Jean Campbell


Jean Campbell is a figure painter whose work is direct, colorful and simple. She delights in materials, using swaths of paint to surround her centrally located subjects. Her images are framed with a hand drawn border and then they are finished with poetic words or a thought to draw the viewer further into her world.
Campbell grew up in rural Central Pennsylvania in a family that encouraged the arts. She attended Washington University in St Louis, where her interest in minimalist abstraction combined with her love of the figure, particularly women.
It was during this period that she began painting borders on her canvases to frame the work and give it a hand hewn look. Never happy with the flexibility and texture of canvas, she experimented with masonite and other hard surfaces, finally settling on plywood. Campbell works in both acrylic and oils. The acrylics are used in the underpainting for speed and the oils are often put on top for texture and richness. She then often finalizes the paintings with words which serve as detail.
Although most of her work focuses on the figure Campbell also enjoys painting animals, particularly dogs. The visual variety of the breeds is interesting and the wonderful attitudes and expressions of mans best friend have made them a favorite subject.
After receiving her BFA she moved to New York City and immersed herself in the vibrant music and art scene of the ’80’s. She then had an opportunity to live and paint for a year in Mexico and when she returned she settled in the Hudson Valley. The rich history and natural beauty of the Hudson Valley has inspired and informed her since.
Campbell was the gardener at Clermont State Historic Site for many years and is currently the gardener at Thomas Cole National Historic House as well as the sexton at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston. She has shown extensively in the Hudson Valley and on Martha’s Vineyard.