Jilly Ballantyne

Contemporary painter, born in Scotland in 1967, she graduated from Gray's School of Art in 1989 with BA Hons in Art & Design. Moved to the Cote d'Azur in 1994 where she painted and taught art, hosting summer painting holidays in Henri Matisse's former villa in Vence. It was at Matisse’s Villa, Le Reve that Jilly first became interested in painting chairs, he had a fine collection, including his famous, red striped 'Fauteuil Bergère.’

Over the winter months she was lucky enough to be granted Artist in Residence status to work on her own paintings in Matisse’s former studios. Being there on her own in all those quiet rooms, left a lot of time to reflect on the life he must have led there, looking at black and white photographs showing this great artist with Lydia, with his doves and the man himself standing where she could now stand, looking out from shuttered windows at the palm trees, made a big impact. Rarely does Jilly paint people in her work, it’s always as if they have just stepped out, much as it felt in 'Le Reve.’

It was at this famous home where she also took part in the BBC 1, Modern Masters Series on Matisse, with Alistair Sooke.

Jilly left the South of France after 18 years and is now permanently resident, in Cornwall. Her studio is in Truro where she paints mainly still life, interiors and ‘roomscapes,’ these are almost portraits, as they contain clues to the person who inhabits that space. She also teaches art all over Cornwall, including hosting adult art weekends at Olga Polizzi’s beautiful Hotel Tresanton, where the interior design links very well with her own work.