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Janette Kerr is a painter deeply embedded in place, working at the interface between land, sea and historical experience. ​ Called ‘the best painter of the sea in these islands’ by Brian Fallon, Chief Critic of the Irish Times, Kerr delights in foul weather. Drawn to the perimeters of land, her work is an index of edges and ledges, exposed headlands and wind-swept seas.

Kerr is not somebody who makes meticulous studies of landscape. Beyond mere topography, but with a nod towards the Northern Romantic tradition in landscape painting, her practice remains contemporary and experimental. For the last 12 years, her work has focussed on Shetland, where she has a studio and house on the west side, close to the sea. 


My paintings represent immediate responses to sound and silences within the landscape around me; they are about movement and the rhythms of sea and wind, swelling and breaking waves, the merging of spray with air, advancing rain and mist, glancing sunlight, snow covered land - elements that seem to be about something intangible.’

Travelling extensively - always to wild and weather-scoured places that look northwards - 'I seem to be obsessed with working in cold places. Not sure what that says about me, but the cold makes me feel alive - makes me work fast and furiously'. Working alongside Norwegian oceanographers at the Bergen Meteorological Institute in 2015, studying the unpredictability of waves and wind, had a profound influence on her work. In 2016 she travelled to the High Arctic and sailed along the coast of Svalbard on board a tall ship called the Antigua. During 2020 she walked in snow storms on an international residency in Skagastrond, NW Iceland, while in 2022, she received funding from Creative Scotland to spend 2 months in Greenland, living in a remote settlement called Oqaatsut.

Kerr has a strong track record of initiating/working collaboratively; in 2017 working with film & sound artists Jo Millett and artist Rob Gawthrop to develop a touring installation - Confusing Shadow with Substance - based on an 18th century haaf fishing station in Shetland. During covid, they set up the Stenness Sound Walk using GPS technology on the beach at Stenness, Northmavine, in collaboration with art collective, Satsymph (see also a review by Alastair Hamiltonsound walk technology ).

Kerr has a PhD in Fine Art, is an Hon Royal Scottish Academician, RWA Academician, and Past President of the Royal West of England Academy of Art.

Exhibiting regularly across the UK and abroad, her work is held in national and international collections.

She writes about her practice and residencies; if you are interested please have a look at her Blogs:




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Janette Kerr drawing at Westerwick, Sheltandd

Drawing at Westerwick

Drawing at Silwick

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