“Artworks To Make You Smile” - an Interview with Jilly Henderson

Whimsical “Artworks to make you smile” by Jilly Henderson
Whimsical “Artworks to make you smile” by Jilly Henderson

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Here is the next addition to our inspiring interviews with creatives who share about their journey and what it takes to make things happen.


An interesting trend I have been observing lately, is most artists I am following on social media are predominantly women. So be prepared - you will be seeing a number of interviews with some of these inspiring and exceptionally talented ladies!


Jilly Henderson is the first one on the list for this season, as she kindly agreed to answer a few questions for our humble blog.  She is a Scottish artist and designer who creates fascinating whimsical and quirky pieces. She hopes her artworks bring a smile, a sigh, a chuckle, a tug at the heartstrings, a flash of recognition and/ or a nod of agreement... Ultimately it makes you want to start a collection all of your own to admire and be inspired by every day.


As per the writing of this article, I came across Jilly’s art literally a few days ago and I instantly fell in love with it. As an artist myself, I have a lifelong love for illustration, fantasy and stories, and a touch of real gold leaf only adds some extra splendour! (I am also addicted to adding it in my works, hehe). 


Please enjoy my conversation with this lovely lady and her mesmerizing pieces!



Interview questions:


  1. Hello, Jilly! Thank you so much for agreeing to take part in Just How Cool Is That?! – backstage stories from the creative journey.
    How did your style evolve throughout the years from art school to what you do today

    Jilly:  I’ve always loved illustration and although I studied graphic design I would make sure I did all the illustrative content myself using printmaking primarily at the time. I transferred to watercolour once I graduated – much easier to carry around a set of watercolours than a print studio!
  2. Your paintings are always accompanied by sweet little stories. Why do you feel it is important to add these instead of having the viewer interpret it all on their own?

    Jilly: I’ve always enjoyed reading and getting lost in fairy tales and imaginary worlds. It doesn’t stop in my art. Every artwork tells a story whether it likes it or not.
  3. “Artworks to make you smile” is the tagline of your website. How did you end up choosing this as your mission?

    Jilly:   A smile is an easy and surprising ask and most onlookers offer it up without thinking. I hope my work helps people get a wee bit of peace in this sometimes crazy world.
  4. How much time does it normally take to create a new painting from start to finish? Could you describe the different phases?

    Jilly:  It can take a day or a week to create a work depending on time available. I like to create works as quickly as possible without too much time between sittings. It’s an instant inspired process and I try not to drag it out or it loses its sparkle. (For me anyway). 

    I also do Giclee prints hand finished with gold leaf, rendering each print unique to the purchaser, runs of 125 and 50 depending on the print. Larger, more intricate prints get limited to 50. These numbers are complete runs. I batch around 5-6 at a time, they sell out immediately.
  5. What are your main sources of inspiration? Could you tell us some artists that you admire and/ or have influenced your work?

    Jilly:  I love Jessie M. King and her peers at the time – many of them women artists. She and her artist friends were instrumental in paving the way at the time for female artists to be taken seriously.

    Given the space and the recognition women have always had the ability to create magnificently – in the past they were overlooked in preference to men - a sign of the times. But imagine if they’d been able to express themselves more… Nowadays women are so celebrated in the art field and are making it their own.


  6. What is the best of a compliment you get regarding your art?

    Jilly:  I get a lot of compliments but I think when buyers comment on the impact a piece can have in bringing a bit of joy in to their life… or comfort… I’m a big fan of creating work that has a positive impact. There’s a lot of hardship and awfulness in the world, I’d like to offer the opposite if I can. 



  7. You have been a freelance artist for an impressive period of 30 years! What’s been the most challenging part of your creative journey so far? Have you had moments when you wanted to leave it all? Which part of your work (business) do you like the most and which part would you rather not do?

    Jilly: I only ever want to jump ship if I’m not making enough money to make ends meet. I’ve been lucky in that I can live on little if needs be. I have always lived a very sustainable life. I love to make things last, I make do and mend, I don’t take possessions for granted, I don’t shop extravagantly as I know that happiness isn’t found in ‘things’. I buy second hand and enjoy the handmade and the eclectic.

    I love sitting down with the flicker of an idea, music on, Walter, my wee dachshund, snuggled up beside me as I am beginning a painting. I’ve loved that since I was very young and the peace and satisfaction has never left me. It’s my happy place. There’s really no bit of it I don’t like. I come from a family of self-employed, self-motivated entrepreneurs so it’s in the blood!
  8. A number of creatives fear to put a decent price on their art, thus turning the myth of the starving artist into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Have you struggled with the same issue?

    Jilly: Ha! Yes, what a dilemma. I have struggled with this over the years but right now I’ve been doing it so long I’d like to think I have a pretty good idea how to price things.

    There’s a bit of a gut reaction when you price something – If you’ve priced something and you feel a sense of unfairness, that you’ve worked hard and the financial return isn’t making you feel rewarded, then you need to rethink.

    I’ve had lots of times where I’ve felt I’m selling too low but then you feel you want to offer a reasonable deal to the customer. I think I’m getting better at pricing my work and it can also help to ask advice from others about pricing your work.


  9. Have you suffered from perfectionism and fear of not being good enough? How do you know it IS good enough?

    Jilly:  I’ve always felt good about what I create. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t good enough, I think that’s why I’ve persevered.

    I have feelings of not being good enough in many things… singing… playing a musical instrument… public speaking… running a marathon… performing in a play, but the one thing I’d like to cut myself some slack on is my art. I love creating, I hope others love what I create and I’m lucky to be able to do what I love for a living.

  10. What kind of people are your clients and how do they find you? How can someone acquire one of your pieces?

    Jilly: I sell online on Etsy and I have a new website which I’m currently getting to grips with. I do commissioned work and I do fares and events. I work a couple of days a week from a studio space in a beautiful gallery in the village of Glamis in Scotland. Glamis Castle (where the Queen mother was born) is just around the corner! It’s there I meet visitors to the area from all over the world and get to spend time working and spending time with other artists in the area who work there too. I have a huge female following.

    My work resonates with women, but having said that, I have some men as well who are regular buyers and lovers of my work. I sell through social media, my website plus privately if customers get in touch for commissions etc.

    Right now has been the tipping point in to an overwhelming incredible interest in my work. I’m loving every second and have so many ideas and not nearly enough hands or time – thanks to social media. I have a massive following overseas on Facebook. I love the enthusiasm that I’m met with, it’s so positive and encouraging.
  11.  What is your final message to anyone reading this?

    Jilly: I’m so blessed to do what I do for a living. Both my siblings are artists and my two daughters are artists, as is my husband and a lot of my friends. It runs in the family in a big way and I’m aware how unique it is to be able to forge your own path as regards making a living in the world. Follow your dreams. They know the way. 


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! Keep on bringing more inspiring beauty and smiles to the world!


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More cool articles:

Jilly Henderson today

Jilly Henderson at her studio
Jilly Henderson at her studio

In addition to painting originals and getting prints ready, I’m also making a start on commissions… I have a long list of commissioned pieces to work on over the next few months…


You can order my pieces online on my official website and on Etsy for a worldwide delivery, or stop by the Glamis gallery if you are nearby.


People can find me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest, or e-mail on jillyhoo@outlook.com.


Have your say!

  • Where could you relate the most?
  • What is the greatest insight you got from Jilly?
  • Have you underpriced your art and if yes - for what reasons?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below and remember to tell your friends on social media!


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