For Jan Bushart, painting on location from nature (en plein air) is the only way she knows how to create a truly immersive experience for the viewers of her pieces. As a nature buff, this…well…came naturally.
By immersing herself in the scene, she’s able to capture nature in all of its perfection––the light and shadow, the breeze, the aroma––and share these fleeting moments with others. For Jan, this path was in her DNA. She always loved the outdoors and always carried supplies to sketch or paint the beautiful scenery she encountered on her hikes.
By the time she graduated from California State University, she already had a steady career in art carved out for herself. Jan’s art was picked up in galleries throughout the Southwest, Alaska and Hawaii. She continued capturing diverse scenes across California, Arizona and Colorado, but was deeply drawn to, and inspired by, Hawaii. The islands have since become her home and the inspirational backdrop for many of her pieces, which she refers to as “impressionism dancing on the edge of abstract”.
Read on or watch the video interview below for more of Jan’s story.
When did you know art was your calling?
Art has always been my calling. Between hiking and backpacking––just always being outdoors, I would bring a sketchbook or paint from nature. It’s always been so obvious that I was going to end up being a painter. I’m sure my parents were a little bit afraid of that, but it ended up okay.
What inspires your work?
Nature. I paint from nature. I want other people to experience what I’m experiencing in the natural world. Also, light needs to hit my subject in such a way that it’s interesting. So I really need light and shadow to create work that has depth.
How has your work evolved?
I describe it as impressionism dancing on the edge of abstract. I’ve changed. We all evolve, hopefully, and I’ve really been enjoying keeping the representational aspect of my work, but also using different brush strokes to take you around the painting to have you explore on your own what I created.
What challenges you the most about your work?
Finishing it. I love to start new paintings. So I have to make myself finish them all at once. I’ll usually work on five paintings at once in my studio then I go into finishing mode, which is a kind of a different part of the brain. Once I get there, I don’t want to stop because it’s really requiring me to analyze the painting quite a bit.
What do you love most about creating art?
Getting into the flow of it. Going into that space that is indescribable that any painter, artist or gymnast can tell you about. When you’re in the flow, you’re in touch with a different element.
What do you hope your work inspires in others?
I want people to want to step into the painting. To step into that beautiful world that I’ve created––actually, that nature created, and I just interpreted it.
What drew you to the Celebration of Fine Art?
It’s a different kind of pace at this show. I have tried, at outdoor festivals, to actually paint and get a painting done. It’s impossible. I’m walking around with my brushes the whole time talking to people. I might get one brush stroke on the painting. But here you can actually complete work and people understand that. They see you working. They respect it. And they mostly want to watch me paint. There’s also a really high level of work here. The artists are very good and we all help each other.