About Zan

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Zan Lombardo


In the first half of my artistic life, I painted small things, hundreds of them, mostly 2”x2”. Then in one transformative step, I gave my life over to giant watercolor scrolls, up to 4 feet tall and 30 feet long. Everything small I’d painted up to that point had simply been preparing me for these big works.

When an image or idea seizes me, I begin work with the steady focus of one who is putting together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. In the process, my heart opens, becoming a channel for the life of the painting as it flows through me onto the paper. The watercolor itself completes the work with my encouragement, growing unpredictable blooms from deep, colored puddles. I consider my work a success when the finished piece delivers goose bumps with the same intensity as the original inspiration.

My grandmother and mother were gifted storytellers and I am their heir, feeling at home in front of an audience. At age sixteen, I answered the calling to become an artist/teacher. My career took a direct path, majoring in art education from Northern Illinois University and mastering drawing, painting and printmaking in graduate school at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. I taught art for over 35 years in Illinois and Pennsylvania public schools, especially enjoying the middle school art energy. I received the Robert Rauschenberg Power of Art Award in 2002 and the National Energy Foundation’s Igniting Creative Energy Awards in 2003 (honorable mention), 2004 (first runner up), and 2005 (grand prize). I retired in 2016 as a Golden Apple teacher, and now pursue my bliss from my Pine Island art studio in the SWFL Gulf Coast.

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