Jan Lawnikanis

Website Address: http://www.janlawnikanis.com Location: Queensland, Australia

All images © Copyright 2010 of the Featured Artist.

How did you get started in coloured pencil art?

I first started using coloured pencils in 1993. I was taking weekly classes in drawing, then in watercolour, but as I was struggling with the watercolours, my teacher suggested I try coloured pencils. He lent me a book by Morrell Wise and I was astounded at the depth of colour and realism that could be achieved. After my first experiment doing a colour pencil painting, I was hooked! Before I knew it, I was working on large scale still-life works and lapping up every piece of information I could find on coloured pencil art and artists.

What do you love about using coloured pencils in your artwork?

I just can’t help myself- I love detail!! And coloured pencils are perfect for that. Plus, there is something quite meditative about slowly building up layers with a pencil, time seems to stand still. What I also appreciate is the transparency of colour that can be achieved, or, when I want it, richness and depth that resembles paint.

What are your favourite pencils and supports you like to work on?

I really do love the versatility of Prismacolor pencils. As I often work in multiple layers of burnished colours, I have yet to find another brand of pencil that will do the same. As for supports, I have often used the Mi-Tientes paper when I’ve required a coloured background, or hot-pressed watercolour paper for a white background. I have used Stonehenge paper as well, and Fabriano Murillo Board has been my choice for extra large works.

Please tell us about any Awards and Exhibitions you have been featured in.
In the first group exhibition I ever entered, I was delighted to win a Highly Commended Award for my coloured pencil painting of a vegetable still-life. Since then, I have won some first prizes and many other awards for my art, not only in coloured pencils, but in other mediums as well. (I eventually ‘got the hang’ of watercolours!)

In July this year, my solo exhibition ‘Art is the Flower’ was very well received and the coloured pencil florals attracted lots of comments by visitors. “No, they’re not pastels, they’re done with coloured pencils”, I’d explain. “Wow”, they would answer, stepping in closer for another look!

I have been teaching art for almost as long as I have been learning it. Over the last 16 years, I have taught weekly classes and many workshops in coloured pencil. It’s always a thrill to watch students become enthralled with this medium and what can be achieved.

What are your favourite subjects and themes featured in your art?

Still –life’s have been a recurring subject in my coloured pencil art. This is probably because of the creativity that is utilised in the set-up and choice of motifs. It’s such fun! Most of these paintings have been produced from life, so there’s the extra satisfaction of completing the difficult drawing process etc. rather than working from a photograph. Years ago I did a series based on objects with the same sounding words. For example, ‘Plum-ing’ includes plumbing pipe pieces, plums, a plumb line etc. (My strange sense of humour coming through, perhaps?!) I also love flowers and paint them in various mediums. The colours, shapes and textures are so appealing.

Thankyou Jan for letting us all get to know you.
You can visit Jan’s website at: http://www.janlawnikanis.com

Jan is teaching a 4 day coloured pencil workshop at the Brisbane Artists Academé in April 2011. www.brisbaneartworkshops.com.au

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