Whimsical watercolour wonders

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Like a fairy, she sits in her cosy art nook, surrounded by plants, flowers and watercolours, creating the most exquisite and delicate artworks. Amy-Jane Jenkins is mesmerising the Instagram world, adding little touches of magic with her business, Little Jane Florals.

Her first artistic achievement was winning a Barbie set in a colouring in competition at the old Spur in downtown Ballito when she was four-and-a-half years old. “I was always obsessive about colouring neatly and inside the lines, which I suppose most children at that age aren’t too concerned about,” chuckles Amy-Jane, as we sit in her quaint Umhlanga flat where she lives with her high school sweetheart and husband, Quentin.

It was always clear that art was in her blood and so she went on to study traditional fine art at Rhodes University, which oddly enough ended up taking her on an entirely different path. “I hated fine art. It was so boring and not at all inspiring or creative. Luckily, I chose journalism as an arbitrary subject and ended up loving it. When I got into my second year of journalism, I dropped fine art and went into communication design.”

Amy-Jane continued painting in her dorm room, but had to swap her beloved oil paints for watercolours, as the turpentine fumes did more than just clean the paintbrushes in the small space. “I would get ‘zonked out’ from the turps! I fell in love with watercolours though, and ended up making a non-commercial watercolour magazine for one of my projects.” Little did she know that her love for watercolour painting would one day become a flourishing business.

“I put up a post on Instagram of one of my floral watercolour paintings and it just blew up! People started contacting me for orders – I couldn’t believe it!” She quickly changed her account name to Little Jane Florals, which now, almost a year later, has become a small commission-based art business. “Generally, people order paintings as a gift for a loved one or a spoil for themselves. I’m busy with a commission of a Hadeda at the moment, which is so funny! Portraits of cats with flower crowns and floral wreaths are quite popular and I’m also working on another cool commission of a woman and her husband touring with their Land Rover and a giraffe pool floaty on the back. It’s really fun!”

Lately, Amy-Jane says, she has also been working on mastering the art of painting body organs, as doctors have commissioned paintings of a heart and a brain (with flowers, of course) for their rooms. “The weirdest one I have done was a big tooth with flowers for a dentist. I think flowers have become my signature touch and will always make their way into my paintings. People often say I am like a flower . . . loud and orange,” laughs the flaming red head. Regardless what she is painting, the 26-year-old creative (and school teacher by day) says she feels incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to create little works of art for others. “It is so special to come home from work and start painting.

Watercolours are really relaxing and it’s beautiful to watch it move and dry. I love how you can manipulate them and how forgiving they really are! If you make a mistake, you just add more water.”

The Danville Park Girls High School art teacher is also excited to start experimenting more with digital drawing as well. “We are lucky to have been given an iPad with a special pen to draw digitally at school and I can’t wait to get started and explore the options with digital design. Having the opportunity to be creative, both at work with my pupils and at home with Little Jane Florals, is truly special. I literally get to paint my day away, which is an absolute blessing!”
Details: Instagram: littlejaneflorals

Text: Elana Wagner | Photographs: Chris Allan Photo | Hair and Makeup: Volenti Laurentina | Dress: Kathrin Kidger Designs

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