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The Friday Files - by The Callen Collective

Currently meeting the artists of the Mornington Peninsula

This week I bring you a very interesting artist, Ijlal Olguner.

Ijlal (pronounced “Ishlal”) is a fine artist working in oils and oil pastel. Her paintings are expressive, figurative works depicting people. Ijlal’s work is very emotive and challenges us to see real life, genuine people, their condition and their emotions. These people and their situations are not always happy, pretty or beautiful, but they are honest.

Ijlal's work portrays social commentary, discomfit, life's ugliness and unconventional beauty. Her paintings are often address societal, environmental and political issues.


Using oils and oil pastels is a long process, often taking weeks or months to complete the artwork. A process of preparation, sketches, planning, layers, lines, washes and details to communicate her ideas. Her paintings and drawings often use under layers slightly offset from the main drawings/painting layers on top which gives the impression of movement and shifting lines through the layers below.


With Ijlals permission, I have included some examples of her work in this post, so you can see what I mean. Her work featured in Art Edit, 2021, Edition 27, pages 54 & 55. In March of this year, Ijlal was the recipient of the Flanagan Artist in Residence prize, which entailed being an “artist in residence” for a period of 4 weeks at St Patrick College, Ballarat. A great experience and opportunity to work in the artist space at the school, discuss her work with the students and work closely with them to complete the piece that was ultimately acquired by the school.


With the experience of her fine art background, Ijlal uses the finest materials in her work. Her canvases are meticulously prepared. Her palettes are laid out in order of warm and cool colours. She mixes her mediums to the finest accuracy measuring the percentages of medium (oil), to artist turpentine to achieve the “fat” required of the medium at the stage of the painting.


From a process perspective, Ijlal paints in the traditional manor of “fat over lean”, which in case you are wondering, means the thinnest mediums are mixed with the pigment for the first layers of the painting. As the painting proceeds, and layers are built up on the painting, the ratio of fat to lean is gradually increased. The reason for this is so that the underlayers dry quickly. The upper, "fatter" layers will be the slowest to dry or cure and won’t crack as the painting ages.


Ijlal and I had a fantastic, long conversation about art the universe and everything in between. I can’t bring it all to you here. However, a fast five questions and answers will give you a little insight into Ijlal that you won’t find in her artist bio!

  • Favourite food is undoubtably chocolate.

  • Best art tool is her hands. She loves painting with her hands (and these days uses gloves);

  • Ijlal is a teacher. While she is a qualified art teacher, she chooses not to teach art!

  • She listens to all kinds of music (depends on her mood) when she paints and love to dance and sing.

  • Personal best is achieved when she’s been working or battling with an idea or painting for a while and suddenly all the pieces fall into place - and it works. This is such an exhilarating moment and very satisfying.

I have included some links to Ijlal’s work. You can find more of Ijlal's artwork at the following links:

Instagram: @iolguner50

Facebook: @iolguner56

Ijlal Olguner will be exhibiting at the upcoming Peninsula Studio Trail Inc Annual Exhibition for 2022. Details here.

And look out for her at the Open Studio weekends in November.


Images from left to right: Ijlal's palette laid out in warm and cool tones

"Graeme" Oil on canvas; "OMG! I'm in Vogue!" Pastel on paper.


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