Monday, September 6, 2010


"DUST DEVIL" - my painting of a charging black rhino won the prestigious PRESIDENTS AWARD at the Society of Animal Artists 50th Anniversary ART AND THE ANIMAL at the San Diego Museum of Natural History. Pictured is one of the judges - Joshua Rose - editor and publisher of WESTERN ART COLLECTOR and AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR magazine.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


This is the new wolf painting I have just completed.  It represents a little change in my technique which is to underpaint with a Burnt Sienna (rust) color to try to create a "glow" and emphasize the reflected light.  I'm quite happy with the way it came out - hope you agree!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Bison

A new bison painting. I've been experimenting with more "sizzle" in my paintings by ramping up the saturation of my color and also adding colors such as purples and blues. This is a small piece - only 11 x 14 but I'm quite happy with it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Collectors and Experts on my work

PHOTO: Me with Kip Forbes at my solo exhibition at FORBES GALLERIES, NY.

“You can almost hear the creatures breathing in Jan Martin McGuire’s paintings. More than just reality, she succeeds in capturing the soul and nobility of beasts and birds big and small”.

Chrisopher Forbes FORBES MAGAZINE

"I was captivated by Jan Martin McGuire's paintings the first time that I saw them. She paints all animal species with the same virtuosity, enabling the viewer to feel actually present in the foreground."

Tom James - Chairman of the Board, RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL

"Jan Martin McGuire is among the top women artists focusing on wildlife today. Her perennial presence in top museum-quality exhibitions is proof of her status in the wildlife art world."

David Wagner


"Having hunted all over the globe, I have seen and studied nature first hand. Jan's work brings the qualities of nature to the canvas. The colors and texture that she uses make her paintings realistic. Whether it is a beautiful little bird or a hard charging rhino, her work is exquisite."


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baobab and elephant painting

Working on a 36 x 24" painting of elephants and a Baobab tree from our recent trip to Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. Tarangire is a Baobab forest - really unbelievable and beautiful. I'm really enjoying doing the texture of the bark!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Other photo

For some reason my blog won't let me post the two photos side by side - don't know why! Anyway, here is the photo of me from last week standing in the Serengeti with 100,000+ wildebeests massing to cross into Kenya.


James and I just got back from our fabulous trip to Tanzania. One of the highlights was our camp in the remote Northern Serengeti where the wildebeest were massing to begin crossing the Mara river into Kenya. The one photo shows me in front of only a small portion of this herd last week, the other I took in Kenya last year of them during the migration - I am planning a major painting this on based on this.

I have seen this amazing spectacle several times and I am always speechless in awe of what is transpiring. MILLIONS of wildbeest make this trek every year but now there is a proposed highway that will cut across the Northern Serengeti which will have devastating effects on this natural wonder. There is an alternate Southern route which will help many more people and NOT impact the migration. There is a Fan Site on Facebook called STOP THE SERENGETI HIGHWAY that has all the pertinent information along with a petition. Please take a few minutes to look this up. A website is also in the making.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010


James and I are getting ready for our trip to Tanzania. We are leading a small group to Tarangire, Lake Manyara and two camps in the Serengeti. But first we are delivering some of my art and James' photos to our gallery in Arusha!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Featured in Magazine

I was featured in the Museum/Events section of WESTERN ART COLLECTOR Magazine June 2010 issue. This is from the COWGIRL UP!!! exhibition.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Sorry I have not been more active posting to my blog. I've gotten very involved with keeping our Fan page on Face Book updated and I keep forgetting about my blog! If you aren't a fan already on Face Book you might want to check it out. You can access it by clicking on the icon on the homepage of my webpage at

I thought you might find it fun and interesting to visit my studio. I'm a detailed acrylic painter so I sit to paint and I use a drafting table. I'm EXTREMELY messy - I don't understand when I see photos in magazines of artists with their pristine studios! I have paint all over (notice the apron in my chair) me, the floor, the painting table - everywhere!!

From the left:

I paint from photo prints - always have - and what works best for me is to have file cabinets with all my photos carefully labeled in color coded files. Now that I have digital I print a few photos from a "scene" and then write the numbers on the back of where I can find them in the computer if I want to look at more. I also have magazine pictures that
I use as back up reference in the files as well.

I have a table to my left that has a variety of things, but mostly it is where I layout all
the reference I will be using for a painting. Notice the file that is open and two books on
lions which is the subject of the painting I'm working on. There are also some manilla
envelopes with some "good ideas" for future paintings

I have a large desk calendar above my painting table. I write paintings on post it notes
that I have to do for exhibitions. I can move the post it notes as needed to adjust the
dates I'm working on them.

Robert Bateman is my muse and mentor. I have some pages from his books of some
of my favorite paintings up to give me inspiration.

Since I sit to paint it's important that I have an ergonomically good chair. I use a drafting
table that has a handle to easily adjust the height. I paint vertically most of the time but
sometimes I will angle it or lay it flat for washes or for applying varnish.

Notice that I have several photos taped to my painting table. I usually have one or two
primary reference that I'm working from, with several secondary as back up. I've gotten
very good at taking a good strong photo with the light and composition that I want so that
I can work pretty closely from them. But photos LIE! They don't show all details and/or
the animal can be in a weird position etc. so I ALWAYS double check everything with
back up photos and reference

I paint on gessoed untempered masonite. I like the smooth surface to create my work on.
I buy it in large 4 x 8 sheets and then cut it to the size I need. This is 11 x 14.

I have an inexpensive shop light over my painting table. There is a warm colored bulb
and a cool colored bulb that equal out to fairly "normal" light. Both these bulbs you can
get from Wal mart etc. I disagree with the "you have to paint from natural north light" ,
people do not view your art outside! They view it in their homes under "normal" lighting

Also, since I'm a detailed artist and I'm getting older, I use a good lighted magnifying lamp.
This one is designed for quilters and has a very long adjustable arm, and, it is on rollers
so I can move it back and forth across the painting as needed.

I paint with a type of acrylic paint called Chromacolours. They are manufactured in Canada. The pigment is suspended in resin rather than polymer which I think gives them a softer finish - more like a gouche. They dry slightly slower and they also dry closer
to the color on the palette without the color shift of many acrylics.

I use a Masterstons StayWet palette for Acrylic paints. It has a sponge that you keep wet
and then special palette paper you also soak. This keeps the acrylics from drying out
so quickly. With the air tight lid you put on when you aren't using the paints, the paint
stays wet usually for the entire length of the painting.

I use a hair dryer to dry the paint even faster so that I can layer quickly.

I hope you've enjoyed you little tour of my studio and find it interesting and helpful!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


My work has been accepted to the two most prestigious animal art exhibits on the planet - BIRDS IN ART at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and ART AND THE ANIMAL the Society of Animal Artists annual juried membership show! The vultures - "VULTURE VIEW" was accepted into BIA and "DUST DEVIL" of the black rhino got into the SAA show. Huge honors!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Sorry I haven't posted recently. We are on a road trip to Florida to do some photography, met with clients and a gallery, and spend a little time with friends out on their boat. I'm SO grateful to the retired couple who stays at our house and takes care of all animals which allows us to do some traveling.

I will post photos from the trip as soon as I can!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I like a clean area to work my fur/hair technique. I use to masque out with watercolor masque, but it tended to create hard edges. So now I transfer my drawing to the painting surface (just the outlines of the animals) and go back and paint them in with my purplish tinted gesso.


I am now laying in the grasses by "scrumbling". That is, to take an old brush, and scrunch and push it up and down and sometimes around to create the underlying texture of the grass. This seems to work best in sort of a semi dry brush technique. If the paint is to thin (to much water) if creates softer edges which don't look as much like grass.

The second photo is of the grass area underpainting now done.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lying in the background

I generally paint sitting down since I am a detailed artist. However, for a large painting like this, lying in the background area I stand up. Here I'm doing the far off tree line.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


First I did a drawing about 8 x 10ish to present to the collector.  Once approved I then created a grid on the drawing so that I could redraw larger to scale on a piece of 30 x 40" tracing paper.

Other photo

Here is the photo at Wolf Park that for some reason didn't post.


I have a big commission from a local judge of a herd of bison.  I'm going to show you this painting as I work on it from beginning to end.  These first two photos are me in the field researching bison.  This is ongoing - I have photos in my files that I took 25 years ago.  I'm always out sketching, photographing and studying nature and then when I decide to do a painting I go back into my files and sketchbooks to find materials to use as reference in my paintings.
The first photo was taken during one of my workshops at Wolf Park -  This wonderful place is the only research facility that has socialized wolves.  As part of the enrichment of the wolves the biologist periodically put them out with a healthy herd of bison.  Because the wolves are well feed, and the bison are strong, there is no killing that goes on, but just interesting interactions between the two species.  I'm in the white shirt and you can see in this photo all I'm doing is watching and studying.
I have had lots of research on bison through the years - Yellowstone, Bison National Refuge etc.  But I am lucky in that I have three sources of bison close to me.  One is a private ranch north of our town, then we also have the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve which is owned by the Nature Conservancy about 20 minutes from us.  This is stocked with bison from the private ranch mentioned earlier. 
 Then we also have Woolaroc - - which is a wonderful museum and wildlife refuge 20 minutes away.  James and I got special permission to go out with one of the ranch hands to photograph longhorns one day - and as you can see and added bonus were some of the bison.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I am toying with the idea of putting together a combination photos shoot and workshop September 24-26 in Minnesota. The shoot will be at MINNESOTA WILDLIFE CONNECTION which is where James took this wonderful photo of a red fox. At this stage I am trying to gage level of interest. If you think this is something you might be interested in please email me at and let me know1


This is a photo that was taken of myself, James and Joshua Rose, editor of WESTERN ART COLLECTOR and AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR magazine in front of my paintings, by the official photographer during the COWGIRL UP!! exhibit at Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg, Az.

Photo credit: Jim Culver

Saturday, April 3, 2010


James and I visited Sedona on our way home from COWGIRL UP!  The landscape was spectacular as seen in this photo.  Unfortunately it's been 25 years or so since I've been and when I was there it was a really unique artist community with boutique shops, galleries and studios.  Now it is a wall to wall tourist town with lots of tourist trap knick knack and T shirt shops - or else places where people stop you on the street to try to sell you either time shares or jeep safaris.  Not my cup of tea at all.  Although there was one area away from the main downtown that had a few nice shops and galleries.  Yeah, I know - the only thing that doesn't change is change. . . . . . to bad. . . .

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Magazine Editor

James and I with Joshua Rose, the editor of WESTERN ART COLLECTOR and AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR magazine during the COWGIRL UP! exhibition at the Desert Caballeros museum in Wickenburg, Az. This was my first year but my work was well received having sold one nice piece and the museum expressing interest in purchasing another one. Had a really great time meeting some really wonderful people!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cowgirl up!

Yesterday James and I went hiking and bird watching at the Hassyamba River Reserve. Got some great photos of broadtail humming birds. The couple we are staying with have Gambel's quail in the yard every morning and I've been trying to get some good photos of them - but - so far they haven't been to cooperative.

Went to the exhibit last night - very strong show with a good variety of work. Then we went to a big party and met a lot of interesting people - including Joshua Rose who is the editor of WESTERN ART COLLECTOR and AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR magazines.

Today our hosts are taking us for walk and lunch in historic Wickenburg area, and then tonight is the big night with the patrons being able to put their names in on the paintings that they want. Having a great time and hope to post many photos when I get back home!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On our way to Wickenburg

We stayed the night in Phoenix and are now getting in the car to head to Wickenburg for the COWGIRL UP! exhibit. It's really beautiful here and we will be stopping along the way to photograph cactus and other landscape/habitat for future paintings. I do that quite often. Combining photos I've taken of birds or animals (many times in captive settings) and then inserting them into the correct habitat in a painting. The challenge is watch that the light is coming from the same place. We only have ONE sun so light can only be coming from ONE directions! The trick to doing this is to find a strong shadow line and then match everything to it. If the shadows are all going the same direction you have solved the light source problem!

We are having lunch with the host patrons that we are staying with during COWGIRL UP! Then tonight is the first "official" event with a big BarBQue at a local ranch. Going to be fun!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010


If you haven't signed up on Face Book for James and my's fan page please do so!  We post to that much more often than my blog or webpage and it has information about both of us.  You can access it through my webpage at www.janmartinmcguire and click on the icon - or - go straight to Face Book and either search for McGuire and Hines Studios or click on the link under my profile.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Finished painting

Here is the completed painting.  8 x 16" - "SNOW PHEASANT".

Add sparkles to the snow

To add "sparkles" and texture to the snow I cover the areas I want to protect and then dip an old paint brush in white with a touch of yellow paint. I then rub my finger across the bristles causing a random spatter.  I use this same technique to create dirt/sand.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Starting the feather detail

Now comes the FUN part!!! Sort of kidding there. . . . It's kind of like building a very complicated jigsaw puzzle!  I have taken a photo of the taxidermy mount to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.  Lots of colors, lots of patterns all overlapping.  I have a little bit of a break in that this bird is small in the painting - I can get away with giving the impression of a lot of the detail.  If it was a large painting and the bird was front and center up close I would have my work really cut out for me!  The painting shows the detail work I've done so far.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pheasant blocked in

The head of the pheasant is pretty much done, and the colors have been very loosely laid in on the rest of the bird.  Pheasants have very complicated feather patterns that I will have to closely observe once I begin detailing out the bird.

Getting ready to start the pheasant

I have blocked in the pheasant with a base coat of purple/brown paint in preparation for starting work on him.  I've done a little bit more to the grass and snow.

transferring the drawing

I have flipped the drawing on the tracing paper back over and using the white artist saral transfer paper I am now transferring the pheasant to the surface of the painting.

Pheasant painting continues

Although the snow isn't finished, I thought it was time to start adding the grasses.  It's always a question - "what comes first the grass or the snow"?  It's tough because there are many layers with snow piled on parts of the grass so you just have to work back and forth into it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Starting on the snow

Here are two pictures of the snow in progress.  It's all about lots of layers and also observing colors.  With this backlit snow there are lots of oranges and yellows where the sun is hitting it, and lots of blues and violets in the shadows.  Snow IS NOT WHITE!!!  I'm created the texture of the snow by "scrumbling" my brush - that is - taking an old brush and pushing it around all different directions.

New pheasant painting

I have not done a pheasant in years. I decided to give it a go. I went through my pheasant file (I keep file cabinets FULL of photos I've taken over the course of my 27 year career) and came across a nice backlit captive pheasant.  Since I LOVE backlighting I knew this would work well - I just had to find the right background.  I went to my "grass" file and played around with a bunch of ideas, including going out and photographing some grasses in the right light.  When I went to load the new photos into my iPhoto I saw a photo I taken this winter when we had a big snow of fallen over grass with lots of nice backlighting.  It clicked with me and I decided I would do it with this background.  Here I have drawn the drawing to size 8 x 16".  It also shows my two main photo references along with a taxidermy pheasant I will use for feather detail.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Please sign up as fans on James and my's FACEBOOK fan page - "McGuire and Hines Studios"!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

photos of the wolf girls when they were little

Here are a couple of photos of my wolf girls when they were pups.  The one in the kitchen is when they were 2 1/2 months old and we were still socializing them.  They were a BIG help at dinner time - NOT!! 
The other is me bottle feeding Denali.  Notice that I am wearing an oven mitt.  Even with her toenails clipped she would shred my hand when she feed, clawing vigoursly as she ate.  The oven mitt solved that problem!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Better picture

I had the cougar painting professionally scanned and the colors are SO MUCH better than the photo I had posted I decided to put the scan up so you could see what the painting really looks like!  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Third painting for COWGIRL UP!

Here is my third and last painting for COWGIRL UP!  At the Desert Cabelleros Museum in Wickenburg, Az.  It features top woman western artists.  This is my first year being invited and I am very honored.  I look forward to attending the opening weekend which includes trail rides, BBQ's and dinners and other events bringing the artists and patrons together.  This painting is 11 x 14 of a Gambell's Quail called "DESERT DWELLER".

Monday, March 8, 2010

Working on new painting

Almost finished with my last painting for the museum exhibit in Arizona - COWGIRL UP! It's a gambel's quail with an agave plant that has really neat lighting.  Think I'll be finished tomorrow - watch for the post!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Here is the finished cougar.  The photo is to blue.  I had a heck of time photographing it.  If I didn't make it on the "cool" side the cougar turned out a neon orange!  But this will give you the general idea I hope

Our Wolves

James and I have two wolves - sisters - named Denali and Willow.  I have permits to keep them, but, in reality these are very high content hybrids as their grandfather had some dog in him.  We got them from a small zoo that had an unexpected litter.  They found another zoo to take the male, but there weren't any zoo's that wanted the females.  They contacted me - and after begging James (he bargained for a new lap top), we brought Denali home first and then Willow.  I had a long standing relationship with WOLF PARK which is the only research facility in the U.S. that has socialized wolves.  I would have never undertaken the task of keeping the girls without having the biologists at Wolf Park to help me.  We keep them in the kitchen for 3 months, living with them 24/7, bottle raising them and socializing them.  They are NOT pets.  They are wolves that recognize James and I as part of their pack.  They live outside now in a large enclosure.  Here I am feeding them a road killed deer (yes, I have permits for that too).  I only feed deer in the winter because of parasites.  When I'm not feeding deer they get raw chicken and pork neck bones.  Also the occasional road killed rabbit and squirrel.  They will be 9 years old in April.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Final detailing

I am now going back over the cougar, doing all the final detail work.  

Next Step

The next step is to apply a unifying wash, in this case a mixture of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna.  I rub the paint before it dries with a soft rag to get rid of any brush strokes.

Working on Cougar

I use a technique for fur that I learned many years ago from Carl Brenders (top wildlife artist from Belgium).  The purpose of the technique is to create "depth" to the fur so that you feel as if you could put your fingers into it.  It is VERY time consuming and at times I wonder if it's a waste of time.  However, I remind myself that it is like building a house.  You have to use studs and joists to frame it out.  In the end they do not show, but without them the house would fall down.
The first step is to literally "draw" out the hair coat in a sepia colored paint.  Paying particular attention to the way the fur lies and the length of it (in other words short on the face and legs, long on the body).  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More work on Cougar painting

I got the tree done yesterday on the cougar painting.  Had a little more trouble than I expected getting it to "stand out" against the background.  But a combination of using cool (blueish) washes to contrast against the warm colors of the background and bringing up the values (blacks blacker and whites whiter) did the trick.  I also added some more branches than were in the original drawing.  This happens many times in a painting, that once I get working on it it will "speak" to me about things that it needs.  This is one of the main reasons I work in acrylic - it is easy to make changes along the way!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cougar Painting

The background is now done on the cougar painting for COWGIRL UP!  I'm happy with the atmosphere and the feeling of distance.  Now to start work on the tree and cougar!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Best Overall at Natureworks

James and I just got home from the NATUREWORKS art show in Tulsa.  What a GREAT event!  50+ top wildlife, western and landscape artists from all over the US and other countries.  Opening night it was reported that the show did $225,000 in sales!  James and I were honored to receive the award for best overall exhibit!  

Now - back to the easel to get to work on paintings for COWGIRL UP!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New painting

I have been invited to do a prestigious museum show next month called COWGIRL UP!!  There are several museum shows for Cowboy Artists of America which is a men only group.  About five years ago the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Az came up with the idea of doing a show with "western" women artists.  The show was an immediate hit!  I am the first "wildlife" artist that has been invited to participate and I am really quite excited to try this new venue for my work.  This is a painting I am working on for the exhibit.  It is 20 x 24 and will be a cougar in an old snag overlooking a red rock valley. Here some of the background has been started.

Monday, February 22, 2010


James and I will be exhibiting at NATUREWORKS this weekend in Tulsa at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. This is really the top wildlife art show in the country, drawing exhibitors from all over the U.S. and several other countries.  Hope if you are in the area you come by and see us!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dallas Zoo

This is an African Wood Hoopoe at the Dallas Zoo Children's area!  We walked in and she immediately flew over and landed on my shoulder!  How fun is that!  I got lots of great photos of her - can't wait to paint her!