Our very first Member Challenge concluded at the end of March, and we were quite excited at the submissions we received. We really do have amazing talent in South Africa!
We chose two of our submitting artists as our featured artists for April and May and I am honoured to share a little about them.
Karyn Wiggill from Edenvale in Gauteng is known for her detailed miniatures and striking graphite work. Her website is a feast for the eyes and it was great to make contact with her.
Karyn can remember drawing from as young as the age of 6, and admits that art has been a lifelong passion. She didn’t study art however.
“At the time I wasn’t sure of what job security I would have, so I decided to study human resource management, as I was always passionate about helping people. The hesitation to study art, may also have stemmed from the fact that there was no option to take art as a subject in high school. I grew up in the small Free State town of Virginia and art was not part of the subject choices available.”
Despite this she was always doing commissions and drawing and later also received oil painting lessons from Nuccia da Paoli. After the birth of her twins she left corporate scene and decided to take art more seriously.
“I am fortunate to be a full-time artist, but trying to grow my art into a business, as my first priority was to be a stay-at-home mom for the first few years when I stopped working full time as a Human Resource Practitioner.”
Soon Karyn was receiving more commissions and she admits that even though its sometimes tough, she does everything in her power to meet the client’s requests.
“For example,’ she says, ‘the commission from Investec was for 50 miniature drawings of 16mm in size and they had to be completed in 2 months. Getting up at 4am or going to be at midnight was not uncommon.”
Miniature art really intrigues me, so I had to ask Karyn to tell us a little more about that.
“I’ve been doing miniature art now for about 11 years and I can attribute miniature art to the detail I now achieve in my larger drawings. Miniature Art is fine art that has it’s origins as far back as Greek civilisation, but more commonly from the illuminated manuscripts created by monks in the Middle Ages. Also well known for use before photography, especially by portrait painters such as Holbein and Hilliard. The definition is that it must be able to be held in the palm of your hand and must be executed in fine detail and viewed under a magnifying glass.”
The tiny drawings on Karyn’s website are astounding – its definitely an Exhibition we have in mind for the Guild, and we are now even more inspired to pursue!
Her proudest moment as an artist was receiving her first international award for her miniature art. Karyn was awarded ‘Best Work by a Young Artist’ at the Miniature Art Society of Florida exhibition in Florida, USA. Soon after she achieved Full Membership at the Royal Miniature Society in the UK.
I ask Karyn about her experience during lockdown last year and she shyly admits that she actually didn’t mind being home and able to draw at all. She quickly adds though that her artistic dream has changed a lot. While it used to be important to her to be a well-known artist, she now hopes to earn enough as a full-time artist to help support her family.
Karyn’s favourite medium?
“Pencil of course, and my trusted brand is Faber Castell 9000 series. My preferred paper is 300gsm Fabriano Artistico hot pressed paper.”
If we were blown away by Karyn’s entry ‘Strung Along’, we were even more bowled over by her attention to detail – whether she is drawing in miniature or on large scale. It makes us extremely excited for the future of The Drawing Guild, connecting with other artists and showcasing the amazing talent in our country. Thank you for giving us a little look into your studio Karyn!