• Jan Thoreen Lewis


Why, oh WHY, didn't anyone tell me that computers were coming??!!  There I was at Long Beach State University as a Graphic Design major, taking a huge variety of art and design classes and creating intricate drawings, lines, templates, resin forms, and calligraphy BY HAND, totally oblivious to the coming storm.

I was about to learn that when life changes, I can always choose to change with it,

or I can dig in and stubbornly ignore the inevitable.  But it's always my choice.

I was also sick of Southern California, traffic, loneliness, junk food, a sluggish and over-weight body, all the while knowing that my parents were moving to COLORADO without me!  The nerve.  So, after 5 ½ years of college, an AA degree, and a 2-year Sign Arts program that didn't even count towards a degree, I'd had enough.  Still one year shy of my BA, which would have meant cramming 4 years into

6 ½, I followed the siren song of John Denver and moved to the Rocky Mountains.  I was home at last.

Without giving you the boring details of how a 23 year-old thinks, just know that I decided not to enter art school in Denver to finish my degree (???!!! - those are from my parents), but to help my family build my parent's retirement home – an experience that changed my life – and to find solace in the high country and begin to create myself anew.

Of course, love intervened.  Not that I didn't still find solace and “create” myself in God's creation, but I found that the very handsome and slightly dangerous Dave Lewis was a worthy distraction from the need for solace and self.  But that's another story,

So, where did being an artist fit into this scene?  As a creative person who is passionately in love with the concept and expression of beauty, I found a vast, teeming source of loveliness, power, wildness, and all things Awesome in Colorado.  My camera caught as much as I could take in during that first year, but I was still a graphic designer, not a painter, so there was no visual expression 

Painted from a photo taken on the top of Mt. Elbert by the amazing Dave Lewis the summer that we met.

beyond my photographs. I was Alice in Wonderland, eye's round, bright, and eager.  Nature was my oyster and I

 was looking for and finding pearls everywhere.  But what would I do with them?  Like any non-producing artist, I stored

 them away like treasures in my heart and photo files for future inspiration.  It would be six years before I figured out a way to express all this hoarded beauty for others to share.

Watch for Part 3 in two weeks where we'll wrap up the Why and move on to the How.

Painted from a photo taken on the top of Mt. Elbert by the amazing Dave Lewis the summer that we met.

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