Meet the Artist
Jean is known as a Katahdin artist and has a summer home and studio on Ambejejus Lake where she paints 7 months out of the year. The summer home has a view of Katahdin that takes in all of Katahdin to past Double Top Mountain with nothing breaking up the view. Jean has been painting from her summer home for 45 years and has a large studio with 8 big skylights in it to view the mountain on days she paints inside. BEGINNINGS: It was March and I looked out the den window into my back yard to see why I could hear dogs barking. At that time my back yard was completely fenced in by a 6' cedar fence attached to my house on both sides. Nothing could get into my yard unless you went through my garage. There they were! Two dogs that belonged to my neighbor had walked over the top of my fence into the back yard because the snow was so deep. I began to cry but not because of the dogs. My husband was very concerned and kept asking me if the baby was coming. I began to laugh and cry at the same time and replied, "spring will never come." It was at that time he suggested that I needed a hobby other than chasing two toddlers around the house. He went to his mother's house and gathered up his art supplies he had from a course he took in college along with a clipper ship painting he did not finish. It was then that I sat down and finished his painting. When he saw what I had done he was quite impressed but half of the painting did not look good, his half! So, I repainted the whole thing and it became my painting. I still have it today to remind me of how far I have come.
It could snow forever after that and I did not mind. The hours flew by and the next thing I knew, two months passed and Bruce was born. Suddenly, I was too busy with 3 preschoolers and took a short leave from painting. That is when I learned how to handle a camera. I took lots of photos of the kids and began to explore our landscape taking photos everywhere I went.
Again winter came and by then had everyone in a routine so I began to paint during nap time and evenings. Naptime was so quick that I learned how to paint real fast! It was a pain to pick up every time the kids got up to keep them from getting into things so I decided to take over their toy room in the heated cellar. The den became their playroom and I used the cellar.
The next few years were learning years for me, as I am self taught. I went to college and have a business degree. Before long I began to give private lessons and had students after school and taught adults in the evening. A few years later I was asked to teach adult education at the local high school and taught there for 5 years. I began to substitute in the school system for the art teachers and when they found out I had a business degree, found myself subbing in the business department and then gym. By then my kids were in Jr. High and High School so enjoyed being able to keep watch over them and their activities.
Here I am 30 years later and still painting and although I still don't enjoy the long winters here, learned to appreciate all the seasons. I won't do a painting unless I have been there and seen it with my own eyes. I have four cameras and a video camera now and sell lots of photography in my new gallery. I long for the day that I can give them all up and tuck a nice little digital camera into my purse but those photos are not quite up to my standards yet. In the meantime, I still lug a tripod and all my equipment everywhere collecting exciting Maine photos, which I use to motivate my creative endeavors at the canvass with my acrylics or watercolors, my first love. My cameras are my 2nd love. They allow me to explore Maine and capture all her moods, my 3rd love. No, I won't get into any more loves although I have grown very fond of Maine lighthouses and paint many of them. Maine has 88 lighthouses including all the river lights and I have been to 75 of them personally. The biggest challenge is that you can only drive to 9. I have visited them by car, sailboat, yacht, Coast Guard, airplane and even helicopter. One of my fondest memories is when my husband, Maurice rented a helicopter, took the doors off and flew me to 21 lighthouses in one day. Flying over the ocean with the doors off was a true testimonial of his love for me! (Imagine lowering my side and lifting the clamp on my seat belt? Plop!) Although my husband can no longer be with me, I intend to carry out his wishes and visit the rest of Maine's lighthouses some day. Between my husband Dan and I, we have two boats and both have the desire to finish my quest to photograph them all.