Painting With Feeling

Written by on September 30, 2013 in Art - No comments

“My life is an open book” states Jan Lipes and one has only to view his paintings to observe that the artist puts a little of himself in each of his pieces.

Lipes was an emergency physician at Doylestown Hospital. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1983, he continued, even from his wheelchair, to work as an ER physician until 1993.

He had always had an interest in art. While in pre-med, he had minored in Art History and had attended a summer workshop at the Art Students League in Woodstock.  In 1991 Jan began painting as a Sunday painter, and by 1993, was painting full time.

Jan Lipes is a self-taught painter who has faced many obstacles in the pursuit of his art. Multiple sclerosis had confined him to a wheelchair and had denied him the use of his right side. He is right handed and had to train himself to use his non-dominant left hand to hold the brush, from the very beginning of his painting career in 1991. He studied color and brush techniques, then plunged wholeheartedly into his work using his rich knowledge of art. He started as a plein air painter, setting up his paints outdoors on location with the assistance of his wife, Janet, to paint his colorful landscapes. In recent years he has begun more studio painting because of the different subject matter, materials, and techniques. His subject matter includes still lifes, figures and abstract paintings.

Jan’s works focus on the Bucks County area of Pennsylvania and in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, particularly scenes along the Delaware River. And annually he travels to France to do some plein air painting.

He painted mainly in oil until about two years ago when he started to paint in acrylic. Acrylic dries more rapidly than oil and he likes the way it increases his tempo.  Jan is eclectic in his approach, sometimes painting in washes and other times using a heavier coverage like a traditional oil painting, depending on the subject and what it is dictating to him. As he has matured, Lipes now approaches his paintings using more intuition and a little less intellect. Logic still plays its part in composition, but is now less important in the final work, allowing him more freedom to express himself.  Jan does not consider himself from any particular school of painting or style. His paintings are sometimes impressionistic, sometimes realistic, and sometimes abstract. He paints what he has interpreted in his mind of his subject matter, then incorporates what he is feeling at the time, making each of his pieces unique and heart-felt.

Lipes says, “Painting is a continuous epiphany.  It’s my language.  It’s what I do and why I’m here.”

Jan has had numerous exhibitions, has 10 awards for his work, and 11 one-man shows. This includes a one-man show at the Gallery & Conservation Studio in Doylestown PA annually, the Sienkiewicz Award for Traditional Painting in the Style of the New Hope School from The Phillips Mill 79nd Annual Juried Exhibition and the New Hope Art and the River award from the Michener Art Museum. To see more of his work, please visit his web site at  Also view a video of Jan’s story at

By Thomas Hibbard
Creative Director, Med Monthly

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