Jan Wirtz, Landscapes and Portraits

Jan Wirtz belongs to that rare breed of artists who can produce both stunning landscapes and evocative portraiture with equal facility. For the former, her preferred medium is watercolor, while the figurative pieces are largely rendered in airbrushed acrylic.  Both styles are impeccably executed and reveal her deep background in art education.  
During the month of August 2013, a wide variety of Jan's work was shown 
at Main Street Artists Gallery including local landscapes as well as Southwestern themes.  
A native Californian, Jan's talent was recognized by her art teachers as early as grade school  and, as she continued to improve, she was encouraged to experiment with different styles.  However, a brief foray into abstract art ended abruptly when, unhappy with the results, she shredded the canvas with box cutters.  From that point, she concentrated on perfecting her technique with watercolors and airbrushed acrylics.
After high school, Jan studied art at  Foothill College before earning a B.A. in Fine Art and later a Masters degree in painting from San Jose State University. There, she worked in all mediums: ceramics, sculpture, oil paintings but most consistently in watercolor and acrylic.  
 She credits 3 artists with having the greatest influence on her work and from whom she learned the most:  Dale Leitimen, artist and member of the National Watercolor Society from whom she learned landscape painting, Nita Engle, nationally know artist who taught Jan freedom to lay paint on paper and Tom Lynch, well-published watercolor artist who greatly influenced her style.
After college, Jan and her husband  lived in Los Altos, CA  where they raised four children. After the children were grown, they moved to the northern Sierra in 1982 and settled in Sloat.  During this period, Jan continued to paint crisp mountain landscapes depicting  the beauty
around her as well as wonderfully intuitive portraits of both children and adults which  capture not only their likeness but their mood of the  moment as well.  Using airbrush techniques, she also produced paintings on fabric, some of which were included in this show.  
Many of Jan's works are large format landscapes brimming with detail,
which require the viewer to absorb them slowly in order to appreciate the intricacies of her vision.  The portraits project emotion and  the complexity of human nature in a pure, non-judgmental fashion, all pointing to the artist's impressive mastery of her medium.

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Watercolor, Portraiture


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