Jane MacLean studied Fine Art at the Central School of Art (now Central St. Martin’s) in London. There she had the time and space to perfect her amazing talent for drawing, to develop her outstanding paint handling techniques along with her almost uncanny ability to capture facial likenesses.
Portraiture therefore played a central role in MacLean’s early work, and her talent attracted numerous commissions from famous personalities representing all walks of life.
Then she discovered the delights to be derived from Greek mythology. Over the centuries Greek myths have provided many artists with wonderful narratives within the much-respected genre of History Painting. Jane finds that for her too, they open up a rich vein of material that provides an excellent outlet for her creativity, draughtsman ship and the rich palette of oil and pigment that she applies in a multiplicity of delicately controlled layers. The paint applied to her heroines seems to respond organically, conveying the energy and erotic symbolism that defines her archetypal women.
MacLean is a figurative painter, in the literal sense of the word, and is deeply influenced by two artists who adored the female form. The first is Rubens with his glowing colours and stunning use of light that infuses his compositions with movement and strength. The second is Viennese painter Gustave Klimt, synonymous with the elegant flowing, sinuous forms of Art Nouveau.
Occasionally MacLean diverts and executes a painting of fruit or flowers, but she invariably returns to her real passion: painting the human form and capturing the play of light on skin. “I am concerned with the formation of form” says MacLean “with capturing our unfocused awareness of light, life and energy; with the dimly perceived field that responds to our perceptions and emotions, to create the focused part, the detailed shape or object.”