Jan Thomson: Painting New Zealand’s Varied Landscapes

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Watercolor Paintings

Living in St. Arnaud near the Nelson Lakes National Park in New Zealand gives watercolor and oil painter Jan Thomson an endless palette of lakes, mountains and rivers to dip her paintbrush into.

Although she began painting later in life, you wouldn’t know it by looking at her work, and Jan’s skillset continues to develop through hands-on workshops with New Zealand and overseas tutors, as well as alongside talented artists such as John Crump and Janet Andrews.

Down at the Jetty is a tribute to one of Jan’s favorite locations in the Nelson Lakes National Park. Playful ripples in the waters of Lake Rotoiti suggest a lucky day of fishing for the two casually seated at the end of the dock.

Down at the Jetty(Rotoiti)

Watercolor is the perfect medium for this predominantly boggy scene, and Jan’s impressionistic style keeps the feeling of the moment relaxed and serene, as lake fishing should be. The two elements are a perfect match.

Maybe it’s my fondness for the Midwest, but I am entranced with Jan’s eerily compellingly depiction of Breakfast in the Sun. The absolute stillness, the restlessness of the cattle, and the matted gloss of the stream are humbly breathtaking.

Breakfast in the Sun

The way that Jan gently swabbed away colors in background reminds of days spent sitting on a porch swing in the country, enjoying the hazy, rising heat as it catches the sun just right.

Nor’wester (Eastbourne) on the other hand, is awash with action-packed portrayals of earth’s most basic elements—the wind, the waves, and the rain. I was blown away with how well Jan recreated that heavy mist spewing from rain-drenched clouds.

Nor'wester (Eastbourne)

Those painstakingly-created rainbows in the surf-soaked sand add yet another gorgeous element which brings out the inherent wetness in this piece—not to mention the soggy, indistinct figure walking along the beach with dog in tow, which puts the viewer right in the midst of it all.

There’s a lot more to see, so I encourage you to take a free trip to New Zealand via Jan’s website, and explore the rest of her mesmerizing watercolor paintings. I promise you won’t regret it!


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