Mixed Media Artist Janelle Nichol

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This article is written by Michelle G. Brown

When I first came across the work of Janelle Nichol work, somewhere on the Internet, I wanted to know more about her. I loved her pieces that I saw; they were delicate and feminine, and with a distinctive look that combines mixed media with fine art painting. I had a chance to catch up with Janelle via Skype so we could chat about her work.

Janelle lives in Alberta, Canada with her family, and I was delighted to discover that Janelle is actually a self-taught artist. While she has always been creative, and also has a previous career in music teaching, she has only been painting and collaging for about five years, and as what she considers “seriously” for three years. Her style includes collage and paints, and she just loves trying things, which fits perfectly under the “mixed media” genre.

mixed media painting by Janelle Nichol

With a focal point around women and children, Janelle’s style has been described as abstract folk art. Her work shows a strength and softness in the same piece. One of her favourite comments from an art show customer was that her work “celebrates women for who they are”!

Janelle’s go-to materials include the full range of mixed media materials, with gesso, paints, tissue paper, gelato’s, intense blocks, sprays, Distressed inks and stains all being part of her collection. Anything that adds texture also features; moulding paste, sequins, glass beads and all sorts of unexpected ephemera can be seen when looking closely at her pieces.

When I asked about Janelle’s mixed media process, she tells me she will often start with a sketch and a vision that includes the images and the mood, feelings and colours of the piece.

Then she creates the background, which can take on a life of it’s own but will stick to the colours and feel in her vision. This maintains the mood Janelle is trying to achieve with each piece. Tracing her sketch onto the mixed media background adds the focal point and Janelle then paints in her figure. Here we can see these steps as this piece “A Meditation” progresses:

mixed media background by Janelle NicholCreating a background

mixed media painting by Janelle NicholSketching in the main figure

mixed media painting by Janelle NicholPainting in the figure

mixed media painting by Janelle NicholDetail hidden in the finished piece

mixed media painting by Janelle NicholThe final piece “A Meditation

Once Janelle has finished a mixed media painting, she will take high quality photos which allows her to turn her paintings into cards and prints. Then Janelle changes to her “business” hat, where her images are added to her website. Janelle does all of the work herself and she likes the balance that being an artist and business women provides. While the paint is drying, Janelle promotes her work through her website and Facebook page, and prepares for the numerous shows she does.

There are a number of shows that Janelle regularly exhibits at and it gives her a chance to engage with the public, as well as meet other artists. The show customers love seeing her work in “real life” as all of the depth and texture always looks better to see a piece of art in person. The shows also give Janelle a chance to put her face to her work and helps the sales process. It has taken a few years to build up to the number of shows Janelle is currently doing.

Our discussion then turned to the future for Janelle. She is currently working on the 2014 Fall shows, along with a book that will include her work with inspiring quotes, “like a coffee table book”, which is currently planned for a Fall 2015 release. Janelle’s head is full of ideas for new mixed media paintings and calendars and so many projects and opportunities, including looking into teaching online classes, as well as a secret “new thing” that is in process but now quite ready to reveal to the world, just yet (she promises we will be amongst the first to know when it’s ready to go!)

Whatever Janelle turns her hands to next, we will certainly be following along.

You can see more of Janelle’s work on her website: JanelleNichol.com or her Facebook page.

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Janelle loves sharing her mixed media process and in this video you can watch her create at least four different backgrounds, with different sized canvases using a variety of mixed media techniques! I lost count of the number of media she uses: gelatos, sprays, inktense blocks, distress inks and stains, paints, tissue paper, markers, gesso, stencils – a that’s just for the backgrounds!!

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Michelle G. Brown is passionate about mixed media art and enjoys sharing her knowledge and techniques with you to allow you to express your own creativity. Michelle understands that many of us have an inner need to create. By learning a few basic techniques the amazing world of mixed media art is accessible to everyone!

Michelle lives with her husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia. When she is not creating or on Facebook, she’s at karate training.

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