I am a painter who is interested in light and the interaction of color. Typically, I start each painting with an undercoating of cadmium red. Sometimes, I let the red show through in certain areas. Regardless of whether the red shows through or not, the red layer interacts and bounces through the layers above, giving the overall painting a certain vibrance. Growing up with an architect dad and an interior designer mom gave me an appreciation for architectural spaces. My goal in producing art is for the viewer to be struck by the architectural elements, the saturated colors and the design.


Jan Murphy was born in Palo Alto, California—the heart of innovative Silicon Valley. Jan now lives a mile away in Menlo Park with her photographer husband, Ed. Ed’s photographs are great reference material for Jan.

Raised by an award-winning architect dad and an interior designer mom, Jan spent a childhood awash with creativity and inspiration. Jan is one of the lucky ones who has always known that her path would be in art. She credits her parents with creating an environment that fostered exploration in the arts.

Jan Murphy received her BA in Design from UCLA. Her impetus for attending UCLA was to attend a university with a world-class art department and to receive a liberal arts background. “It’s important, as an artist and designer, to understand other disciplines.” Jan states. Upon graduation, Jan was hired by her professor, Joe Molloy, an acclaimed graphic designer.

The light in Los Angeles captivated Jan. To this day, Jan believes that there is no light like that of Southern California. But she was anxious to return to her Northern California roots. Jan moved back to Palo Alto where she raised her two daughters.

Education and training in the arts has always been important to Jan. She has taken many courses at Stanford University from Larry Lippold, who has exhibited his work nationally.

Jan Murphy’s professional career includes being a successful graphic designer and art director for corporate and nonprofit companies. Jan’s background in design shows in her painting style.

Inspired by the Impressionists, you might find Jan painting en plein air in Europe, Maui or in her backyard—the San Francisco Peninsula.

Jan typically begins her paintings with a cadmium red undercoating. Even when most of the red is covered with other colors, the red bounces through the layers. Viewing Jan Murphy’s paintings, one is struck by the architectural elements, the saturated colors and design.


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