BIOGRAPHY of JENNIFER SCOTT
I was born in Wangaratta Base Hospital in July 1953, however my home town was Mount Beauty at the foothills of Mt. Bogong, the highest mountain in Victoria.
It was an amazing experience growing up in this lush environment, surrounded by tree-covered hills and snow-covered mountains; sparkling clear, rushing mountain streams; flights of Summer butterflies; carpets of greenhoods, old man’s beards and sweet smelling sun orchids; frogs croaking happily in the streams; wanderer butterflies dangling from delicate swan plants and wonderful choruses of king parrots, pied currawongs and a myriad of other amazing bird sounds sent to delight my ears.
My mum was a schoolteacher and an artist in her own right. She was also my artistic mentor, guide and cheer squad throughout my formative years as an artist. It was she who taught me all about painting and drawing: the use of colours, perspective, pencil types, paints, brushes, light and shade, shadows, scale and many, more more elusive qualities.
Many wet weekends as a child would be spent painting sailing ships, birds, animals, children, portraits, orchids and many more delights.
Trips away in the car and holiday times would involve an immersion into the world of ‘Colouring In’. Mum showed me how to hold the coloured pencil properly, how to sharpen it to a sharp point, how to use tiny circles to colour close to lines, how to colour evenly and softly. It was she who explained about contrasts, light and shade and shadows by rigging up actual lights and shapes so I could see the shadow effect with my own eyes. Because of her influence I went on in my teenage years to win a number of Colouring In Competitions with prizes such as a movie camera and a year’s supply of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Progressing into secondary School introduced me to different types of media – watercolour, acrylics, oils, pen and ink, Lino cuts, scratch board and photography.
The art room soon became both my haven and my heaven.
Interestingly, I also had ability in Mathematics and Science and so I headed off at the end of my Year 12 to complete a Science Degree in Melbourne.
Monash University provided my first introduction to the Biological Sciences and I fell instantly in love with Botany and Zoology.
In first year Zoology every week there was a different display set up of stuffed or preserved specimens of different types of animals for us to look at and learn from. I adored this weekly trip to to ‘paradise’ and amassed a huge folio of notes and drawings over the year.
In Botany, a totally new world opened to me by way of microscopic drawings. I used to walk over to the Botany labs at night and spend hours looking at living things, especially plants, through the microscope and subsequently drawing them… I found it all incredibly fascinating.
When I was thirteen, mum and dad had bought me my own microscope and this early influence blossomed during my university years.
A senior lecturer in third year uni discovered my insatiable appetite for illustrating everything in sight and sought to employ me to illustrate a book which he was writing. Alas, it wasn’t time for my big break then as he failed to secure funding.
While I was at Monash uni, Celia Rosser was the resident artist. Celia was working on illustrating the complete Banksia species in Australia…truly a mammoth task.
Her studio was just across the hallway from the third year Botany labs and I would often stand in her doorway and look longingly at her amazingly intricate, yet delicate paintings and would love to see them evolve over the months to become more and more complete in readiness for publication.
Quite unknowingly at first , she became an amazing inspiration for me. It wasn’t till halfway through third year that I timidly introduced myself and received from her kindness and some really constructive advice about my aspirations of becoming a biological illustrator.
To my great relief in 1975 I completed my Bachelor of Science degree, sub-majoring in Botany and Zoology.
My first job was with C.S.I.R.O. in Mildura as a scientific officer/ biological illustrator specialising in nematodes (microscopic worms that hide in the soil and damage grape vines and orange trees).
As fascinating as this all was, after a year I decided to expand my horizons and began a teaching diploma. On completion of this teaching diploma I was sent to teach in Technical Schools as a maths/science teacher across country Victoria.
All the while, in the evenings and on weekends over these years I continued to sketch, paint and draw everything I could see- from portraits of children, old houses, landscapes, birds and more. While in Mildura I joined a Bird Observers’ Club and bought myself a good camera. This opened up more ways to hone my illustrating and painting skills.
After eight years in country Victoria, I returned to teach in the Eastern outskirts of Melbourne. Being in Melbourne now gave me access to WASA (Wildlife Artist Society of Australasia), Sherbrooke Art Society and many more venues to display my paintings and also more opportunities to enter Art Exhibitions.
I was fortunate to have won Awards in three exhibitions during my years in the leafy suburbs of outer Eastern Melbourne and the Dandenong Ranges.
My ability as a photographer also improved and to my delight, I was granted a Prize in Upwey for one of my photographs of an echidna. This photograph was to form part of the next year’s shire calendar.
During my years in Melbourne I had the amazing chance of meeting many of my heroes – artists whose work I greatly admired and respected and I picked up many valuable tips and advice.
Whilst in Melbourne I also tentatively began producing greeting cards using the images from my paintings. The first card, a fairy penguin and chick, sold very well at the penguin parade shop and also throughout Phillip Island as a whole.
This success led on to me bringing out a larger range of cards which I was fortunate to being able to sell through two huge newsagency distributing centres.
I followed this in 1989 with a Perpetual Birthday Calendar which ‘took off’ with amazing results. I am still selling this calendar, with slight modifications, 29 years later.
In 2015 I moved to sunnier regions along the Coffs Coast of NSW and immediately immersed myself into the art scene and joined a number of art groups. I also became heavily involved in the Market scene which improved my exposure as an artist significantly.
Wanting something new and vibrant in my range of products, in 2016 I produced a delightful perpetual diary with an endearing blue Wren on the front cover
In early 2018 I was approached by Hallmark cards and was commissioned to illustrate two Christmas cards for them using an Australiana theme. These cards should be available in newsagencies across Australia and the US at Christmas time, 2018.
I am truly blessed by having a mother who not only passed on her ‘Art genes’ to me, but also her amazingly comprehensive art knowledge.
I am blessed by being part of a family which loved animals and was surrounded by many and varied pets over our childhood and teenage years.
I am blessed by my parents allowing me the freedom to roam the countryside as I wished; to explore nature in all her many faceted delights; to look at God’s handiwork in Nature and examine it closely to see His creative hand.
My goal ultimately is to paint, with the gifts God has given me, fragments of His amazing, creative genius so that others can look and see what I see and exclaim:
– Such Beauty!
– Such intricacy!
– Such amazing detail!
My God, Your God, Our God is indeed an amazing Creator God.
I have just finished reading a true story about a young man who, at 19 years of age, was involved in a terrible, fatal air crash and who almost died. Forty years later he recounts to his wife about his near death experience and his visit to Heaven.
His description really touched me deeply. Words and phrases which he used really resonated with me: ‘a magnificent city, gold and gleaming among a myriad of resplendent colours; in the dazzling light every colour imaginable seemed to exist and – played. If Joy could be given colours, they would be these colours; these colours seemed to be alive, dancing in the air. If the brightest light on earth could shine through the most magnificent chandelier with tens of thousand of flawless crystals, it would appear as dirty glass in comparison to the amazing brightness and colours that entranced me. If a colour can be said to be alive, the green I saw was alive, slightly transparent and emitting light and life from within each blade.
The iridescent grass stretched endlessly over gently rolling hills upon which were sprinkled the most colourful wild flowers, lifting their soft-petalled beauty skyward, almost as if they were a chorus of flowers caught up in their own way of praising God.’ *
I love nature in her amazing complexity, her animals, her plants, orchids, frogs, insects…..everything that lives and moves and crawls upon this earth.
I love the way that God has had so much fun designing His Living World – for us to enjoy!
The most special thing for me, however, is His amazingly diverse display of colours – from the gorgeous blues, oranges, yellows and purples of the breast feathers of a rainbow Lorikeet to the stunning blues and iridescent black feathers of the tiny fairy Wren.
May God be praised!
One of my favourite children’s hymns sums up my feelings.
v1. All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
v2. Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
v5. He gave us eyes to see them
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty
Who has made all things well.
Cecil Frances Alexander 1818 – 1895
* Flight to Heaven – Captain Dale Black…A pilot’s True Story.
A plane crash…. A lone survivor…..A journey to Heaven – And Back
2010 Bethany House Publishers.