Poetic strokes: Johanne Lykke

Artist Johanne Lykke explores the expansive energy of nature in her large-scale vibrant artworks. Here she uses sweeping brush strokes to evoke an energy and a feeling within the viewer to create poetic visuals on paper.

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Greeting Sky

I love the physicality and the tension of working on something bigger than myself. 

I love the scale and vibrancy of your art pieces – what draws you to work on such a large scale? 

I think there is a connection between the sublime in nature and in monumental paintings. There’s an expansive, overwhelming energy to both. I work large-scale because it suits my temper. I love the physicality and the tension of working on something bigger than myself. 

Your work explores the relationship between nature, poetry and abstraction – can you share more on this concept?

I feel inspired by landscapes and flowers. Nature is not necessarily represented directly in my work, but functions more as a muse or underlying theme. I think the idea of nature and its beauty is reflected through my movements with the brush; the colours I choose; the composition and the titles. 

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Collection of works including ‘I am Flower’
Can you share your creative process with us? Where do you find inspiration and what are the next steps ….

Lately, I have been visiting the island where I grew up which is about 1.5 hour away from Copenhagen. I have gone to the countryside to stay and I have been picking wild flowers in the morning. It became a ritual of sorts. I love picking flowers and I love painting and I think the two are connected.

I like to think they communicate something poetic to the viewer


The ratio of water to watercolour paint highlights the contrast between the controllable and uncontrollable – can you expand on this  concept more? 

Watercolour can be challenging to control. The more water you use the harder it is to manage. I have explored high ratios of water through painting “wet-on-wet”, but lately I have worked with a lot less water and leaving white, untouched space on the paper. This creates hard edges between paint and paper and gives a sharp, graphical look.

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Big Head, Big Flower
If your paintings were to communicate with the viewer what message would they send?

I would like to think that they would communicate something poetic to the viewer. An energy, a feeling, a memory of a flower, a visual poem. 

What have been some of the biggest learning experiences you have faced in your work?

To not overthink too much. Just do the work, paint and things will fall into place eventually. 

To view more of Johanne’s work: 

Website: www.johannelykke.com

Instagram: @jolykke

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How The Sun Rose

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