Jan Gardner was born and brought up in North Wales and spent much of her early years wandering the lanes and hills around her home. It was here that the light, space and colours that inhabit her work first became an influence. Drawing on these memories and experiences of special places and her later travels in Europe, Morocco and the U.S.A.; she crafts vivid and atmospheric works. Colours that fly in from emotion and passion, relaying a deep connection with the varied, differing landscapes from which they evolve.
Sustained self-critique means Jan is highly articulate in describing the process and act of making, detailed technique and mark-making , and the deeper emotional dimensions of her work. Fascinated by the challenge that each of us sees colour differently, yet each engages with colour emotionally, her engagement with colour is both lens and lynchpin and this nuanced understanding of perception, emotion and association underpins the marks and choices of her process at a deeper level. Jan’s commitment to her practice has sustained her career all her life, from her Degree from Winchester School of Art she has worked in Arts in health, teaching in colleges, residencies in schools and galleries and sustaining exhibiting and selling her work across the U.K. and worldwide. She and her young family moved back to Wales in 2001.
In 2007 Jan was awarded an Arts Council of Wales research grant which enabled her to explore the source of her palette and the ancient and contemporary manufacture of pure pigment in Milan, Geneva and New York. In 2012 was awarded a project grant from the Arts Council of Wales towards a new body of work for a major touring solo show commencing from Oriel Gallery, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, Flintshire, north Wales.
This major new body of work toured the U.K in 2013- 2014, including venues in Scotland, England, culminating in the tours conclusion in Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni. Jan was invited to become a Royal Cambrian Academician in 2015 and the Royal watercolour society of Wales in 2020. Jan’s work has been highly acclaimed with several awards and is held in private, public and corporate collections in the U.K, mainland Europe and across the world.
“My creative practice stems from a fascination for the spiritual connection between land, sea and sky, nature in all its contemplative glory. My paintings are an emotional response, a tangible visible form of a feeling. A sense of place through the expression of marks and colour between the real and imagined places, both from the actual and remembered. I am fascinated by combining these through line, colour, texture and shape. I love to work outside for plein air sketches and then to work through sketches and to develop paintings both in the environment but also through memory and imagination back in the studio.
“My process begins by meditation, the ephemeral quality is essential and this gives me permission to connect with my colours, add the mark-making, some detail to suggest the natural forms, to build the layers, to resonate the memory settled in my mind.
The colours are so important to me, they enable me to suggest the life force and energy of the world we are surrounded by, and also the magical echo of my imagination. Some pieces resolve more quickly, depending on size, some I work on for many weeks. These are not quick fixes, I never know how they will turn out, they belong for a lifetime.”