Spreading color across surfaces spanning over a meter, a Ukrainian artist renders beautiful garden flowers that are larger than life. Using delicate watercolors to transfer nature’s pastels onto the page, her works are stirring the imagination of art lovers from all over.
Born and raised in Odessa, Zhanna Pulcho, 24, was introduced to watercolors in 2013 (while preparing to enter Odessa State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture) by a graduate of Repin Academy of Fine Arts.
“At first it was very hard because he retaught me to paint watercolor; he explained to me all those things which helped me to develop my skills further,” Zhanna, who goes by Janet, told The Epoch Times.
After studying at the academy for 5 1/2 years, she graduated with a master’s degree. In her fourth year, she discovered botanical illustration, a discipline that influenced the huge floral paintings that capture her artistic vision today.
In becoming a professional painter, she fulfilled a childhood dream.
Many of Janet’s compositions feature a scaled-up, stunning bouquet against a softened, often untouched background—displaying in full the complex floral interplay of light, color, and form. She paints from life wherever possible. Janet sometimes creates montage videos of herself working outdoors to share alongside her work on Instagram.
Watercolor is a difficult technique to perfect. “It requires a lot of practice to make a painting look airy, and not heavy,” she said. “I think a professional education is needed for artists who work with watercolors, as well as practice. I paint almost every day.”
She has preferred large-scale work for some time, now working on some surfaces measuring 110 centimeters (43 inches) high. She likes that the pieces are “so big, but tender at the same time.”
Janet reveres flowers for their universal appeal. “When you look at a painting with flowers, it brings out so many thoughts and memories … so many emotions,” she said. “You can remember some nice moments from your life, like the smell of the garden in spring.”
“My favorite flowers are peonies,” she added. “They inspire me most of all … so many people know me because of them.”
One of her personal favorite works is a rendering of poppies, “because it seems to me that this painting ceases to be so realistic and starts to be more abstract,” she said.
On the topic of contemporary art practices, she finds “depressing abstract art” frustrating, believing that if artists insist upon “bringing up problematics,” they should also be prepared to provide answers. “I think that art is supposed to have an inspirational and relaxing effect on people,” she added.
Janet’s fan base is growing. Not only are people attending her exhibitions in Odessa and watching her watercolor tutorials on Instagram, she was “shocked and amazed” when eight of her paintings sold in less than two days.
Janet has hosted three personal exhibitions of her stunning floral art in Odessa, to date. She plans to join the Union of Artists of Ukraine, and start exhibiting overseas.