Following a career in teaching literature, theater and art, Jan began her pursuit of botanical painting in 2005, focusing her attention on the close observation of plants rendered in colored pencil. Since then, she has shown her work regularly in group and solo exhibits in California and abroad.
As a member of the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California Jan has participated in various activities and shows, including the Artist at Work demonstrations at The Getty Center in conjunction with the Gardens of the Renaissance exhibit. She also exhibited work in the BAGSC-organized adjunct exhibition to Weird, Wild & Wonderful: The New York Botanical Garden Second Triennial Exhibition. The exhibit was a group show presented by the botanical gardens of the Huntington. Her paintings were also on exhibit with BAGSC artists in Cornucopia: A Botanical Art Exhibit of Edible Plants at the San Diego Botanic Garden. In 2015, Jan’s work was included in the 17th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition at Filoli. Additionally that year, her paintings were included in the Botanical Art Vernissage at the Masseria Montenapoleone, Brindisi, Italy.
Jan has studied with botanist, botanical artist and Jepson Manual illustrator Linda Ann Vorobik, with botanical colored pencil artist and teacher Ann Swan, and most intensely with botanical painter Margaret Best.
Look at the details! As a high school English teacher, I knew that besides an appreciation for obvious beauty, the art of understanding literature involved close reading and attention to subtlety. Looking closely became second nature—both in reading books and regarding the world around me. It seemed natural for me to see the details, the small things—often unnoticed or even disregarded by the casual observer.
The early focus of my botanical painting was leaves, twigs, branches and other bits that had been shed or fallen to the ground in the course of a plant’s life cycle. I often prefer to concentrate on detritus, such as pods, seeds, and leaves starting to lose living color and take on a broad range of subtler shades. But I have grown to appreciate the vivid colors of fresh specimens from oak or eucalyptus groves, gardens and backyard fruit trees.
If I could offer any lessons I’ve learned from looking intently at these common details, it is that the closer I look the more beauty I see.