it was tough to find any information about Janel Lessing once i discovered these photos taken of her for LIFE in 1961. she seems to have been some kind of child artist prodigy, certainly worthy enough to have an entire editorial shot at her home. she’s probably around 10 or 11 years old in these photos, and her love for art is clear from the look on her face when she’s immersed in her work.
“Lessing did much of her best work at the ripe old age of 13, with sight so near she drew at 6 inches. But in despair later in life, she threw her entire personal collection away.” Bloch Gallery
“Children of twelve have boundless imaginations and prodigious talents. Such a child is Janel Lessing. Her hand and eye are quick and facile. But at this point her talent is imitative. The Calder-like fantasy drawings are very good. She draws skillfully and balances shapes artfully, but if she is not soon exposed to flowers and snails and starfish and moved to draw them too, she will remain an illustrator.” – ArtForum, 1962