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Artist Under the Microscope

It’s hard not to look at the world a little differently after catching up for a coffee with Janine Mackintosh.

A country girl turned advertising agency producer – Janine gave up a fast-paced city lifestyle six years ago for the slow hum of Kangaroo Island and the immersion of art & native flora.

The decision has paid off. Janine’s intricately detailed circular and patchwork native flora & fauna artworks are highly sought after – a recent exhibition at Hill Smith Gallery in Adelaide sold 21 of 25 pieces before the opening night. However, deeper than her success as an artist is Janine’s obvious contentment with her decision to get back to nature.

The self-proclaimed “botanical xenophobe” now rarely leaves her 800 acre sanctuary on KI – her home, her work and her happiness are all at her fingertips there.

“I struggle to know what day of the week it is. Holidays don't exist anymore”

“The weather dictates what we should do – you notice the seasons much more that way. We don’t even have a clock in the bedroom.” she said.

Partner Richard is an entomologist – a skill that also benefits Janine’s work as she scours their acres of KI bush for leaves, flowers, bones, bark, echidna quills, gumnuts, shells and other found items for her next piece.

“I like to tell people about the work – Richard can tell me what insect has eaten a certain leaf and I can document that and share it with the owner. Giving people the information about the art is an important part of it.”

Passionate about native flora, Janine laments its widespread destruction – “even on KI there is only about 50 per cent native bushland left. In Adelaide it’s only four per cent” – and recognises her work often appeals to busy people looking to reconnect with nature, just as she once was.

“I’m incredibly lucky – what I am doing just suits me so well.”

Janine’s work is exhibited regularly at the Hill Smith Gallery, 113 Pirie Street, Adelaide. www.hillsmithgallery.com.au