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Jan Sparks Explores the Meaning of Home

As the child of two artists in Clearwater, Florida, new Anderson Artists Guild member Jan Sparks said she was always dabbling. She especially loved to draw.

Drawn to Clemson University’s architecture program, she ultimately majored in secondary education with an emphasis in psychology and later earned a master’s degree in guidance. She taught high school psychology, then worked in community mental health before leaving the field to raise her children.

When she returned to work, she taught school, served as an instructional coach, and ended her career as a guidance counselor at the Pickens County Career and Technology Center. “I liked working with teens the most, helping them with future planning,” she said. “I felt like if I had an influence in empowering them to follow their dreams, that was a wonderful position to be in.”

Retirement allowed her to stop being a “closet painter” and put herself out there. She joined an artist group and entered some shows. She has worked in various mediums, including encaustic, oil and cold wax. But her current focus is acrylics and collage.

She starts with a color palette and then the background, figuring things out as she goes. She paints a lot of interiors, with objects like tables, chairs, and windows appearing in many of her pieces. “It’s the sense of home that I really find attractive and interesting,” she said. “I’m exploring what home means to me.”

Her collages often include paper such as old, ruined book pages or old tickets. “I use whatever I find,” she said.

For more information about Sparks, visit


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