Mary Jane Zander


Drop in almost any time at her studio and you will find Mary Jane Zander painting. Zander’s most recent art moves away from representation towards abstraction. The precision of her earlier botanical work influences her recent paintings, but a desire to draw more freely and expressively fueled her move to more abstract work.


Her water series was inspired during a recent cruise and reflects the mesmerizing patterns of the sea. The first paintings in this series focus on waves and movement, and the series is evolving into a study of color and light.

It is said that watercolor is one of the most difficult mediums, but Zander says, “All painting is challenging. Using small brushes to carefully paint flowers is nice, but applying large, bold washes is a lot more fun.” Sketches, color studies, and carefully designed compositions are just a few things the artist has to do before even starting to paint, but the unpredictable flow of watercolor challenges the artist to use that spontaneity to its best advantage. It gives the artist the opportunity to respond, not necessarily to the literal appearance of the subject matter, but to patterns, movement, and color.


Dr. Zander received a BFA in graphic design from the University of Illinois. She has advanced degrees in both art and education and has taught at University of Illinois, University of Mississippi, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work is in private collections throughout the U.S. and Canada.






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