Jan Calderwood is an award-winning international artist based in the UK. She paints in watercolour, oils and acrylics on a wide variety of exciting and energetic subjects centring on light and movement. Jan explores themes from the natural world including wildlife, the sea, and dance. She also takes commissions for portraits including animals, dancers, and children.

Teaching Art

After gaining a Distinction in Graphic Design at Newcastle upon Tyne College of Art Jan worked in a commercial graphics studio, then continued Art as a portrait painter and freelance artist. Her work has been exhibited over 50 times, often in solo exhibitions, in the UK, France and Spain. Jan has won prizes for her paintings.

Painting at home in Spain

She has a lifetime of satisfied customers for her paintings, commissioned portraits and pet portraits – please see the Testimonials page on this website. She has also painted and sold honest copies of Impressionist-style paintings: Degas, Cezanne, and Turner.

On a Sketching Trip

Jan has taught Art in the UK and Spain, founded and run an art group in Spain, and has worked for The Arts Society in their new Javea branch on the Costa Blanca. She has also been a judge in painting competitions.

Painting outdoors in Alnwick Gardens

Jan now lives and works in Alnwick, Northumberland. She is a member of two Art groups there and exhibits with them twice a year while continuing to teach via Zoom.

At an art fair

Jan aims to create joyful and uplifting art on a wide variety of subjects, but the threads running through them all are light, colour and movement.

Artist Statement

Living in Spain for many years had a great influence on my art in terms of light, colour and boldness. Watching the sun glittering on the waves when we lived on a boat had a profound effect on me too, meaning that in my work I aim to convey a sense of movement, capturing not only that moment in time but also implying the moments before and after. In that respect the Impressionists too have influenced me greatly- I am fascinated by their attempts to capture the fleeting effects of light and movement and I often use a similar colourful palette excluding black, with expressive brushwork.

My style could be described as Impressionistic realism – I strive for a blend of accuracy and looseness, hence my watercolour heroes are Jean Haines, Hazel Soan, John Yardley, Alvaro Castagnet and Trevor Waugh. For oils, apart from Monet and Degas, it would have to be Matt Abraxas for his beautifully free way of painting without drawing first, a method I have used successfully to create my best work.

Like the Impressionists I often paint en plein air which has taught me to work quickly, not least because I am at the mercy of the elements! I also paint in my home studio from photos and sketches created from life. I do plan compositions with several thumbnail sketches, often in colour, but I follow the advice to “design like a tortoise and paint like a hare”, as speed helps to give life and movement to my art. I love to experiment and tend to vary my media to keep my work fresh.

My subjects are many and varied, but the common threads running through all my work are light, colour and movement, whether I am painting an animal or child running, a flamenco or ballet skirt swirling, a cloud or wave in motion…I am inspired by beautiful, touching and dramatic subjects, aiming to share with the viewer a joyful, uplifting view of the world.

Painting outdoors on a cold day at a Spanish art fair!