Mary Jane Orley: ‘Encounter’


I am now the proud owner of this beautiful painting by Mary Jane Orley. There are few objects that I’ve bought that have seemed such a thoroughly good idea and that have ended up giving me so much pleasure. The painting is called ‘Encounter’ and formed part of Mary Jane’s beautiful show at The Gate House Gallery in Guernsey last month. It is now hanging in my front room above a rarely used television and it shines out across the room and throughout the house, a beacon of the positive and beautiful, a shimmering blast of colour and energy; it quite simply uplifts me. It felt good buying it. I am often saddened when so many people sniff at actually putting their hand in their pocket and buying art. There is at times a mistrust towards what artists do and many feel that spending a few hundred pounds on a piece of art that will last a lifetime and beyond is a huge expenditure whilst feeling quite comfortable paying thousands for a television that will be obsolete in a few short years. 

This summer our television goes away but the painting stays put. It will share my lifetime and no doubt many others. I can look into it and see anything I want – it takes me on a journey beneath the sea and through the clouds. I can actually go there. There are few television sets that can boast the same. This painting is a Mary Jane Orley energy injection and I am so very, very glad I get to enjoy it every day.

Guernsey Arts Sunday, June 9th 2013

We are thrilled to have released our book ‘The Soul of the Sea’ a tribute to Victor Hugo’s ‘Toilers of the Sea’ at the Guernsey Arts Commission Arts Sunday. Despite the wind and my freezing feet we sold lots of copies and really enjoyed talking to everyone who popped by to look at our work. The book is now available to buy island wide or through this blog, details of which are included in my previous post. Thanks to all who have supported us we are so proud to have finally got it out there.

The Soul of the Sea

We’re currently featuring on Ormerland as part of promoting our fully illustrated ballad adaptation of Victor Hugo’s ‘The Toilers of the Sea’. Click here to see the article.

If you’d like to pre-order a copy, please drop me an email to – copies are £15 each in hardback – but trust me, they look really good (thanks to James, our designer!). I’m happy to accept a Paypal transfer or a cheque; if postage is required too, I’ll price and arrange that on a case-by-case basis.

If you’d rather wait, copies will be on sale as part of Arts Sunday on 9th June in St Peter Port and stocked in The Press Shop and other major outlets around Town from then on.

The Soul of the Sea / Original Artwork

Our new book, ‘The Soul of the Sea’, in shops June 9th 2013. The images were originally part of an exhibition held at The Gallery, Mansell Street, Guernsey in October 2008. They are painted on a large scale and my aim was to evoke the romanticism of Hugo’s story as well as the lyricism of my husband’s poetry. I wanted to develop the flow and immediacy of my earlier Lamia series in colour and to do this I had to take risks with the paint allowing it to take shape on its own terms. I love the life force and expressive potential of watercolour and ink. My work now sits somewhere between illustration and pure painting. At times on my Fine Art degree course illustration was a bit of a dirty word; something that tutors warned us to stir clear of in our discipline; however, it was something I was always drawn to. I am greatly inspired by the dark brooding works in ink of Victor Hugo himself and used shapes and imagery echoed from his work in these paintings.

The Soul of the Sea… Out June 9th 2013

We have lift off. Our book ‘The Soul of the Sea’ is due to be published this month and will hit the shelves on June 9th, just in time for the Guernsey Arts Sunday. A labour of love, I am so proud that my work appears alongside my husband’s stunning poem based on Victor Hugo’s epic tale. Telling stories makes me happy and lights me up inside. Getting lost in paint, the way it moves, stains, ripples, creeps across the paper. Creation for creation’s sake, whether it be a book, a cake or a letter. Every day needs a little of it.