Painting, Surface Prep and Restoration: various substrates and materials
Design, Concepting and Consulting
Framing and Wood Carving
Calligraphy and Illustration: hand-lettered invitations, signs, and banners
A native Californian raised on rural farms and ranches throughout the Central Valley, Jean, early in her youth became intimately aware and fascinated with “creation.” It’s no surprise that the intricacies of the natural world have captivated her. As a past educator in youth leadership, social justice, and the arts, she developed a passion for assisting others in opening doors.
As a graphic designer, she stretched her talents even more by “messaging through imagery” and has contributed to a myriad of projects. Jean’s work graces private residences, books, and numerous corporate environments, such as Home Depot, AB&I Foundry, and The Clorox Company.
It was the convergence of these two career paths that ultimately lead her to participate in the Hayward Mural Program. Jean has been gratefully active with the Program since 2009 and has painted more than 35,000 sq. ft. of the City’s utility boxes and sound walls (and there is so much more to do!). “It is both a joy and a privilege to wake up and contribute to our community each and every day.”
Many artists speak of the ability to capture moments. It is in that irony that I revel. What I love about painting, be it watercolor, pastel or latex (as utilized in my mural work), is the humbling gratitude that is experienced in the ability to freeze moments as they strike me, but, in turn, understanding that the appreciation lies in the ability to creatively express the impact of how those moments actually capture me!
I consider myself a realist (with regard to artistic expression at least) and if I am truly authentic in any way, it is in my appreciation of the beauty which surrounds me; surrounds all of us. I find my purpose in this life as something of a Visual Scribe: a keeper of place. Along the way, I have been honored with opportunities to exhibit my works in galleries, private homes, along roadsides, and upon buildings.
What I love about working as a mural painter is it puts me directly in touch with the community. Not only do I receive words of deep appreciation shouted from passersby on their bikes or from their cars, but I am often gifted by community members, once unknown to me, who willingly enter into wonderful conversations and share a part of their day/life with me. The process of sharing feeds me as an artist, but also creates friendships and inspires the artist in everyone.
Most recently, the County in which I reside presented me with the distinction of an Alameda County Arts Leadership Award for 2013. It is a very good feeling to know what my “place” is in this world and to continue to expand my horizons and refine my abilities as both an artist and a person.
©Jean Bidwell – excerpts from various watercolors
TECHNIQUES AND APPLICATIONS:
A commission is simply an artwork created under the direction of the client. I’ll work with you to ensure that your creative vision comes to light. It’s typically a fun process and more affordable than you might think. Contact me and let’s talk about possibilities.
Watercolor and Pastels
As an avid bird-watcher, SCUBA diver, and fine artist, I have found that working with various mediums, particularly watercolor, has helped me capture and render the fascinating detail of the “so oft’ overlooked” facets of our natural world. I have been refining my watercolor technique since 1990.
Pastels, on the other hand, are pure pigment. You can liken them to chalk. This particular medium lends itself most beautifully to what I call “skyscapes” and landscapes. They have an almost ethereal quality to them.
Cartoons and Caricatures
These are truly fun to design. It’s all about capturing the spirit of a personality. I’ve done such work for both children’s books and personalized note cards. Past projects have included:
(2013) The Death of Jeffrey Stapleton, Exploring the Way Lawyers Think; (2008) Sandcastle A Children’s Book; (2003) My Human Heart One Woman’s Poems of Rage, Resilience and Rebirth; (1989, 1990) Professor Balloons World of Balloons, a step-by-step guide to creating balloon animals
Murals – Indoor / Outdoor
I have created murals for both indoor and outdoor applications. A wall-mural can literally transform a space regardless of whether it’s in your home, or at your place of business. All of my mural work is done using the highest quality materials. I use BEHR paints, as I’ve discovered them to be the brightest, most durable and scrubbable paint product around!
I approach each portrait with great care and consideration. The challenge is capturing the unique personality of a cherished pet, be it a dog, cat, horse, a bird is to keep their “voices” alive well beyond their all-too-brief time with us. For the most part, I work from photographs, but if it’s at all possible, I prefer a brief interview with your “family member” too.
Hand Wood Carving
Photos (intro image, brushes, bird carvings photo#1): ©kiersten a. stein