Janet Stewart – Hawaiian Watercolor Artist


Janet Stewart was born in America’s heartland, Des Moines, Iowa. She was to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time from the Palisades in Santa Monica, CA at the age of twelve. She knew she would never live far from it again.outrigger_at_sea

“My mother says I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil, and she felt my early attempts showed talent. I grew up knowing I should be an artist”

After high school she bought a “how to” book on oil painting and a set of colors and began to paint. When she wasn’t happy with the results, she sought out a compatible artist to study with, Corinne West Hartley. “Working with live models, I refined my drawings skills on my favorite subject, people.”

During this period, Janet went from line drawing in pencil or ink with little shading or modeling, to colorful Impressionist-style oils. “Corinne taught me the use of clear, vibrant color and the handling of light, which have become a benchmark of my work.”

Turtle_won't_playAlthough Janet has always wanted to draw people and had little interest in other subjects, she did go through different periods. “Drawing for me was always a release and an escape. I had my animal period when I discovered that portraying animals was much like doing people, only with more hair. I had a Western period, and then an African period.”


Janet had her first one-woman show in 1978 in Pasadena, CA. She began accumulating ribbons and medals from juried shows. She says her works were most influenced by Corinne Hartley and by the Impressionists: “Degas for his draftsmanship and anatomy, Gauguin for color and atmosphere, and Sorolla for the handling of light.” It was Corinne who helped her with her ability to portray personality and emotion, the hallmarks of her paintings today.
Janet paints people in her own style. That style has been called “enhanced realism”. Her style is not surreal or super-real, but “realism as translated by my vision. The accuracy of her draftsmanship, coupled with her attention to detail, create a vision exclusive to her art. It has been said that the best work an artist does is that done for the sake of doing it. Any other motive can affect the outcome, being a distraction to the creative vision of the artist.”

Red_Sky“I never have had the desire to make an angry statement with my art. There is enough unhappiness in the world. I want my paintings to show happiness and love.”

After many visits to Hawaii she finally settled close to the ocean shore  in Lahaina, Maui and has fully embraced the spirit of Aloha.

Janet captures the essence of the islands and it’s inhabitants in her paintings.




3 Responses to “Janet Stewart – Hawaiian Watercolor Artist”

  1. Cabmgmnt says:

    Thank you for the great bio’s on these artists. I am doing something similar for art card creators. Visit http://www.artcardist.com for free info and biographies!

  2. Charles Troiano says:

    I stumbled upon your beautiful art creations on this website on island art store .com You are absolutely amazing!!! I to am an artist from Hawaii but am currently living up here in Seattle taking care of my mother. I did a piece years age that I titled “Ohana” it is sort of similar to your awesome “Keiki Milimili” piece. Please take a look at my Facebook page to view some of my art. I would love to friend you on Facebook and share art and thoughts on art. We are indeed like minded in this regard. Again your art is awesome.

    Aloha Charles Troiano

  3. Ruby VanBenthuysen says:

    I have two of Janet Stewart’s watercolors and have no idea what they’re worth. They’re both signed and have certificates. The titles are:
    Raccoon Butteflyfish – Kikakapu and
    Reef Triggerfish – Humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua’a
    Just wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction to find out exactly what I have.

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