The breadth of skills exhibited by our speakers seems to know no limit and we were delighted to welcome Jane Lazenby last night and it is no exaggeration to say that all those who attended were entirely blown away.
As way of an introduction Jane has an impressive array of qualifications including – BA Hons, ASEA, SAAPA, QTFE2, UKCPS, LRPS, BPE3*, CPAGB, LMPA and EFIAP.
Jane is a graduate with a Fine Art degree and began her artistic path as a portrait painter. During her studies, unsurprisingly, she became acquainted with the work of, amongst many others, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Klimt, Mucha, Degas, Stubbs and the pre-Raphaelites. As our understanding of the creative skills grows then so does our vocabulary and the word Chiaroscuro became familiar to us (the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting) in particular Jane invited us walk with her to understand the use of chiaroscuro as defined by her chosen exponents.
We began with the rebellious, and often naughty, Caravaggio, often vilified for painting subjects with dirty feet when kneeling before Christ. Such boundaries were attractive to Jane and her stylised image of a model with dolls drew on the frail mental condition that, indeed has been the misfortune of many during the Covid 19 pandemic.
Our attention was drawn to the soft skin tones, hand gestures and implied signals as shown in the image of the Madonna and Child with an extraordinary overly bright background.
The was the start of our journey – Rembrandt was bound to feature and his well-known style with glorification of the ordinary and imperfections was used by Jane in photographing and making more “painterly” a beautiful girl with long auburn hair stroking a horse, she described her own studio film sets, prepared at much effort, to create certain desired effects. This led on to Klimt, the son of a goldsmith raised amongst wealth, brightness and society but with that latent rebel nature and here Jane’s translation of his work into the photographic arena, became apparent. Alphonso Mucha was probably somewhat different from Jane’s other painters in that he was an illustrator and graphic designer, of Czech origin, his extraordinary and often fairy tale, decorative art appeals as it gives Jane the opportunity to create props and bring together beads and long flowing hair which she deliberately flattened in Photoshop – a Grecian feel was realised with decorative green ivy.
The well-known Edgar Degas, who is best known for his dancers, also painted nudes and racehorses and Jane’s work with a dance class brought out some amazing studies of movement, form, shadow and clever lighting, she admitted to us here that use of the Photoshop add-on, Topaz, has brought out the best in this section of her portfolio. George Stubbs was her next choice, so famous for his accurate and exciting portraits of racehorses, so well observed due to his anatomical studies. It is not often noticed that his paintings were 1/3 landscape – how wonderful to see his famous picture of Gimcrack – a racehorse whose name has now entered the English language. She has reproduced in a photograph his study of Whistle Jacket. Jane’s horse photos with her own painted doves provides us with an unfinished story, again an aspect of her varied work. Who will forget a Stallion frightened by a lion? Jane photographed the lion’s head at the Doncaster Wildlife Park.
Finally we enter the world of fantasy, myth with legend and storytelling – entering Camelot with naturalism, colour and texture – empty bird cages showing symbolism, the transience of life and the world of dreams – here we meet the pre-Raphaelites which, clearly, provides Jane the opportunity to exhibit her skills observing beauty, a woman in red lying in water, the apple thief, the horse eating a trug of apples picked by the maiden, Wuthering Heights, a dray horse, Lady Godiva in the streets of Coventry, Medieval Knights and Ophelia.
Our speaker tells us of her style as a narrator, often around the family, using legends as symbols and stunning costumes and the recurring Chiaroscuro to elicit mood and stimulate the observer’s thoughts of the background story.
Without doubt the great ideas and creativity that we saw this evening combines both her own wonderful imagination, great skill and perception combined with a unique flare but, also the hours and hours that must have been put into her mastery of Photoshop. Like many of our friends in the world of photography she is supreme when passing on her hard-won talents and tips and the final segment of the meeting was enriched with three examples of live edits, using PS. It was emphasised during this demonstration the importance of customising brushes etc. in order to fulfil the demands of post camera processing. All of these were at Jane’s fingertips converting the mundane to the superb.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening which will stimulate much thought amongst our members. As usual we recommend a visit to her web sites:-
And also, as pointed out by new member Tony, try INSTAGRAM