By Jean Clark
Last week’s column featured the artist Polly Page, who had spent her life of 95 years in Pleasant Hill. This week’s column features an artist, Jan Warren, who moved to Pleasant Hill in August 2011.
Since Pleasant Hill Academy days and perhaps even before, artisans have been attracted here to teach, to create and to live. When Margaret Campbell was hired by the American Missionary Association in 1922, she was given $50 to start an art department at the academy. Fortunately, she had training in woodcarving before coming and found that wood was in plentiful supply on the mountain. She used local clay for pottery and building paper to paint murals. Her art classes stressed the principles of design and color harmonies used in a functional way. Teacher and students learned to make use of the most inexpensive materials such as unbleached muslin, flour and sugar sacks. The emphasis was on allowing the opportunity for beauty to enhance daily living.
Warren was born in Cleveland, OH, and resided in Ohio for the major part of her life, except for a period of time in Warren, MI, where she was employed as a graphic designer at the General Motors Technical Center. Most of her educational experiences have been at the University of Cincinnati, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the College of Design, Art and Architecture in a co-op program.
Later, she earned an interdisciplinary MA combining art education, psychology and art therapy, her major interests at the time. Finding it difficult to locate a job as an art therapist, she became a medical illustrator at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She worked in that field for 21 years until the department was abolished, then went across the street to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where she worked as a pediatric medical illustrator in the Department of Surgical Services for another 10 years until her retirement.
Warren continues to hold professional status in the Association of Medical Illustrators. Her renovated studio on Upper Meadows in Pleasant Hill is the ideal place for her to paint, sketch and illustrate. She continues to illustrate projects for the Children’s Hospital as a freelance artist. Warren recently completed many of the illustrations for Welcome to Operative Pediatric Surgery, Second Edition, which will be published soon. Most of her illustrations are completed on the computer and she also has edited medical videos. She has worked with surgeons, researchers and nurses in patient education.
A sketch group composed of other Uplands’ artists meets regularly on Saturday afternoons at her home. Some of her work has been displayed at the Shanks Center in Crossville. Some of her medical illustrations, pastel drawings, acrylic and oil paintings are on display until the end of July in Adshead Hall on the lower level of Fletcher House in Uplands Village.
Her work is an eclectic mix of subjects and techniques. Warren has been influenced by T.S. Eliot, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and other artists with whom she has studied. Her abstract, surrealistic, representational and graphic works will appeal to a variety of tastes. You are welcome to visit the show any time that Fletcher House is open.
The Grab thrift shop at 1944 West Main St. in Pleasant Hill will be closed from July 27 through Aug. 6. There will not be a bag sale July 27, but five free outfits will be available for students until Aug. 20. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.