Australian artist Lynette Orzlowski expresses her love of horses and wildlife through her dynamic portfolio. See more of this artist’s award-winning portfolio by visiting her website.
Growing up in the Yarra Valley in rural Victoria, Australia, I was surrounded by wide open spaces, farm animals and lots of native bushland. I had a strong desire to draw and paint the animals that I spent hours studying while they grazed in the paddocks or were being milked in the sheds on those early mornings.
Horses were my greatest love. From a young age, I would always be excited to see my father ride up to the house from working all day herding the cattle from the far back paddocks of the thousand-acre property that he managed. He rode a big buckskin gelding named Cappy and the farmhand that helped him rode a beautiful Palomino named Shammy. This was the start of me nagging my parents for my own pony one day. They finally caved in to my wish, and I received my first pony at age eleven.
When asked as a small child what I wanted to be, I would say, “When I grow up, I want to be a famous artist.”
At age six I entered my very first art competition. It was a colouring competition for Johnson & Johnson. I won first prize! Surprised and thrilled with winning, I believe that this event was the seed that started me on my journey to becoming an artist.
Although I had talent, family members politely told me that this quest to make a living as an artist was not an option—that you had to be dead to be known—and that I needed to look for a “real” job. I believed them. I began exploring a variety of new and exciting jobs to try and find something that would give me the same satisfaction as making art.
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Along the way I worked as a cashier at a supermarket, as a waitress at different restaurants, as a manager in a McDonald’s, pizza cook, butcher’s assistant, ticket writer for fresh produce and art store assistant. I finally found myself creating signage and ran a successful sign shop for nineteen years.
In 1997, I learned to use an airbrush and went on to become one of Australia’s leading commercial airbrush artists. I completed works on hot rods, boats, motorbikes, horse floats and a number of other items. This led to winning awards for my work as well as for my clients. During this time, I also taught students how to use the airbrush in twice-weekly classes at Victoria University in Melbourne.
In 2007, I started to move away from the demands of commercial art in the direction of fine art. I began trying a number of different mediums, such as pastel, acrylic, ink, watercolours and oils.
Being a self-taught artist, I was always testing the boundaries of these new mediums. I found that my paintings started to have a life of their own—choosing the medium to be painted in. This is why I believe my work looks so diverse; each painting tells its own story. Whenever I begin an animal portrait, I always start with the eyes. In this way, I try to capture the character and beauty of the subject.
Equine and wildlife are my preferred subjects. I have shown my work in numerous solo and group shows, both nationally and internationally. I use photographs that I have personally taken and I also work with professional photographers, bringing their inspired photos to life in paint.
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