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 she 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 travelled through Europe and visited many of the world’s best art museums, worked on an anthropological dig in Israel, and then she 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, she paints the local flora and fauna, combining her passion for the region with the aliveness and energy that she experienced in Kenya. She is skilled in watercolor, pastel, oil and prismacolor, 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 at Halsey for twenty-five years and serves on its board. She also has taught 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 most 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 www.themostunlikelyplace.com.