In Jan Laird’s bright studio, adorned with the adorable faces of animal subjects you’ll
find a poignant quote that always inspires her:
‘They said she couldn’t, so she did.’
It’s a mantra that has sustained her on an incredible journey to becoming a
As a teenager, Jan studied at Cumnock Academy in Ayrshire, where she dreamed of
becoming an artist. She loved to draw and paint and spent hours lost in creativity on
her family farm, surrounded by nature.
However, the path to realising her dream wasn’t an easy one. After being rejected by
art school, she applied to teach art instead, but again was unsuccessful. Finally, she
gained a place at the University of Cumbria, where she gained a BA (Hons) in Fine
After graduation, Jan struggled to earn enough to support herself, and it was hard to
escape a recurrent message. She couldn’t make a living through art. She busied
herself working with children, hoping to gain experience to teach now, but always felt
driven to create.
Painting wasn’t her favourite medium, and she lacked confidence, but with
characteristic determination, she practiced for long hours on the farm, drawing
inspiration from the animals and natural beauty around her.
One evening, she painted her first Highland Cow, and her supportive mum loved it,
taking it to a local framer. To Jan’s amazement, it sold quickly to a local gift shop and
changed everything, giving Jan drive to continue.
That simple investment in a frame was her turning point and, ten years later, Jan is a
well-known artist who has grown her business in ways she couldn’t have imagined.
Her range of beautiful artwork, home and giftware is available in over 30 shops
across the UK, and through a solid online business.
Jan is grateful for her journey, and optimistic about the future – in fact, she feels
she’s just getting started! Her animal paintings are cute and unique, with so much
natural character that they exude joy and happiness, giving her customers good
reason to smile.
Now, Jan spends her time painting and creating new work in her studio, still based
on the farm in Ayrshire. Jan’s story is a powerful one, and she’s learned anything is possible if you truly believe in yourself. She sources her materials ethically from UK manufacturers, enjoys the benefits of strong partnerships, and is always looking for new
opportunities to collaborate and grow her business.