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THE ARTS

Following

the Light

A

w ritten by SHERIL BE NNE T T TURNER photo g raphed by BRIAN ERKE NS

s morning sunlight filters through the windows

mersed herself in German culture, painted, and sold her

of a studio a young artist stands at her easel.

work on the streets of the art district. In Munich she met

Rising early, new Greer resident Janina Tukarski

and fell in love with Joseph Ellis, a South Carolina native.

Ellis will then paint for up to five hours straight. It is the

When his job with BMW transferred him to Greer, Janina

play of light in relation to color and texture that fascinates

returned with him and became his wife.

her and that she shares in her impressionist paintings of

Janina’s lifelong mentoring and critique by her moth-

landscapes, still life, and abstracts. “I’ll see a light hitting

er, coupled with her intense private study of technique,

something normal and everyday, like a flower pot or a

color and form, has helped develop her unique style of

broom, but when it’s illuminated it becomes beautiful,” explains Janina. Starting with a digital photograph, Janina first creates charcoal sketches and plans out the colors and lighting for her painting. With acrylic paints, she then brushes her canvas, blocking in the features to imply where things are. When the brushed layer is dry, using a palette knife, Janina scrapes across the canvas very lightly to create textured a feel. Again using the palette knife she smears paint on to create detailed color, light, and texture. “I don’t blend the colors at all on my paintings”, she says. “In impressionism the eye blends for you.” A third generation artist — her maternal grandmother was an oil painter and her mother is an accomplished painter, as well as well-known scrimshander — Janina spent her first 14 years in Munich, Germany. Living on an American military

impressionism. “I consider myself to be a happy painter,”

base with her mother, father, and three sisters, the family

Janina expresses. “My paintings have a lot of light in

traveled throughout Europe. A highlight for Janina was

them. I want them to be beautiful and positive. I try to

visiting museums where her style was influenced by the

capture what I see, the way I feel, whether it’s a color, an

great impressionist masters such as Mary Cassatt. In the

object, or just the light itself as a focal point.” Janina’s

United States, Janina finished high school then graduated

paintings can be found in galleries in Greer, Greenville,

from Oral Roberts University, but her passion for paint-

and Spartanburg — but all you really have to do to find

ing convinced her to return to Munich. There she im-

her is follow the light. d GreerNow DECEMBER 2006

79

06-12 Following the Light  

GreerNow Magazine

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