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Jan Cook Mack looks at her left hand while taking a break from sketching Monday. After a recent stroke, she can only use this, less dominant hand to sketch drawings.
Jan Cook Mack works on a sketch from a photograph in her room at Dore’ Haven Adult Family Home on Monday. It takes her about an hour to finish. She began learning to use her left hand in May after suffering a stroke the month before.
A self-portrait of Jan Cook Mack she finished around 20 years ago hangs in her room at Dore’ Haven Adult Family Home in East Wenatchee.
Jan Cook Mack’s first sketch after her stroke, with her left hand, was done in May and shows bunnies — and her signature at lower left.
Her sketches have become more controlled as Jan Cook Mack teaches herself to use her left hand instead of her right. This drawing was finished last week.
World staff writer
Jan Cook Mack looks at her left hand while taking a break from sketching Monday. After a recent stroke, she can only use this, less dominant hand to sketch drawings.
Jan Cook Mack works on a sketch from a photograph in her room at Dore’ Haven Adult Family Home on Monday. It takes her about an hour to finish. She began learning to use her left hand in May after suffering a stroke the month before.
A self-portrait of Jan Cook Mack she finished around 20 years ago hangs in her room at Dore’ Haven Adult Family Home in East Wenatchee.
Jan Cook Mack’s first sketch after her stroke, with her left hand, was done in May and shows bunnies — and her signature at lower left.
Her sketches have become more controlled as Jan Cook Mack teaches herself to use her left hand instead of her right. This drawing was finished last week.

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Wenatchee fine artist Jan Cook Mack is known for creating naturalistic oil paintings of landscapes, portraits and still-life representations of flowers, fruits and rocks.
Since April she has been learning to draw all over again, using her non-dominant left hand after a stroke caused her body’s right side to become less functional. Mack is living at an adult family home in East Wenatchee during her recovery, instead of the house near her art studio on Easy Street.
As a right-hand dominant artist, Mack now describes giving herself “left hand lectures” with a firm determination to draw, even given the challenge of coordination with a less functional right side. She keeps a sketchbook with these recent left-handed pencil drawings — painstakingly taken from photo reference of rabbits, horses and sheep in fine yet firm outlines of grouped shapes. It’s exciting to see her colors on a strawberry.
Differently from preparatory studies, these sketches have a feeling of completion. They exist as beautiful proof of the artistic impulse to create while given limitations.
Mack describes this process as “hard, tiring and exhausting” as it lately takes an hour to render sheep in pencil with her only functional hand.
June’s email newsletter by Two Rivers Arts Gallery included a note of interest about Mack’s recovery. Given her reputation and regular involvement in the arts community, she has received many visitors — more in two months than in the past two years, says the assisted living facility.
Before moving to Washington state, Mack attended Bennington College in Vermont for fine arts, and also studied Chinese hand-scroll painting while living in Taiwan.
After moving here in 1986, her prolific oil paintings of picturesque views from North Central Washington show her embodied connection to the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers, Lake Chelan, Lake Colchuck, the Palisades and more.
When Mack’s paintings of lake vistas, tree fruits and winter scenes exhibit in public, the collection of 60 paintings is called “This is Where I Live” and shows her real regional sense of place. Her perspective varies from a bird’s eye view of a panoramic natural scene to an up-close detailed view of some organic object.
She also has several public art pieces to her name including the 125-foot wide mural on the downtown building wall at Yakima Street and Wenatchee Avenue, which depicts the valley’s orchards near a waterfall with large boulders. 
Taking a fresh approach to common still-life subject matter, she appreciates painting orchard fruit live on the branch.
Smaller glacier stones in natural patterns on shorelines are another recurring subject of Mack’s paintings. An art student won a counting contest for getting closest to the number of 992 pebbles in one painting. This artistic focus and attention to pebble-sized detail creates a relaxed image of natural round compositions.
Mack’s studio gallery on Easy Street was open to visitors before COVID arrived. Her typical day there was from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with lessons given to one or two students for seven hours at a time. Over the years that has been a total of 40-50 students. 
Mack teaches art students on relatively large 20”x30” canvas with a grid method. The paintings displayed in her current home in East Wenatchee include a square 20”x20” portrait of her son, and a self-portrait of her figure in a hat outdoors on a lawn near trees holding a tall paintbrush.
Collapse Contemporary Art Gallery’s first show in May 2020 featured Mack’s art.  Mack says she encourages regional art collectors to seek regional artists. Collapse sells a $2,800 oil painting on canvas 48” x 36” titled “Power Splendor – Boundary Road, Mission Ridge” that depicts snow-laden trees in shades of pink and blue by Mack. Collapse director Chad Yenney says it is “a stunning example of Jan’s masterful use of light, color and place.”
Her work also will be showcased this month at the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center. “Jan Cook Mack: This is Where I Live” opens Aug. 19.
For more about her artwork and contact information, go to jancookmack.com/oil-paintings.
Jessica Drake: (509) 661-5213
drake@wenatcheeworld.com
Moses Lake Museum & Art Center presents the exhibit of “Jan Cook Mack: This is Where I Live” from Aug. 19-Sept. 23 at 401 S. Balsam, Moses Lake.
“Painting onsite allows the energy of a place to fully enter the artwork and give a voice to invisible forces,” Jan Cook Mack says. “I seek high elevation painting sites to depict a bird’s-eye view of the dynamic geology spread out below.”
Visit moseslakemuseum.com, call (509)-764-3830 or email museum@cityofml.com for more information. 
World staff writer
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