The Early Years
Karyn Wiggill took an early interest in art and remembers copying pictures onto scraps of paper and pieces of card from story books and reference books from as young as 6 years old, and hasn’t stopped drawing since.
In early years her drawings helped her achieve success with school projects and she achieved a Third Place in a provincial Biology Project competition for High Schools; Karyn was in Standard 6 (Grade 8) at the time. She also won a small art competition held at her school where she won the overall prize for her painting. The judge of the competition was taken with the amount of detail Karyn, even then, produced in her painting.
Karyn grew up in the small town of Virginia in the Free State province where she completed her schooling. Art as a subject was not part of the curriculum and deciding that art would not be a suitable career to pursue, she therefore has no formal qualifications in art. Karyn has a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) and an Advanced Diploma in Labour Law (Rand Afrikaans University – now University of Johannesburg). Her passion for her art was kept alive by drawing regularly and completing several commissions.
The Definitive Turn toward Her Passion for Art
Karyn Wiggill moved to Johannesburg and worked in the Human Resources field for seven years and it was during this period that she received informal oil painting lessons from Nuccia Taylor. (Ms. Taylor was commissioned to paint the portrait of Gen. Jan Smuts, which hangs in a gallery in London.)
Karyn joined the Paint and Palette Society, based in Edenvale, Johannesburg and exhibited at several of the society’s exhibitions.
After the birth of her twins, Karyn Wiggill left the Human Resources field and decided to take her art more seriously. She received several commissions, two of which were oil paintings of leopards measuring 1.5 x 2.5 metres. One of the highlights of her career was receiving a commission by a corporation, to paint the portrait of the late President Nelson Mandela. With the success of this painting, she received a further commission to paint the chairman of the company.
A Love for Detail and Traditional Miniature Fine Art
Due to her love of rendering detail and realistic work, Karyn was encouraged to try traditional miniature fine art*. She joined the Miniature Art Society of South Africa (MASSA) and working almost exclusively in pencil, exhibited at their annual exhibition at Hyde Park Corner, Johannesburg. Exhibiting for the first time, she obtained one of the Highly Commended Awards. She has exhibited at all their subsequent exhibitions and has obtained a further 4 Highly Commended Awards. (See Meritorious). In 2013 one of these awards was voted as “Best on Show” by the public. She currently assists the judging panel for their annual exhibition selection process.
Karyn also decided to enter works internationally.
* “Miniature art has been in existence for centuries tracing its heritage back to the illustrated manuscripts of scribes in the Far East and Europe prior to the 15th century. Subjects should be rendered one-sixth their life-size or smaller. Foremost in importance in contemporary miniature art is the highly skilled and painstaking techniques should be evident upon viewing the artwork. This is often described as the work should hold up well under magnification”. (Association of Miniature Artists).