

A lady of many talents. Photo: James Hutton

Introducing this month’s talented cover artist, Bellevue Hill’s legendary lady, Jenny Ham…

How long have you lived here? About 12 years now, but over 30 years living in and around Bondi. I moved here from England about 40 years ago.

Why do you live here? I love being near the sea, and the Eastern Suburbs offers everything!

What’s your favourite beach? Bondi, it really feels like home now!

What’s your favourite eatery? I rarely eat out, but the best experience I remember is “21” in Double Bay – superb food and a lovely, relaxed family atmosphere.

Where do you like to have a drink? With dinner at my daughter’s house, or with friends, at theirs or mine.

Best thing about the Eastern Suburbs? Being so close to everything – good shopping, parklands, lovely beaches, and easy access to the city.

Worst thing about the Eastern Suburbs? More and more ever-larger cars, with fewer and fewer parking spots!

How would you describe your art? From large oil paintings of atmospheric landscapes to smaller paintings or drawings, illustrative work. I’ve also done some portraits.

Who are your artistic inspirations? There are many, from the greats – Constable, Turner, the French impressionists, Cezanne and Bonnard – to the Australian greats – Lloyd Rees, all the Australian impressionists, especially their vision of light here, which is totally different from the light in England – and children’s book illustrators, especially Beatrix Potter. I’m always inspired by Michael Leunig’s brilliant wit and observation, his cartoons help keep me sane!

What are you working on at the moment? Illustrations for a children’s book a friend is writing.

When did you discover you had a gift for your craft? From the age of four, I always knew I’d be an artist. Both my parents were artists, and I was much encouraged.

  • Any other local artists to look out for? I don’t know of anyone local, but I met the clever young artist Harrison Murdoch who designed the cover of the May 2020 issue of The Beast and much admire the following cover art since then too.

What music are you into at the moment? I have masses of CDs and tapes dating back to the ‘60s, ‘70s and later, including Pink Floyd, Joan Armatrading, some classical, some ambient… quite an eclectic mix.

Who is your favourite person? My daughter.

What do you get up to on the weekends? I catch up with family and friends or go for a walk or a drive somewhere.

What do you do for work? I’m retired now, but I do my art and drop off a few copies of The Beast while I’m out and about.

Do you have a favourite quote? Yes, from the wonderful Michael Leunig: “Feed the inner duck, not with human news, or greedy things that suck, but give it quiet views; comments from the moon, opinions from the sky, the insights of a tune, the wisdom of a sigh.”

Any other words of wisdom for readers of The Beast? Enjoy every day, the people you love, nourish your soul with nature and laughter and focus on the things you love to do.