Jan Sargeant paints under the soubriquet WWS (Woman with Stick) as a reference to the disability caused by Parkinson's Disease. She is largely self-taught, and with no formal art training. She uses painting to express moods and feelings suggested by places and experiences. Her work falls loosely within the English Romantic/Abstract landscape tradition and her work is described by many as Turneresque. She is an intuitive painter with no knowledge of any art theory or conventions to act as a barrier to her imagination or practice.
She is now an established artist whose work is held in private collections in London, Inverness and Aberdeen. Her work has been shown in three exhibitions to date and people are very enthusiastic about her paintings
"Your paintings are really powerful."
"You have a wonderful talent."
"My first reaction was visceral - I wanted to lick it."
"A couple of your paintings hanging on my wall give me endless pleasure."
An English Literature graduate from Manchester, she went on to teach English in comprehensive schools, moved in to school improvement as a lead adviser for teaching and learning and then in 2012, became a principal lecturer at Leeds Trinity University, eventually leading the secondary post graduate teacher training course.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2016, and with HNPP shortly afterwards, she retired from this shortly afterwards because of increasing disability and, having read that art was excellent therapy for Parkinson’s sufferers, took up painting for the first time ever in January 2018. She found painting offered a new meaning and direction in life. It allowed her in part to visualise her feelings about disability and her changing emotions about living with Parkinson's: the Facing Parkinson's series and that based on Movement.
Every painting is accompanied by a short commentary from the artist detailing the background stimulus to the piece. As a poet, she feels the narrative behind the painting to be important in understanding the drive to create that image even whilst challenging the viewer to create their own meaning. Many of her titles are from the poetry of TS Eliot, Shakespeare or her own poetry.
An anthology of poems co-edited by her, "Jigsaw", contains a number of her poems and is available on Amazon. All proceeds of sales of this book are donate to Parkinson's UK. She is asked to judge poetry competitions and often donates paintings for auction to raise money for charity.