About the Artist
Jean Jensen grew up in a small town in rural western Nebraska. Inspired by a mother who encouraged art and a wider worldview, Jean couldn’t wait to move away from Garden County. Jean first attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, but soon transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago, where her love of art and the Impressionists grew during many visits to the Chicago Art Institute. Determined to see the world, she traveled through Europe and visited many of the world’s best art museums, worked on an anthropological dig in Israel, and then moved to Kenya. There, she earned her master’s in sociology at the University of Nairobi. Those years overseas broadened Jean’s perspective as she witnessed the breadth of human cultures. But even while travelling the African savannas, climbing Kilimanjaro and visiting the Serengeti, Jean recalled her love of the Nebraska prairies.
Traveling allowed Jean to see Western Nebraska with a new perspective and to see the natural, largely untouched beauty of her childhood home. Returning to Nebraska, she began 35-year career as an artist. Mostly, Jean paints local subjects, combining her passion for the region with the aliveness and energy that she experienced in Kenya. She is skilled in watercolor, pastel and oil, using the raw emotive power of brilliant colors to capture the essence of flowers, wildlife, people and landscapes.
Jean has attended the Autumn Art Workshop for twenty-eight years and serves on its board. She has taught some middle and high school art classes and community workshops. She lives near Lewellen, where she and her two brothers are the exhibiting artists and owners of the Most Unlikely Place gallery and café. One of her recent projects was the restoration of an art deco gas station and the State Theater buildings in Lewellen. Jean’s work can be seen at The Most Unlikely Place Gallery and at www.jeanjensenart.com. For more on the Gallery see www.themostunlikelyplace.com
I remember the thrill in second grade of having my fellow students and the teacher impressed that I could draw a grape vine and leaves! The idea that I could convey an image and make people happy was very exciting to me as a child. I still love creating an image and getting a reaction from the viewer, whether family, friend or someone new to my art. Living in Chicago, I became enamored with the Impressionists during many visits to the Chicago Art Institute. Like the Impressionists, I hope to capture the energy of my subjects, rather than striving for a literal representation. I’ve always loved color, and over the years—and through guidance from several instructors—I developed a much better understanding of color theory and began using stronger colors. I want to enhance the boldness of what I see, to capture a little of the magic in my subjects—their soul. To build my creative and design skills, I do daily meditation followed by random sketches. Almost like a dream drawing, I select a marker of a color that appeals to me in the moment and start drawing lines, never knowing what will emerge. Some turn out quite spectacular, others less so. I love the freedom of creating from a part of my mind that is not the intellectual or analytical part, but rather something more from the heart. My private collection of paintings are based on some of those sketches. I’m fascinated by images of women and have done many over the decades including several interpretations of the women of the Old Testament.
After travelling around the world I found that I love living in rural western Nebraska on our sixty acres of wild land with a little creek and lots of wildlife. I love to capture the endless beauty of my flower beds and the natural world around me through painting. I enjoy sharing my art work and having my artwork in homes and businesses around the country.
Ancient Call to Worship
My husband and I recently traveled to London, then on to Stonehenge and the stone circle at Avebury, and then to Wales. From the exhibits at the British National Museum to Stonehenge to massive Cathedrals, I was taken by the hours of labor taken to create places of worship.
Tintern Abbey especially struck me as a holy place, in spite of having been burned and left in ruins by Henry VIII's men when he left the Catholic Church. The sun shining on the ruined walls cast beautiful dark shadows across the grass growing where the floor had once been. A sign explained that 100 years ago stone masons had come and repaired one wall even though the cathedral would not be used for worship again.
I wondered if the hours of devoted labor is what has made these places holy.
Below - Stonehenge and Margham Abbey.
"Evening in Ash Hollow - 1847" Oil, 24" x 48" commissioned by Friends of Ash Hollow for Sesquicentennial Event at Ash Hollow State Historical Park. Prints available.
Currently showing at:
Show Schedule - Guest Artist
Crane Trust, Alma Current
Carnegie Art Center, Alliance June-July 14, 2018
Western Ne Art Center, Scottsbluff August 2018
Minden Opera House, Minden December 2018