Artist Mary Jane Zander

An example of fine art by Mary Jane Zander

Photo of Mary Jane Zander


On my travels to many regions of the world or in the serenity of  my own backyard, I can’t help but  marvel at the works of nature.  Beauty is all around us but often goes unnoticed by people too much in a hurry to take a closer look. I am drawn to movement, texture, form, and color in nature and want my art to speak to those qualities.  I spent several years immersed in botanical illustration and concentrated on the fine details of plants and flowers. While it honed my drawing skills and my ability to render, it left me feeling constrained by rules that weren’t my own.  I wanted to do more than just represent nature. I want to interpret it.  What I loved about botanical art was observing how a petal glows in the backlight of the sun or how pattern and texture in an inflorescence demands attention and interest.
My subject matter has changed and my approach is more expressive and abstract. I have taken more chances in an attempt to distill and interpret common experiences in nature like the action of a wave, the power of a rainstorm, the colors of a field, and the varying textures exposed in a body of water. My work still shows details but now it’s like looking through nature’s magnifying glass.
I usually work in a series so I can explore a subject or concept.  The initial idea is often a natural object or locale that has caught my attention. Once inspired, I spend a great deal of time researching the subject matter, planning the composition, and preparing to paint.  I make a number of sketches on location and create several quick drawings just to plan out the values and movement of the final work. 
Most of my work is painted in layers. Because erasing tends to damage watercolor paper, an image [...]

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