Janine Mitchell discovered her interest in the art of refined handwriting through a chance meeting with a calligrapher in front of her art school. Her new hobby grew into a passion every time she looked at the perfect letterforms, and she devoured books on calligraphy and all handwritten words available. When Janine moved from Sydney to Melbourne in 1990, she already had considerable experience in decoration, design, and the use of colour gleaned through various arts and constant poring over professional books. In 1994 she attended nearly every workshop offered by the Calligraphy Society of Victoria (CSV) ,but a short course in copperplate unleashed a particular passion for sharp-pointed nib pen lettering, and Janine spent many hours studying penmanship in this specialized field. Janine’s sharp-pointed nib pen lettering continued to evolve through correspondence with overseas calligraphers willing to share their knowledge with this energetic and enquiring young Australian. She constantly seeks to expand her understanding and knowledge in calligraphy and related arts through detailed study and continues to attend courses whenever the opportunity presents itself. Exposure to many tutors and styles has ensured a well-rounded skill base in broad-nib and sharp-pointed nib pen styles in traditional, contemporary and experimental approaches.
Some of the tutors include:
Denis Brown [Ireland], Claude Dieterich [France/US], Peter Gilderdale [NZ], Christopher Haanes [Norway], Susan Hufton [UK], Thomas Ingmire [US], Martin Jackson [Canada], Yves Leterme [Belgium], Brody Neuenschwander [Belgium], Timothy Noad [UK].
Jenny Phillips [Botanical Art], Deirdre Hassed, Dave Wood, Wendy Russell, Jill Colebatch, Lynne Muir, Gemma Black, etc.
Janine is recognized as one of Australia′s foremost practitioners of sharp-pointed nib pen, drawing her inspiration from life, nature and botanical art. She has regularly entered and exhibited calligraphy in Victoria’s premier competition, the Royal Melbourne Show, winning many Best Exhibit, 1st, 2nd and Special prizes. Her work has also been exhibited and sold in shops and galleries across Australia, but more recently has mainly been sold directly through her own Alphabetique gallery.
Since 2001, Janine has been involved in presentations at Government House and other prominent events. Her works are widely used in the movie industry and in the media.
The acquisition of a shop in Melbourne in 2003 provided new opportunities. Janine could now continue her studio work and at the same time host permanent exhibitions, conduct workshops, etc.
Janine is very enthusiastic about educating calligraphers, providing tuition and first-class materials. Her qualifications as a Trainer and Group Facilitator were a great aid in establishing her own Education Centre, providing long-term intensive lettering workshops for students aiming to work at a higher standard. Students worked progressively through a series of modules designed to provide a thorough grounding in calligraphy and its associated disciplines. The program was unique in offering all the major styles in both broad-nib and sharp-pointed nib pen.
Completing a comprehensive book on traditional and contemporary forms of Sharp-Pointed Nib Pen, Janine continues to expand and refine her skills. She travels a lot to work with and learn from world-renowned calligraphy teachers.
2006 provided several opportunities to enrich her calligraphic skills through specific studies devoted to Medieval Manuscripts with Professor Emeritus Margaret Manion and Professor Bernard Muir at Melbourne University, providing a new world of academic exposure to manuscripts. Touching on all aspects of manuscript production, text and image, her studies included Insular books, Psalters, Books of Hours, Breviaries, Bestiaries, Herbals, Health etc. Ongoing studies provided the chance to deepen her understanding of the historic origins of the manuscript book page and its ties to contemporary calligraphy.
Her greatest desire has always been to have more time for her own artistic calligraphy works. One of her passions is painting fur and fine details in insects, animals and decorative elements. Therefore, in early 2007, Janine sold her shop and resumed her commercial activities. At present she aims to share her knowledge with the world and creating chefs d’oeuvre that would demonstrate the sharpness and beauty of the line and motion.