Dean Thrives as Artist Following Retirement
Retirement can open the door to a number of possibilities. For Jo Jasper Dean, retirement has allowed her to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a full-time painter after years of working in the corporate arena.
“I always remember painting and drawing, even as a young child,” she said. “While working, I dabbled in oil painting and took classes in pottery and watercolor. After retiring, I sought out Mark Weber at St. Louis Community College to cultivate my creative talents and focus on my first love of oil painting.”
Since 2009, Dean has audited Weber’s advanced painting class at the Wildwood campus 22 times.
As a result of her dedication, Dean has developed a painting style that has won her numerous spots in local and national group art shows. She has also participated in several solo exhibitions and juried shows, as well as exhibited her work around the country to great success.
“It has been wonderful to explore my passion for art at STLCC,” Dean said. “I have truly enjoyed learning and growing alongside Wildwood’s thriving community of student and professional artists. Without a doubt, the experience has influenced me as an artist and helped make me the painter I am today.”
According to Weber, Dean’s success can be attributed to her creative talents and her commitment to her work.
“Jo paints in her studio every day and is constantly experimenting with new styles as well as concepts of imagery and composition that continually make her works exciting and dynamic,” he said. “She has spent several years perfecting a style of painting that is uniquely her own.”
While COVID-19 has altered the way students engage in coursework, Weber’s painting students have continued to meet virtually since March.
“Jo has attended all of our virtual classes and has continued to grow as an artist, even throughout this pandemic,” he said. “She inspires others with her imaginative approach and her fearless attitude toward change and growth, which can be seen in her work.”
Recently, through her connection with the College, Dean was invited to install a solo exhibition at Wildwood City Hall. Titled, “Flora Amplified,” the exhibit features nine paintings that range in size from 24”x24” to 48”x36”.
“My paintings focus on a dramatic close-up, inviting the viewer to step inside the scene and feel the same emotional connection I experienced with my subject,” she said. “I enjoy pairing a centuries old technique of a detailed grisaille under painting to depict the reality of my subject, with an imaginative color palette of saturated amplified colors. Applying these exhilarating colors, using lively expressive brushstrokes, enables me to express and accentuate the energy and movement I feel in nature.”
The public is invited to view the exhibit during normal business hours at Wildwood City Hall, or digitally on Dean’s website.