Artist Q&A Najjar-Aza

The bold wings of a monarch butterfly unfurl across the canvas.

Black accents and white trim make the glowing orange stand out. This interplay between the colors is what made inspired artist Nadine Najjar-Azar to capture it in oil paint.

“I like the contrast between light and shadows,” she said. “I feel like it creates a mood, when you have such a contrast between the lights and the darks.”

Najjar-Azar’s piece was chosen as the winner of the Greater Greenwood Arts Council’s Art Uncorked effort. Her painting will grace bottles of Mallow Run Winery’s 2015 Artist Series Release, a dry white blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier with flavors of honey, melon, orange blossom, pineapple and spice.

A portion of the proceeds of each bottle sold goes to the arts council to support creativity in the Greenwood area. The wine is available for purchase at Mallow Run.

What was the inspiration for this painting?

The theme was “Artistry of Butterflies.” We go a lot to the (Indianapolis Zoo) and they have the butterfly pavilion. I’m not a big fan of the insect world, so I didn’t want to put the body of the butterfly in it; I just loved the wings, so that’s why I zoomed in on the wings.

What was it about art that you felt drawn to?

It makes me happy. When I’m painting or drawing, I feel like I’m in my old world, and I become less aware of what’s going on around me. It brings me joy.

How long have you been painting?

Since 2010, that was the very first time. I took a class on oil painting at the Broad Ripple Art Center. I’ve always been interested in it, and then someone told me about the Southside Art League. So I’ve taken watercolor, oil painting and drawing classes.

Is art something you’ve always done?

I’ve always been interested in art, but my parents wanted me to have a degree to fall back on if that didn’t work. So I actually have a master’s degree in nutrition.

What is your focus in your artwork?

I like to paint florals and bright colors, and I really enjoy painting young children. I have two kids, and my daughter does ballet. Every time I take photographs of her, I love to paint them. It looks so pretty.

What is your favorite medium to work in?

I don’t know what media I like best yet. I don’t think I’ve done any of them long enough to know yet. I really enjoy both the oil and watercolor, and sometimes I do pen-and-ink drawings. I find that’s easier — you don’t have to set up an environment, you can do it anywhere.

Do you have a method when you start painting?

I feel that I have to be in a mood. If it ever becomes my work that I do for a living, I’d have to overcome that and stimulate it. But I feel like I have to feel my painting to be productive.

— Ryan

Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.