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Janet Kolar

Perfecting the Art of Plein Air 


As a child, Janet’s creative energy was in constant search of an outlet. That energy manifests itself to this day in a variety of forms, most notably in the paintings she exhibits at the Planation Artists Guild & Gallery. 


She gravitated naturally to the study of art at the University of Alabama, selecting it as one of her majors. Choosing math as another major was a safety valve. Following graduation, the steady paycheck promised by a career as a high school math teacher led her along that path. 


Having grown up in Tampa, a teaching position in Orlando kept her close to family. While in Orlando she met Ron Kolar, who would become her husband. Just out of the Navy, he worked for a contractor involved in the preparatory groundwork at Cape Canaveral leading to the first Moon Walk in 1969. 


As her teaching career wound down and her boys, Alan and Eric, were on their own career thresholds, Janet turned back to painting, this time with a purpose. Spending summers in northeast Vermont with its natural beauty was an added bonus. While there she studied plein air both in watercolors and then in oils—the former under Lisa Beach, the later under Eric Tobin. Still life and figure studies have influenced her work.  Today, plein air is the center of her focus, finishing landscapes in her studio while working from photographs. Through the years she has continued in classes with many artists including Amelia Island watercolorist, William Maurer. 


Janet says the best advice for aspiring artists is practice, practice, practice. She calls herself a “lesson taker,” and believes in the value of such a strategy. She cites the Impressionists as her ongoing inspiration. Finishing a painting, she adds, is the most challenging aspect of her work—knowing when to say when.


Janet’s husband Ron was the VP of Land Development for Sea Pines Company, the developers of the Plantation. Their home was the tenth house built on the Plantation. During her earlier time here on Amelia Island, along with painting, Janet owned “Sugar Plums of Amelia,” a ladies resort boutique on the Plantation, for 23 years.


Her other interests include playing bridge, biking, bible study and cooking.

Janet has been an exhibiting member of PAGG since October 2019. 

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