Jan grew up in the chaparral areas of Southern California with a love for nature and the out of doors. Her education background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology and a Master of Arts degree in Architecture. Jan has studied art under various locally and nationally acclaimed artists. While she resided in the Pacific Northwest, she taught design, drawing and watercolor privately, at the University of Washington and at Cornish College of the Arts. She left the northwest in 1993 and moved to New Mexico.
For 15 years Jan Hart made her home in Española, just north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. As a self-supporting artist, Jan taught watercolor from her studio at Ranchito San Pedro, at Coconino College in Flagstaff, Arizona, in Costa Rica and other places that beckoned. In 2008, Jan moved herself and family of dogs and parrots from New Mexico to southern Costa Rica, where she teaches, paints and writes from her home high above the town of San Isidro de El General.
Now Jan’s passions include writing as well as teaching watercolor and painting. She also spends time with her partner and best friend, Frank Thompson, who operates an organic farm, Finca La Puebla across town. After remodeling her Tico house and building her studio and cabinas, she is now comfortable with her activities, surrounded by her animal pals. Her home at Casa de Corazon now has two cabinas suitable for artists and travelers interested in the spectacular landscapes and destination points all her Costa Rican home. Jan’s first book, The Watercolor Artist’s Guide to Exceptional Color, published in 2008 continues to be a favorite among watercolor artists world wide and contains much of her experience and insight into color and watercolor pigments from her 30 years of teaching. Her ebook, What Do You Mean I Can’t Move to Costa Rica is available through this website and she is currently writing an autobiographical novel, The Scarlet and Jade House.
- Seurat. Seurat is named for his obvious markings after the Neo-impressionist painter, Georges Seurat who developed the technique of pointillism – little dots of color. A mix of Bassett and Blue Healer, he is short in the legs but very long on personality and loyalty. He arrived in Costa Rica with his best pal, Livvie before I arrived, and has given me so much love, protection and company that I must confess, he is my very best constant companion. While Livvie, my sweet and protective German Shepherd was my first dog love, Seurat stepped quickly into her place and works hard to keep things running smoothly at the house. He protects the parrots, me, and the property while making his rounds to neighbor dogs to be sure that all is well. And – one of his best qualities. He only barks if necessary! I cannot imagine my life without him.
- Sage. Sage, an African Grey parrot always knows what Jan is up to in her house. The strategically located aviary that he shares with his friends, Beak and Flash allow him to see into her office, bedroom, bathroom, studio and kitchen if the door is open…. His vast vocabulary enables him to keep in contact verbally. If he senses something amiss, he inquires, ‘Are you okay?’ and if he notes Jan spending too much time with Seurat, he mutters in a disparaging tone, ‘Dogs!’. He’s also pretty good at helping Seurat guard the house when Jan is away with his chirpy, “Hellooooo” when he hears someone at the back door.
- Beak. Beak is a busybody, no question about it! He is a Half-moon Conure with a shrill voice and he loves to talk and talk or whistle ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’ which no one admits to teaching him. His best friend, Xena came with him to Costa Rica with all the others and then died mysteriously in 2010. He still calls her, but has become good pals with Flash, who really needed a pal. They are often found grooming each other.
- Flash. Flash is a rescued African Senegal who was abused and terrified for the first year or so when he came to live with Jan in New Mexico. Jan and her friend, Carol contrived a plan to try to coax Flash into standing up straight instead of his shivering crouch. After they lifted their arms and said, “Come-on, Flash, Be an Eagle!” so many times, eventually Sage took over and repeated the phrasing while extending his wings! Flash got it and now stands tall, extends his wings and bows to a chorus of ‘Yays’ from humans along with parrots!
The rest of my animal pals have names but live in the wild – usually outside my house but often in and out of my outdoor studio. They include quite a variety! From raccous Kerry the Kiskadee and his tanager friends to seldom seen Rosie the tarantula, they keep life interesting and always unexpected. One morning I met a lovely three toed sloth moving ever so slowly up my cabina handrails to my complete delight. One of the main reasons I chose to live in Costa Rica was for the proximity to the animals. This I love!