Jan is an award-winning food writer, artist, and consultant with over 30 years of experience in the food, art, and newspaper industries. She has written and illustrated a weekly food column, Food For Thought for The Corvallis Gazette-Times since 1983, and a syndicated column, Fresh Approach, since 1985. That column is widely read in various papers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Preserving, a seasonal column on preserving food, had a 20 year run in The Oregonian. Jan is the author-illustrator of five cookbooks, the latest being “Oregon Hazelnut Country - The Food, The Drink, The Spirit.” Her celebration of the Pacific Northwest bounty and landscape, as seen through her vibrant watercolors, can be found throughout the book. In November of 2014 Jan was selected to be the poster artist for the 2015 Corvallis Fall Festival poster. In her final design, she incorporated two local icons, Marys Peak and The Willamette River, as seen from the east side of the river. Titled “Inspiration,” the final element she added to tie it all together was an artist who has kayaked downstream to a viewpoint, hopped ashore and is capturing the scene on canvas, perhaps for a piece she will bring to the festival.
When asked to expand on her journey through the arts, she explained: “It was a long process. It began in 1989. I had been writing a column for The Oregonian’s FOODday section since 1985. In the beginning, I was providing black and white line drawings of food art to accompany my stories. Then my editor asked if I could start producing color art so they could put my stories on the front page of the section. Watercolors seemed like the most visual and exciting medium. So that’s how it began. Of course, once I started painting landscapes of all the Oregon scenery my husband and family backpacked through each summer, I truly fell in love with what I was doing. It was a way to keep enjoying my experiences, even back in my studio. And I knew then that producing landscapes and “food art” would always be a part of my professional life, even as I continued to be a food writer and cookbook author. “I consider myself luckier than the average painter because my husband retired from his profession as a research biologist from the Environmental Protection Agency and built a business centered around custom picture framing and art publishing. How many artists get to say they’re married to their framer?”