Accomplished Australian painter Jane Sankey’s work straddles an inherent traditionalism while being poignantly on-trend. With her passion for Australian native flora and fauna, beautifully rendered in acrylic in rich textural whorls of colour, Jane’s work is integral to a movement that celebrates the natural world, particularly florals.
Blowsy, extravagant blooms feature heavily, a waratah captured in full splay, thick impasto creating expressive texture in the foreground while thinned acrylic is used to layer multiple transparent colours to create depth and complexity behind.
Inspired by her environment, Jane describes the lime canopy of young Jacaranda trees, the flash of sun peeking through swaying branches, or the sense of being dwarfed by a eucalypt forest. And she is quick to talk of her love of colour, clearly evident in her work. Rich without being saturated, she captures the realism of the Australian landscape, the hardy resilience of it.
“I love the freedom that organic subjects give me, because there is room to add my own interpretation and style… Angophora bark; a lichen covered rock – each has its own form but can be interpreted differently.”
Intuitive, colourful and dynamic, Jane’s work is a glorious reflection of the wide brown land we share, an ancient space populated by curious natural beauty suited entirely to its environment.
“The selection of background colours and the energy of the brushstrokes are very important for me as it sets the tone for the painting. For pieces where I want the subject to feel alive and vibrant, I use big gestural brushstrokes in various directions whereas in calmer pieces, the background is often more with thinner paints and slower, more careful brushstrokes to give an even backdrop.
“I paint very intuitively – I don’t sketch out on my canvas but rather I paint directly on and often compose as I go. I think it is this freedom that gives my painting movement and texture as I respond to the colours and marks as they appear. I am not neat: I love the accidental magic that happens when I let my brush-hand drive. I don’t aim for precision but rather for the painting to have shape and energy, with critical characteristics that makes it distinguishable.”
2021 Greenway Art Prize finalist