By Anna Grace Moore 

Photos by Blair Ramsey

Human ingenuity is intrinsically characterized through perspective–the art of depicting three-dimensional reality within a two-dimensional medium. For Janet Sanders, perspective is both a way of painting and a metaphor for the best way to live life: appreciating the beauty within the mundane.

Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Janet attended Henry Ford High School and was selected to participate in her school’s gifted art program. She would spend every Saturday at the Detroit Institute of Arts, studying foundations of drawing and painting from some of the world’s greatest artists.

“We’d sit in front of ‘Van Goughs’ and draw, and I thought nothing of it until I moved away and realized what I was missing,” Janet says.

After graduating, Janet attended what was then known as the newly renamed College of Creative Studies, studying pure design–the art of perspective. She says originally she wanted to be a car or industrial designer, and learning to draw perspective improved her skill of drawing in tight spaces.

Around this time, Janet’s husband, George Sanders, got drafted to serve in Vietnam. To avoid the draft, he joined the air force, and he and Janet married and moved to his first deployment in Duluth, Minnesota.

After finishing his service with the air force, George went to college at the University of Minnesota in Duluth and studied cobol. He was later recruited to work for IBM, which moved him and his family all across the country.

Although Janet grew up in an art-focused community, she says her love for perspective art flourished even more as her family moved from place to place, helping garner her appreciation for industrial architecture.

“Drawing perspective is almost like being a little girl again,” Janet says. “You’re putting yourself into the picture. I like to paint paintings that transport you to what might even be a European scene. People like that sort of thing here–being able to put themselves into the painting.”

While in Duluth, Janet fell in love with the community’s picturesque infrastructure. She became an interior designer for Ethan Allen, and later on, she started working at Glensheen Mansion–a historic estate first built in 1905 on the shores of Lake Superior.

Now owned by the University of Minnesota, Glensheen was donated to the college in 1979 as a historic house museum. Janet’s role managing the estate’s gift shop allowed her to preserve and showcase some of the founders’ artifacts, which amazingly, are still intact even after nearly 120 years.

Working in such an innately designed estate ignited Janet’s love for historic preservation, and possibly, the catalyst for much of her portfolio, too. She and her family would spend the next 15 years traveling the country for George’s career, hardly spending more than a few years in any one place.

When it came time to retire, Janet and George settled in the quiet, quaint community of Crestline in Mountain Brook, where they have lived for the last 22 years.

“When we moved to Birmingham, I noticed it had the most beautiful architecture,” Janet says. “Mountain Brook Village looks like you’ve been there even if you haven’t. There are amazing buildings here.”

During her early years in Crestline, Janet enjoyed her living room window’s view of the Mountain Brook Art Association’s annual Art in the Village show, which is held each spring on the front lawn of Mountain Brook City Hall. She inquired about the show, and a local artist, Jean Black, invited her to become a member.

Janet joined the Mountain Brook Art Association in 2006, and even today, she says it has been one of the best decisions of her life. She spent the next few years growing her reputation as a perspective artist and took every opportunity to surround herself with talented members.

Janet began studying under nationally-acclaimed artist Ron Lewis, who then taught adult art classes locally. Janet also began attending workshops, where she honed her talents and made more friends in the art community.

Janet served the Mountain Brook Art Association as hospitality chair from 2006-2009, then show chair from 2009-2010. In 2011, Janet was elected president of the Mountain Brook Art Association–a role she served in for three terms before stepping down and assuming her role as show chair, which she served in until 2022.

Today, Janet is the membership directory manager for the association and also oversees the organization’s newsletter content and design. She has also helped grow the association to more than 150 members.

What she is most known for, however, is bringing wonderful holiday shows to Brookwood Mall and The Summit, as well as the spring show to Mountain Brook City Hall. Janet also applied and became a docent at the Birmingham Museum of Art, where she worked for many years giving tours to people with visual impairments.

“Working with newly blind patients from Veterans Hospital, who are learning to ‘see’ art with their hands, or touring with children, who are blind from birth, is an even more intimate way to share my love of art,” Janet says.

No matter what role she is serving in or where she is living, Janet says one constant in her life has always been art. During both the highs and lows of her life, Janet draws her perspective of the world around her.

Strolling through her studio, one will see landscapes of Mountain Brook Village, Chez Lulu, Brookwood Presbyterian Church, Highland Bar and Grill, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Bottega and more. One of her latest pieces is a landscape of La Paz–a restaurant that inspired her to create the site of “the first date” of some of her customers.

Painting places is more than just landscapes on a canvas to Janet. They are her perspective–her preserving memories–of the beauty in mundane settings others often take for granted.

If everyone stopped and took a moment to look around them–they, too, would notice the details Janet paints into many of her landscapes. While some may see stop signs and the flow of traffic, Janet, sitting outside on a park bench in Crestline Village, will see the smile of a doting mother pushing her baby’s stroller across the crosswalk.

In nearly every one of her pieces, Janet paints in “a touch of red,” or a small, lifelike detail she noticed from observing the hustle and bustle of life. Many times, this red is a lit “hot and fresh” sign of a bakery window or a coffee cup in the hands of a smiling patron.

Such a bold hue, this simple touch of red–a hallmark of Janet Sanders’ fine art–is a sweet reminder that no matter where one looks, he can find beauty everywhere with the right perspective.

To view Janet’s work or inquire about commissions, visit

Join the Club

Founded in 1981, the Mountain Brook Art Association is a community of two-dimensional artists, who live within a 25-mile radius of Mountain Brook, Alabama. This community–now with more than 150 members–serves to bring together both novices and experienced artists, celebrating talent and the pursuit of art fellowship. The association hosts workshops, where members can teach their crafts to others, as well as its annual spring art show that features the work of numerous local artists. To inquire about joining, visit