Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jennifer Riddle and I’m a visual artist based on the Mornington Peninsula.

What brought you to the Mornington Peninsula?
I’ve always loved the Mornington Peninsula and have fond memories of exploring the coast and the hinterland on the many family Sunday drives growing up as a kid.

It was also a place that I turned to when my sister was diagnosed with cancer. I’d run the trails to clear my head and refuel on the beautiful surrounds – it seemed to give me strength and hope. My sister also loved coming here, we had both decided that we should move there when she was better – but sadly that wasn’t to be.

It was 2 years after Andrea had died that my husband, Danny and I made the move to Red Hill.

and what brought you to painting?
I was introduced to painting at a very young age. Mum often had the easel set up in the kitchen, mixing her oils and showing us how to do the same. I still remember the excitement when Mum showed me how to paint clouds and the leaves on the tree with a smudge of the brush. I think I was just 5 when I did my first oil painting…looking back, that was pretty courageous of Mum to share her precious paints with the knowledge that the oils could go everywhere! I do recall also that I painted a small oil on canvas of our house and gave it to my teacher in grade 3! I saw her many years later and she said she still had it on her wall!

I studied Art and Design after secondary school and was happiest when I was painting, but didn’t pursue it at the time. I then went on to study Visual Merchandising and proceeded on a more commercial path of creativity.

It was to be many years later, when I picked up the paint brushes again. And it was my sister Andrea that inspired me to do so. We had both discussed what we’d do when she got better…if she was given a second chance…and pursuing our creative dreams was part of that.

When we lost Andrea, I felt an immense desire to immerse myself in nature. The land and its sublime impact on me helped to fill the void that I felt and made me feel connected to her again. It was a profoundly healing process; one that continues to nourish my soul.

What painting / art do you do with your kids?
I draw on my own upbringing for inspiration and try to encourage the kids to create and not be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes quite often turn into something far more exciting, something better than you could have ever imagined. Sometimes you have to turn off the think button and just go with the natural flow and feel your way through a work. And kids are brilliant at doing this!

Your work is loved for it’s beautiful and realistic capturing of landscapes, often misty, with a strong silent feel. Do you ever paint people?
Well…there’s always the Archibald! I think that’s on the list of every artists’ dream!

So I’m hoping to develop that area a bit further one day. But as for now it’s mostly the land or the sea that I paint. However, when I first started painting in college it was people that I wanted to paint. We lived by the beach with a little sandy laneway to the foreshore. There were a few locals that would always be there when the sun was out. Many of them women with rounded bodies and voluptuous curves.perfect subjects for painting! So a beach series was born but was short lived after college had finished. In more recent times I did however illustrate some children’s books that my father wrote which also featured people and animals.