Janet: “I am from Australia. I started being creative from an early age, it started at the beginning and I always knew that my love of drawing and being creative would always be with me. As a child I always had a sketch book on hand and back then I sketched the trees and all of the things I loved, like horses. So even as a child the creative juices were always flowing and I wasn’t at all that interested in school because numbers and science never thrilled me. I finished high school top of the class in all of the art subjects and within two years went to University studying Fine Art. An artists journey is never finished and is always terribly exciting not knowing what wonderful things lay around the next corner and what new doors will open next. At the beginning of my career when I entered my first exhibitions I was working with pencil and pastel …… I won a few awards which boosted my confidence to explore other mediums and I did so on my own with no mentor, just dabbled and felt my own way, just the way I like it and I still do that to this day.
My landscape technique is something that has developed over time …… it’s rather interesting and boarders on the line of incomplete. Although I do not look at it at all this way, I do believe that a piece of art becomes more inspiring when it creates mystique and mystery. One that elevates feedback and arouses questions. When a person views an artwork and is automatically part of the piece by having to join a few dots themselves. There is always more interest based on the admirer completing the piece themselves. When painting my latest nudes the overwhelming feedback and excitement came from seeing the piece in WIP stages. The majority of viewers wished for me to stop painting and leave it as part sketch, this always excites me and one of my latest paintings I did just that which turned out wonderful.
I have a fondness for Italian Linen for my latest Oil pieces, I love to work on the natural fibre and the colour enhances both my Landscape and Figurative work, I also work with palette knife in my art …..usually for finishing details where opacity and strong contrast is desired, it also gives a fresh and unscheduled look for any highlights that need to be applied.
I was a landscape painter for years and years starting with fine detail work in oil, capturing a feeling of the moment. Now when I teach my OS Workshops this is what I teach my students en Plein air, capturing an essence of the surrounding mixed with the feelings of the moment …… to explore a new country with paint and to capture feelings of beautiful travels on the canvas. I love this about my Workshops and I love to share my thoughts on life and give my students the most wonderful painting experience ever! I want them to remember special moments of a beautiful painting holiday. Looking forward to teaching my Provence France, Venice Italy and Morocco 2021 Workshops.
Traveling to exotic countries such as Italy and France are enough to inspire any artist to create. These last five years I have focused on studying the figure, an intense study which I have enjoyed immensely and continue to enjoy and learn every aspect of its creation. I have been painting the figure for five years now …… I always loved life drawing and teaching it and for years only focussed on landscape painting, then an awakening as such happened along my journey ……a part of my personal development was unfolding and it included a huge part of my personal life. I had produced the odd commission portrait but it wasn’t until I started painting self portrait pieces that I could evolve as an artist and learn all about the figure at my own pace. It’s very difficult to describe the astonishment to receive such beautiful remarks about my first few pieces, I look back at them and notice so many flaws but it’s all in the learning process…..we never know it all and we learn every day. Now I build a piece from the inside out meaning skeletal recognition, muscle formation and then finding the correct hues for the correct area and then it all just seems to fall into place. I love this study so much and each painting teaches me just that little more. A few of my self portraits have been sold OS but the majority will remain in my collection….. I plan to exhibit them as a whole collection one day as I feel it is very important to keep them together. These self portraits to this day remain an important part of my growth as an artist as well as my recent nude series which I enjoy painting very much, so as you see my love of figurative painting is complemented by my love of landscape painting.
I wouldn’t say my University years taught me to paint but they did give me knowledge of other creative avenues which I explored. My painting knowledge and ability came from the experience of many hours at the easel over the years and it is only through long hours of dedication that you learn discipline and the fine art to achieve at a professional level. Back at University I dabbled with a little of everything, just feeling my way, trying ceramics which I loved, visual arts, sculpture and majoring in Graphic design. Within a few years working in advertising I knew Graphic Design wasn’t for me, especially when the internet came along and everything shifted to computers. So those years taught me the finer detail aspects of all of my work. Back then I loved to illustrate and I still do now …. collecting many drawings for a children’s book about Australian wildlife I will one day publish. Those graphic design days showed me discipline, focus and patience which I implement into my work every day. It’s great to be able to decide how I want to paint each day and the technique I will use ……. shall I paint detail today? or does the subject need to have a fresher appeal with broad paint strokes?
As you know an artists journey takes us through many mediums, many styles and think it is important to listen from beneath the surface and travel along the road of love. Any artist that enters this career with aspects of grandeur and $ has entered the wrong career, don’t get me wrong only years of dedication to what you love will bring rewards in the end and I am not talking necessarily monetary rewards.
My career as an artist is on a professional level…. successfully featuring twice on Australia’s Colour In Your Life TV, Many solo exhibitions over the years as well as feature artist attributing to shared exhibitions and winning many awards in major exhibitions – I have been mentor to many young artists and given lectures at leading secondary education venues – my work has been featured in many magazines including Australia’s Escape Travel & Luxury issue Oct 2019 as well as the lovely French magazine ‘Artistes’ issue July 2019 – I have collectors all over the world including France, Malaysia, New Zealand, America, United Kingdom and Italy – Invitations to tutor Plein air workshops all over the world are continually happening with France May 2021 and Venice June 2021 booked in – Canada and Morocco penciled in for 2022 – Teaching online classes to people all over the world as well as face to face classes in my home studio with 25 years experience.”
Janet: “I am in love with life …… and life loves me back! I am a breast cancer survivor……and I spend my day smiling…. bursting out in fits of laughter when I do something wrong! ….Oops!!”
Where have you exhibited your artwork?
I’ve had the privilege of having featured in many shared exhibitions and several solo exhibitions over the years here in Melbourne, all with successful outcomes. This year, 2021, up and coming solo exhibition here in Melbourne at Market Gallery Prahran, as well as a solo exhibition at Picasso’s Gallery in the United Kingdom later in the year.
What is your speciallity?
My specialism would have to be my figurative work, although continually learning I have spent long hours perfecting my skills as an artist and focusing on perfection as well as concentrating on delivering and painting emotions into the surface of the artwork. I feel that every piece of art is a piece of myself and I strive to create art that is not only visually stimulating but emotionally stirring. People have often asked me why I never showed my face or hid my face away in my series of initial Self Portraits. Back then I never considered the emotional attachment and I would answer “Oh! They will sell better if they are unidentifiable”. If only I knew then what I know now……. It wasn’t until my work was on display at a solo exhibition in Prahran, Melbourne, that I saw all of my pieces together as a collection. I remember a guest at the exhibition approaching me saying “Is this all of your work?” He had an excited expression as if he knew me and his next words moved me in such an indescribable way. He expressed to me that he felt every emotion in every painting as he entered the room…. Wow! As an artist to receive this encouraging and overwhelming feedback is what we strive for as professionals. During the night several other exhibition goers repeated very similar words. I cannot express the complete joy it gave me …… all of the hours spent doing what I love at the easel was rewarded in those words ……so touching that people could feel what I was feeling during that cloudy time in my life. My self portraits and my beautiful dancers although figurative and different subjects they all spelt out the same feelings. All I can say is that the few years leading to my divorce were extremely challenging and I painted every emotion and extremely personal feeling into my work. I’m sure my self portraits arose from a deep protection mode and a way of self love while I experienced the not so good side of life. All I can say is that my life and my dedication to my career has kept my head above water and my recent breast cancer story allocated a new sense of what it means to be alive ‘I was responsible for my own happiness!’ A lust for life as well as living with a huge strong heart will keep my dreams alive……I’ll just keep doing what I love and sharing my emotions on canvas with passionate people.
What materials do you work with?
At this point in my career I am working a majority of the time with Oils because I am enjoying my water soluble Oil. It was so wonderful to shift to this medium after years of breathing in chemicals…….I have discovered it’s lovely personality and it has adapted to me very well. My other love are my Pastels which I constantly teach with during many demonstrations online and normal classes.
Which artist do you admire?
I don’t really have a mentor…..or many artists that inspire me directly concerning my work. I’m quite the individual and I like to flow down my own river so I made a point of never following and I never will…… that way I fumbled and learnt so much on my own by following my own feelings. The world is so full of so many talented individuals that I do get overwhelmed by the amazing talent. In saying that over the years I have always admired Monet’s ability to work with light which is one of my joys, the romance in the colour and the free application to electrify emotion. Yes Monet would have to be one of those artists that makes me say wow!
I could talk forever about the love of what I do ……. it brings me so much joy and completion as an artist. Spending my days at my easel smiling for a reason, knowing that I was always meant to be doing this and sharing my love of life with passion …….
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