Jan Martin McGuire
About the Artist
Jan Martin McGuire
an Martin McGuire is known as an artist and naturalist who paints nature’s diversity. Born in the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado she developed an early love of the out of doors. As an inveterate tomboy she spent her days climbing trees, catching snakes and drawing the animals she loved. This love of nature stayed with her when her parents moved to Oklahoma when she was twelve. Recognizing her art ability, her parents encouraged her to pursue her calling by enrolling her in art classes at the local art museum. She continued her studies by majoring in fine art at the University of Tulsa. The curriculum of totally modern/abstract art soon stifled Jan however, and she quit to follow her own path.
Since turning professional in 1983 Jan has exclusively depicted the nature and wildlife she holds such a bond with. She depicts Africa, Rainforest, and North American subjects with equal expertise. Studying nature and all its intricacies is a passion of Jan’s. She strongly believes that to depict nature in such a way as to evoke emotion from the viewer, the artist must experience all the nuances of the out-of-doors. To touch the velvety textures of moss, to smell the pungent spruces in a marshy bog, to let the whistling wind of the tundra lift your hair from your forehead – all these things must be inside an artist to be able to come out convincingly from the end of a paint brush.
Jan travels extensively in a constant quest to satisfy the gnawing hunger inside her, which is to learn and experience nature in everyway she can. Jan has traveled extensively all over North America including Alaska, British Columbia, Ontario, Yellowstone, Montana, the Everglades and the deserts of the Southwest. To study neo-tropical rainforest Jan has traveled to Guatemala, Peru (where she lead a group for the National Zoo upriver on the Amazon), and Costa Rica. However, Jan is totally hooked on Africa – traveling almost every year since her first trip in 1996. Jan has been to five African countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Nambia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. But she and her wildlife photographer husband love east Africa. They honeymooned in Kenya – and plan to move to Tanzania in 2018. Jan and James enjoy sharing their beloved Africa with others and occasionally lead groups there. In 2003 and again now in 2018 they are leading groups of artists on conservation projects to raise awareness and funds for their art. Conservation is Jan’s passion.
At home, Jan’s extensive library of natural history books, field guides, and videos help sustain her hunger when she is in her studio. Drawing on all these experiences, in combination with the visual tools of the photos, sketches, study skins etc. she has at her fingertips, Jan sets about creating the art that is her homage to the nature she loves.
Working in Acrylic paint on fine cotton canvas, and once in a while on smooth masonite panels, Jan creates the fine details, textures and lighting that are the hallmarks of her work. Manipulating the paint with her brushes, sponges, saranwrap and fingers, Jan creates lifelike renditions of fur, feathers, mosses and rocks. The surrounding habitat is always scientifically correct, yet an artistic backdrop to the main subject of the wildlife she is depicting. Jan’s goal is for the viewer not to feel as if they are viewing a fine painting, but rather, that they are actually seeing and experiencing the scene itself.
Jan’s work has hung in many prestigious venues including the SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM, LONDON’S NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY AND GILCREASE ART MUSEUM. She has also had a person show at the DALLAS MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY and WOOLAROC MUSEUM. Jan has had her paintings included in many BIRDS IN ART exhibits at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum as well as most of Society of Animal Artists ART AND THE ANIMAL exhibits.
One of the biggest highlights of her career was when she had a one person show at the then FORBES MAGAZINE Corporate Gallery. Most artists dream of having a show in New York – but for a woman wildlife artist to have one on 5th avenue was unprecedented. The show was entitled: Painting Safari: Jan Martin McGuire’s Scenes from the African Wild which hung March 21-May 3, 2008.
Her work is in many private and corporate collections worldwide including
Jan’s paintings have appeared in numerous books and magazines including NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION, U.S. ART MAGAZINE, THE ARTIST’S MAGAZINE, WILDLIFE ART MAGAZINE, AMERICAN ARTIST AND INTERNATIONAL ARTIST MAGAZINE. Recently she had the prestigious honor of having her work on the cover of SOUTHWEST ART MAGAZINE (April 2007). This was in conjunction with a story about an Award of Excellence that she won from the SOCIETY OF ANIMAL ARTISTS. She also had a story in two international magazines: AFRICA BIRDS AND BIRDING and AFRICA GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. Jan also had the cover and a feature article in the January/February 2008 issue of WILDLIFE ART MAGAZINE. Jan has two books of her own out including a children’s book she wrote with her husband James and a how to book with Northlight books. Her work also appears in several group inclusion books including BEST OF WILDLIFE ART I and II and WILDLIFE ART. Her paintings have also been auctioned by Christies of London and Bonham’s of Singapore.
Until 2018 Jan lived in the Osage Hills of Oklahoma, actually on the Osage Indian Reservation lands – which she has called home with her husband since 1993. In 2018 Jan and James moved to Tanzania on the slopes of Mt. Meru.
Works Exhibited in:
SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM, Washington, DC
Important Corporate and OMuseum Collections:
FORBES MAGAZINE, New York, New York
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
U.S. ART MAGAZINE
PAINTING WOLVES, COYOTES AND FOXES, Northlight Books by Jan
Christies of London