Jan Wagstaff

A native Californian, Jan inherited her creative genes from her grandfather who was a San Francisco artist and architect.   She learned to paint as a young girl, attempting to copy his watercolors.    Jan received her formal training as an artist at Oakland’s renowned California College of Arts and Crafts where she earned her BA in textiles.   For eight years after graduating, she directed a progressive textile department combining weaving and painting on woven canvases at California State University, Chico.

In 1983, Jan took a break from her professorship and began designing women’s clothing under the label JWag & Co. in Carmel.  She then returned to arts education as an instructor of drawing and painting at York School in Monterey where she remained until her retirement last year.

Over the past four decades Jan’s paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries world wide and acquired for private and public collections around the globe.  Her artwork has garnered extensive reviews, and she has been awarded numerous artist-in-residence opportunities, grants, fellowships and prizes.

Jan’s imagery derives primarily from nature, which she renders in oil on canvas.  She is especially drawn to marshland grasses, aspen canopies, birds in flight, waterways and reflections.   Says Jan, “As I observe the natural world, I am ever conscious of how I am experiencing it - how all of my senses play a part in my perception.  My work is about seasons, sounds, texture, movement and shapes.  It is about blending colors, subtleties of light and dark, and things near and far.   About seeing and celebrating the ordinary such that it becomes extraordinary.  My paintings are visual entertainment but even more, I hope they encourage viewers to recall places that hold special meaning to them.”