A third generation Florida native, Jean grew up on Anna Maria Island. She holds an MFA from the University of Oregon, a BA from the University of Florida, an AS in Biological Parks Technology from State College of Florida, Gainesville. She held teaching positions at Ringling College of Art and Design, University of Oregon and State College of Florida, Manatee. Jean is a certified Master Gardener and Master Naturalist, has served on Sarasota County’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Council, governing boards of Sea to Shore Alliance and the Friends of Myakka River State Park.
She sailed and painted throughout The Caribbean, Bahamas and Central America. With her husband, Steven Schaefer, part of each year is spent on a small farm in Old Myakka, a cottage in the Village of Longboat Key and with family on a ranch in Montana. A life altering month in Cuba was the apex of 2012.
This new series of Blackburn’s paintings is very strong. She is a keen observer of nature and although her views are cropped, contemplation of the static paint suggests arrested movement of the water by currents and by the wind. They are also about light and color. Solid and liquid are placed in tension, one with the other, structurally integrated in these paintings. For those who might say there is no beauty in contemporary art, this show is testimony to the fact that there is.
Blackburn’s most recent work seems to be about not only an interconnectedness of life, but also her interest in creating abstract pattern with brush strokes of paint. In her translation of colors from nature to pigment, she has achieved success in providing the viewer a coherent and visceral experience, with dazzling forms and passages of paint that flow together beautifully. We are astonished by her facility with paint and keen understanding of color and light. These paintings are on a larger scale than she has been accustomed to and they are a great success.
– Mark Ormond, former senior curator Ringling Museum of Art
When you think of outdoor painting- that famous starting point for Impressionism-abstract art doesn’t fit the picture. Yet the way Blackburn renders the land, it looks less like a landscape and more like abstract expressionist painting.
Something Sisley said of the Impressionists could be said of Blackburn. The Impressionist eye is the most advanced in human evolution, the eye which has grasped and rendered the most complicated combination of nuances and tones.
– Joan Altabe, The Bradenton Herald
Most people don’t get it, but this is what Jean sees- not just water. She is like a current in the water- she keeps changing, and each time, it’s fabulous.
– Suzanne White, Curator of exhibits and collections, South Florida Museum