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Artist uses private lessons to inspire others

Staff writer

Even when she was a teacher in El Dorado, Marion artist Jan Davis knew she wanted a gallery to display her work, and that of other artists.

“It had always been a dream to have a place,” she said. “I knew from teaching classes in Butler County that there were a lot of artists around. They needed a venue to show their work, and my husband had the building. It was a natural progression.”

Davis has operated Gallery 101 on Marion’s Main St. for eight years, but she still finds her way back to teaching.

Davis uses her own work as a starting point, but loves helping artists find their own voice.

“My emphasis was always on their personal way of doing it,” she said. “They need to find their own way. That was the biggest pleasure of teaching, to watch students find their own way instead of telling them exactly what to do.”

Finding balance between teaching and working as an artist is particularly important, Davis said.

“It probably has more to do with student needs,” she said. “That remains the same either way.”

She can provide greater individual attention. She said students are more invested during private lessons.

“It’s great when they start getting excited,” she said. “They’re going, ‘Wow, that works, and I did that.’ ”

Technology provides a visual reference for Davis’s students, but it is no substitute for their own creativity.

“I don’t think technology will replace the creativity you get from putting brush to canvas,” she said. “Technology can’t feel it for you. It’s very tactile, how the paint goes on and what the stroke feels like.”

Davis’s artistic interests aren’t limited to painting. She also enjoys printmaking and frequently engages in pencil drawing.

Davis took several business classes while getting her art degree. Her mathematical talent finds its way into her art as well as her finances.

“I’m systematic about some of the things I do in art and business,” she said. “There’s a lot of math, much more than people realize. It’s not just splashing some paint on. It’s a little more calculated, but the freedom is still there.”

Last modified Nov. 6, 2019

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