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Jan Heaton | Watercolorist

Artmuse has teamed up with our friends at Hiatus Spa + Retreat to offer this very special edition of Jan Heaton’s beautiful watercolor art. 100% of proceeds from Jan’s La Senda will help raise funds for Earth Month 2013 specifically to benefit Gulf Restoration Network and Lower Mississippi River Keeper. This is a rare opportunity for art collectors to purchase a Jan Heaton print. And, your purchase of this Earth Month 2013 print will help raise critical funding for these important organizations that serve the communities in which we live.

If you are not already familiar with Jan’s art, you will be delighted with her layers of lush colors, translucent, but, rich strokes, and visual storytelling she brings to each piece. Jan is often inspired by nature and La Senda represents the simplistic beauty and healing properties of water. The rhythm is created with quiet, translucent veils of color that are contemplative and regenerative. Please read on to get to know more about Jan and her art.


AM: What words best describe you in relation to your art?
JH: My paintings are personal observations of color, form, and movement in nature. I hesitate to title my work, for fear of communicating solely my vision, and closing a door to the viewer’s interpretations. I hope my art will enable the observer to explore a familiar object in a new perspective. My art is who I am and a mirror of my spirit.

AM: Tell us a bit about your background.
JH: My grandfather was a designer for Henry Ford and painted in his free time, my mother was an illustrator for General Motors and a talented artist in many mediums, and my father was a display artist and calligrapher. As soon as I could hold a pencil they shared with me the joy of making art. I discovered the fluidity of the watercolor medium, and the ease of transporting materials in high school. I took my first life drawing class at the age of 16 with my mother at a downtown gallery. We had a two person show my senior year in high school. I have been a figurative artist, a graphic designer, an art director, a calligrapher, and within the past ten years I have focused on an abstract impressionistic viewpoint of nature.

AM: What is it that drives you to create art?
JH: Remembrance. I approach making art the same way I would write in a journal. For me it is collecting thoughts, colors, observations, and recording my impressions.

AM: Who are a few of your favorite artists?
JH: My mother, Eleanor Vaillancourt Nief, my brother, Glenn Nief, my cousin, Christine Vaillancourt, Outside my family I admire the work of Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keefe, Mary Cassatt, Joan Miró, Joan Mitchell, Rembrandt, and William Turner. The list is long.

AM: Favorite museum or gallery?
JH: Definitely The Musée d’Orsay in Paris.


La Senda

















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AM: What makes a piece successful in your eyes?
JH: My paintings are a personal narrative that I am often hesitant to share with the viewer. The Laguna series followed a serious illness in my family and allowed me to express a void I felt following a six-month period where I did not paint. The Tranquillo series followed a visit to Italy the following year that helped me discover a serene and quiet space. I am still building on the serenity of these two series. I hesitate to title a painting, as I sometimes feel that it closes the door to other interpretations. I would like the viewer to see my work and have a personal connection, whether it is through the color, form or content of the piece. The perfect end result would be that it becomes their own expression.

AM: Has your art changed or been influenced over time?
JH: I worked in advertising for twenty years. Prior to advertising my work was realistic and more structured. My experience as a graphic designer and art director definitely made me more aware of composition, color, line variation, movement and messaging.

AM: What is your process in creating a piece?
JH: The work starts with an idea, progresses to sketches, and moves on to small thumbnail paintings that then become larger studies. I normally have a color palette and a specific concept in mind when I start the smaller paintings.  I consciously think of the progression of colors as each transparent layer alters the color of the preceding one.

A painting that begins with washes of warm reds and citrus oranges may evolve into a predominately blue hued work at the final stage. I normally work with complementary colors to achieve the greatest transparent contrast. Under painting, with sometimes more than 25 layers in a completed painting, is critical in my work and enables me to develop the dense, saturated hues I am interested in. I like to experiment with the color sequence, and sometimes will wash off a layer of new color immediately that does not give me the result I want to achieve. I keep small 2 x 7 size pieces of watercolor paper on my board to test colors and the colors created with layering. A visual journal that serves as a reference point.

AM: Why do you think art is important?
JH: Art communicates a time, place, and feeling that requires no translator and can be universally understood and appreciated by everyone. Life without art would be very dull.

AM: What advice do you have for someone just starting their art collection?
JH: Only acquire art that you love. Consider it your own personal journal that will move with you, grow with you, and be enjoyed from many different perspectives.


Jan Heaton In Her Studio

Photo by Scott David Gordon


AM: Do you have any shows or projects you are currently working on?
JH: In 2013 I will have artwork at AMOA/Arthouse’s 5 x 7 event in April. I will also be teaching a watercolor workshop at the Austin Museum of Art / Arthouse School in April. This summer I will have a solo exhibit at The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, June 1 – August 18.

AM: Are you looking to try new topics, sizes, mediums?
: Always. I am a firm believer in experimentation, practice and painting on a consistent schedule. I learn something new from each completed painting.  I also think it is important to work in other mediums where the comfort level is not as high. I have recently worked with acrylics, collage, drawing, and three-dimensional art.  I would like to make a quilt next year, take a jewelry class, and paint with acrylics on a large scale, and throw clay on a wheel. It all interests me! I do know that practice and balance will always direct the final success of my work.

AM: Do you have a top achievement you can share?
JH: Recently I completed a project for a children’s hospital in Saudi Arabia. I love that my work has found a place in the health and wellness markets. I am very interested in the healing properties of art, and how our surroundings influence our sense of well-being.


AM: Favorite food?
JH: Apples. Organic, a little bit tart, and very crunchy. I think that’s the Michigan girl in me!

AM: What are you most proud of?
JH:  My lovely and accomplished daughters!

AM: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
: I would be singing and dancing on Broadway!

AM: If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
JH: I would want the power to heal the sick.

AM: What is your personal credo or motto?
JH: Give back. Believe in karma.


Bonnie Glendinning, FounderWritten by Bonnie Glendinning
With a firm belief that art makes life more enjoyable, Bonnie Glendinning launched to reach the widest possible audience for artists and a curated selection for collectors to easily purchase art they love. The guiding philosophy of is to Live Artfully.

Inspired by the love of art, was founded on the principle that everyone needs more art in their life. Collectors can fill their life with new art and artists can make art. It is a winning combination for everyone.—Contemporary, Collectible, Affordable Art | Live Artfully®

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