Sky’s the limit for Shaun the Sheep artist

August 29 2014

FROM teaching a natural science to painting scenes of natural beauty - Jenny Urquhart has made quite a transition since ending her career as a Biology teacher four years ago.

FROM teaching a natural science to painting scenes of natural beauty - Jenny Urquhart has made quite a transition since ending her career as a Biology teacher four years ago.
And now, the Westbury Park resident is to have her art work showcased on one of the 60 Shaun the Sheep which will be flocking to Bristol next July.
The art trail, which is to initially launch across London in March, follows on from the success of last year's Gromit Unleashed.
The launch of Aardman's latest trail is in conjunction with the release of the Shaun the Sheep movie.
Jenny was approached by Wallace and Gromit creator, Nick Park, four weeks ago, and was asked if she would like to paint one of the first six sheep.
Jenny, 38, said: "I couldn't believe it, I was so chuffed and flattered that they thought of me."
The local artist spent an entire week at the Aardman studios, where she was working around the clock to complete her sheep. She even lost half a stone in weight through painting the 5ft sculpture.
She added: "It was a fantastic experience and a real privilege. There was such a buzzy vibe, and it was really interesting getting to see all the animators in action."
Jenny painted her sheep - which features a collage of hot air balloons, and other familiar Bristol sights - using a layer coat of emulsion, and then completed the design using acrylic paints and acrylic pens for the finer details. The sheep was then lacquered twice to give it a durable finish.
Besides Nick Park, Jenny has already attracted much attention with her eclectic and vibrant pieces of artwork - many of which depict Bristol's Suspension Bridge, surrounded by an array of brightly coloured hot air balloons.
She has recently been commissioned by Oxford Today - the Oxford University alumni magazine - to produce a painting, interpreting poet laureate Andrew Motion's poem on the First World War, for the front page.
One of her career highlights has been presenting her hero, David Attenborough, with one of her paintings, when he was awarded Freedom of the City by Bristol council.
With no lessons in art, apart from studying the subject at GCSE, the Oxford University graduate says that she just relies on instinct rather than formal training.
Jenny, who moved to Bristol in 2000, said: "I've always really loved art, plus my dad was an art teacher too, but somehow I ended up going on to become a Biology teacher.
"When I had children, it felt like the perfect time to get back into art again. Now I can't believe that I'm doing it as a full-time job."
She added: "I particularly love painting Bristol because it's just such a fabulous city."
After both trails have finished, the Shaun the Sheep collection will be sold at auction to raise money for the Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal, which supports sick children and their families in Bristol.
Last year, Gromit Unleashed raised over £3.8m for Bristol Children's Hospital.
Jenny's work can be purchased at local art galleries , Coldharbour Framery and Gallery in Coldharbour Road, and Room 212 in Gloucester Road. More examples of her work can also be viewed online: www.jennysgallery.co.uk

Jenny with her sheep