Teensoul writer Madeleine Ang recently caught up with our artist of the week, Jan Naylor, and sat down with her to have a chat about painting, creativity and Jan’s source of inspiration.
What is art to you?
Art is my sanity saver. Having to retire early from a career in education to become a full-time carer for an aged parent suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has given me the opportunity to develop my artistic tendencies. I am a self-taught artist who has always dabbled in art: painting, forming sculptures, even writing poetry and a couple of unpublished novel. Art is a way to keep my brain alert by learning something new and giving me goals to achieve while confined to the home environment. I now find art is now a necessity in my life. I constantly think about how I can create a work, pondering existing projects and considering the potential for the new. It is a need I have in my life, like breathing and eating. If I’m not physically engaged in creating or caring then I am linking about art.
What do you enjoy about art?
Apart from giving me a focus away from the role as carer, I enjoy seeing my ‘imaginings’ come to being. I like honing my existing skills and applying new knowledge to my work. The fact that the unplanned or serendipity can also enhance my work or send me off on a tangent adds to my enjoyment.
What inspires your work?
Wow, what an extensive list! What doesn’t inspire me. Basically life experiences punctuated by language especially poetry and quirky sayings. Then again inspiration can come from an image seen in the media. Who knows what will grab my attention: other artists, I have even seen possibilities in the wiggly repair lines on the roads of late. I also like ‘tossing’ paint on the canvas and seeing what appears from the mix. So many ideas and not enough time. At the moment I like creating patterns, getting ‘lost’ in the repetition of design (I am also restricted by work space). My patterns are based on a set of simple shapes and principles. I challenge myself never to repeat a line of pattern within each piece. It is amazing how many variations can be made.
Who inspires your work?
The originality of the Australian artist Ian Fairweather, Ken Done’s vibrant use colour and the sheer audacity of Jackson Pollock in his technique.
How long do you spend on your paintings?
My intricate hand-drawn pattern work takes a considerable period of time just to draw: months and months depending on size. Then if I colour them with multiple layers of transparent acrylic glazes this can add at least another month. I can only produce two or three of this type of work each year because of the time it takes. Then some other freer pieces can be produced over a number of weeks not allowing for drying and final curing plus protective varnishing. My sculpture work can take years as, for these, I tend to collect disposable items as the principle material source.
What message does your art portray? My pattern work conveys that all learning can be acquired by looking for pattern. It is basic human nature to look for pattern when attempting to solve any problem. Generally, my work has layers which when one peers deeper into the layers and textures more and more is revealed. Learning and understanding requires some effort, all is not immediately obvious.
Do you ever sell your art?
I have sold a small number of pieces. I enter a few art competitions each year. I initially won the City of Melville Art Award 2013 which inspired me to continue in the vein. Since then I often sell my work via the competitions (informed that I sell my work too cheaply). I recently have had the opportunity to exhibit my work at the Technology Park Function Centre Bentley and have sold some pieces from this venue. Of course, some friends have supported me and have made some purchases. I get a huge confidence booster when my work is either sold at a competition even just accepted to exhibit.
What sort of materials do you use?
I use India ink for my hand-drawn patterns and acrylic paint in general. I often like to collage found materials onto my paintings for added texture and interest. I also make collections of found materials for sculptural works which I am just beginning to develop.
Where can we see some of your work?