Janet Pulcho is an esteemed Ukrainian artist renowned for her expansive watercolor canvases that predominantly explore the poetic realm of floral aesthetics. As a distinguished member of the Union of Artists of Ukraine, her artistic journey has traversed the hallowed halls of the famed K. Kostandi School and then to the Odesa State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture on the faculty of Fine Arts. In this academy, she had a teacher from Repin Academy, and attained a masters degree. She then extended her journey to the venerable Florence Academy of Arts. Currently calling Florence, Italy, as her residence, she actively engages in exhibitions, with my works gracing private collections across the globe, from the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain to Austria, Australia, the Philippines, Portugal, India, and, of course, Ukraine.
In an exclusive interview with ConsiderBeyond, Pulcho shares the transformative odyssey that led her to become a luminary in fine art. From her early days at the K. Kostandi Art School to refining her skills at the Florence Academy of Arts, Pulcho's artistic evolution is a testament to her dedication and passion.
CB: We are captivated by the allure of your exquisite watercolor masterpieces; could you provide insight into the trajectory that led you to a career in the realm of fine art?
Janet Pulcho: My artistic odyssey commenced at the age of 16, embarking on an enlightening sojourn through the corridors of the esteemed K. Kostandi Art School in Odesa. This transformative experience set the stage for a profound exploration of the discipline, a journey that unfolded with scholarly pursuits at the academy and further refinement at the Florence Academy of Arts. Nurturing my craft under the guidance of a seasoned watercolor virtuoso, a Repin Academy of Fine Arts graduate, proved instrumental in cultivating my affinity for the medium. The subsequent academic immersion and exploration of botanical illustration during my tenure at the academy provided the crucible for developing the expansive floral tapestries that characterize my current oeuvre.
Janet's canvases bloom with a vibrant array of flowers and fruits, offering a respite from the chaos of the world. "There is enough ugliness in the world, and I believe that my paintings can bring something beautiful and inspiring to other people's lives," she reflects.
Delving into her process, Janet explains her meticulous approach to composition and color. With a keen eye for observation and a vast collection of botanical photographs, she weaves narratives that transcend the canvas. The foundation of her compositions is intricately woven through assiduous observations, harmonizing her proficiency in art history with an assemblage of botanical photographs meticulously amassed during her leisurely explorations in all the botanical gardens she visits.
CB: Has your passion for painting been a lifelong companion? What drew you specifically to the ethereal medium of watercolor?
Janet Pulcho: The genesis of my artistic dalliance with watercolors finds its roots in the recesses of childhood memories, an indistinct yet pervasive presence. While my academic pursuits primarily embraced oil and graphite at the academy, my infatuation with watercolor persisted, ultimately blossoming into a predominant focus approximately a decade ago.
CB: Your watercolors exude vibrant hues; what techniques are instrumental in achieving such luminosity in your artwork?
Janet Pulcho: In my artistic endeavors, I exclusively employ professional watercolor pigments, a deliberate choice ensuring the enduring vibrancy of hues over time. The alaprima technique, coupled with layered detailing, forms the crux of my approach. My instructional endeavors on the Patreon platform offer aficionados a deeper understanding of these techniques, underscoring the importance of a methodical plan in the watercolorist's craft.
CB: How has the transition from Ukraine to Italy influenced your artistic process?
Janet Pulcho: Undoubtedly, the transition from Ukraine to Italy had a profound impact on me. I made the decision to leave due to military operations and aggression from Russia, and in just one day, the war completely reshaped my life. Closing down my atelier in Odessa and relocating all my belongings became an urgent necessity. Everything came to a halt in that single day, including air travel and postal services. With only a small bag packed, I left the country. Describing my emotional state as devastated would be an understatement.
During my initial months in Florence, the echoes of war haunted me, as the sounds of rockets and explosions from Odessa lingered in my ears. Anyone who experiences such sounds will carry the memory forever. Despite the challenges, my love for Italy predates the war, and I had always believed that being here would contribute positively to my mental well-being. The abundance of museums and an extensive collection of Renaissance paintings played a pivotal role in initiating a new phase of my creative journey.
The transition from Ukraine to Italy wasn't just a change of scenery for Pulcho; it was a response to the turmoil of war. "The war affected my life completely in just one day," she shares.In Italy, amidst the echoes of Renaissance art, Pulcho found solace and inspiration. The rich artistic tapestry of Florence provided the backdrop for a new chapter in her creative process.
CB: You have a very supportive community that follows your artwork, how do you sustain the motivation to share your artistic journey?
Janet Pulcho: Social networks have become integral to my profession, with Instagram playing a crucial role in elevating my popularity and providing a platform to showcase my art to a global audience. On average, I receive more than a million views per month, a feat surpassing what a traditional gallery might offer. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all my collectors, who have invested in my original paintings, and to my fans, whose encouraging comments and support in purchasing limited edition products contribute significantly to my existence and artistic growth.
CB: A recent painting you shared on your instagram took you more than 100 hours to complete. Could you unveil the sanctum of your daily studio routine and the temporal investment in your craft?
Typically, completing one large painting requires approximately 80-100 hours of meticulous work. This is why each of my paintings is unique – a product of the time I invest in bringing them to life. Contrary to the belief that a masterpiece can be created in just a couple of days with the right inspiration, I strongly disagree. Recently, I embarked on a new series of paintings. Although I began sketching ideas for this series a year and a half ago, it took me some time to muster the inspiration to kickstart the project. Hence, before unveiling the first two paintings from the 'Renaissance' series, I meticulously crafted seven paintings in a new style, introducing expressive strokes and incorporating more abstract elements into the backgrounds. Witnessing the evolution of my paintings and recognizing the time it sometimes takes to achieve a desired outcome is something I find immensely gratifying.
Every stroke on a Pulcho canvas is a dance with time. Her dedication to a new series, "Renaissance," underscores the meticulous planning and dedication that goes into each creation.
CB: You recently announced that you have been working on something new! Could you tell us a bit about the process of creating a new concept and launching a product?
Janet Pulcho: As we approach the end of 2023, I'm excited to share that I've already unveiled two paintings from the Renaissance series, and I'm hopeful to complete the third before the year concludes. This unique series involves a meticulous analysis of Renaissance paintings viewed through the lens of my oversized floral compositions. It's a project I find particularly inspiring, and you can follow the creation of these paintings on my Instagram or through my website at https://janetpulcho.com.
In addition to the paintings, I've also introduced an exclusive collection of silk scarves featuring my artwork. Limited to just 50 pieces, this design and print will remain one-of-a-kind and won't be reproduced. A few pieces are still available for purchase, providing you with the opportunity to own a piece of this exclusive collection.
CB: Can you share a lesson you have learned through your practice that may serve as a beacon for emerging artists?
Janet Pulcho: To fellow artists, my sincere advice is never to cease your creative journey. Embrace the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and strive to develop your unique artistic voice. Unfortunately, the current art market is saturated with low-quality pieces, leaving many exceptional artists overlooked—a disheartening reality. My primary counsel is to actively engage in social networks as a means to promote your own artwork. In a landscape flooded with various creations, it's crucial to ensure your distinctive artistic expression is not overshadowed.