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Magic Painting

A section of the 6-foot by 20-foot painting


On View in the Perspectives Gallery

September 24, 2021 - (extended to) April 10, 2022


The final brushstroke of MAGIC was bringing the crown rope from the top of panel five into the hands of the crewman in panel three. The two-year process of dreaming, planning, designing, drawing, and painting MAGIC was finished. With this image, you are invited to a mythical morning at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Jane Maclean's original oil painting is composed of five panels, which together measure six feet tall and twenty feet wide. MAGIC was conceived, painted, and exhibited for the largest art competition in the world, Art Prize, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Understanding the power of historical images, Jane created MAGIC as a historical narrative. In it are authentic balloons and ballooning celebrities with wonderful stories. To gain permission to portray specific balloons and people, she contacted balloonists, and families of balloonists, from around the United States, and indeed the world.


Jane Maclean photo

Artist Bio

Jane Maclean’s early years were spent in the seaside villages of Mystic and Stonington, Connecticut.  It was an Old Mystic elementary school, itinerant art teacher, Mrs. Downs, who began unlocking for Jane the mystery of creating art.  Jane’s first-grade teacher, Miss Johnson, commissioned her first work.  It was a painting of a three-mast sailing ship.  From that time Jane sought every opportunity to immerse herself in study, creation, and sharing of her work.

For most of Jane’s adult life, she has been living and working in New Mexico.  Artists are drawn to the dramatic light, landscape, and weather.  It was natural for Jane’s artwork to turn to the culture of the Southwest, featuring portraits, authentic pottery, textiles, and jewelry.  Early in Jane’s career, a prize-winning painting, a Native American still life, was purchased by the renowned, Santa Clara potter, LuAnn Tafoya.  Later, more still life paintings and awards led to an opportunity for Jane to design and create public art for a new Judicial Complex.  The commission was offered with these words, “What would you do with this space?”  It was more than fourteen linear feet of wall in a future rotunda.  A visit to Jane’s website , under Public Art, will bring you the details and stories of those paintings.  Maclean’s very next painting, Tea with Catherine, an image of Russian stacking dolls with Russian teacup and cookies, won Best of Show in the 2007 MasterWorks of New Mexico.  Jane’s image New View of the Moon was first published on the cover of an original scientific book in the US in 2006.  In 2012 she negotiated the use of that image with Chinese scientists for their publication.  Over time there have been opportunities to speak about her art to organizations like the National League of American Pen Women, both nationally and locally, the Pastel Society of New Mexico, and the University of New Mexico Continuing Education program.  Jane is a long-time member of the National League of American Pen Women, the Pastel Society of New Mexico, and Chapter AD of P.E.O.

Interestingly, it was a return in 2010 to Stonington, Connecticut, which united Jane’s love of art, and the opportunities at Art Prize, one of the largest international art competitions in the world held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  A former high school classmate, who lives in the Michigan area, was relentless in encouraging and supporting Jane’s participation in the 2012 Art Prize.  And so, her painting, MAGIC entered the scene.  This painting, her most monumental in size and scope, was a challenge on every level.  The size and special effects demanded serious study and enhanced techniques.  The chosen subject, hot air balloons, is symbolic of Jane’s artistic journey.  She made a conscious decision to un-tether herself from familiar ground, glide above the scene, and gain a new perspective on what she could create.