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Jean Lorrah 


Jean Lorrah

I am an old person but a young artist, having begun seriously studying art in 2019. However, I have been a storyteller all my life, publishing more than twenty-five works of science fiction, fantasy, and children’s literature, so I aspire to create art that tells stories as well. My art is figurative and representational, and at this time I work primarily in pastel, colored pencil, graphite, and charcoal.

People know that I am retired from teaching at Murray State University, and so they often ask if I am formally trained in art. No, but boy, do I ever have a formal education! All the way to PhD, with nearly fifty years on the other side of the desk, teaching everything from 7th grade to graduate school.

Now I finally have time to study all the interesting things that passed me by during those years. Although I “knew” from failed attempts through the years that I had no talent for drawing or painting, I found first a book, and later an on-line course, that both insisted that the ability to draw and paint realistically–my original goal, as it probably is for most people–is not a matter of art, but of craft. Find good lessons, and then practice, practice, practice. I followed the instructions in the book, and then the course, and you know what? I improved!

No, I was not an artist, but if I looked at myself as a student, the teacher in me said, “If you keep going this way, you are going to get there!” So I became the kind of student I always wanted more of in my classes: I listened, I applied the lessons, and I practiced-practiced-practiced.

So I enrolled in basic drawing courses at Murray State, was not afraid to show how far my skill levels were below those of most incoming freshmen, and I continued to improve. Over four years I studied drawing and painting (not a full curriculum, but just what I wanted to learn), took the advice of a professor to try pastels, and suddenly found my medium! Within a year I began winning various honors in local contests, and when a friend introduced me to the PAPA Gallery, my work began selling steadily. Although I now call myself an artist, I am still studying and will continue to do so. That is what my life in education has given me: the ability and willingness to learn, which is the one and only way to succeed at anything.


Juried Exhibitions
Wood River Heritage Museum Small Works Competition Oct. 20-Nov, 18, 2023, “Happy Wanderer”

OMAS (Organization of Murray State Art Students, whose juried show is open to students, faculty, and alumni of Murray State University) “Goldie Has an Eye on You”

Janice Mason Art Museum Bienniel Show, Cadiz, KY, “Elli, Protector of the Aged”

Murray, KY Art Guild Show, “Bianca Smiles,” “My Grandfather’s Internment during WWI”

OMAS, “Hand Study Bride.” “Hand Study Wedding”


Members’ Choice, Wood River Heritage Museum Small Works Competition, “Happy Wanderer”

First Place, Professional Division, Paducah, KY Women’s Club Art Show, “Goldie Has an Eye on You”

Second Place, Drawing, Joyful Category, Icehouse Gallery “Religious” Show, Mayfield, KY Art Guild, “Safe in My Hands”

Kitchen Prize, OMAS “Goldie Has an Eye on You”

Second Place, Drawing, Icehouse Gallery “Critters” Show, “Bianca Laughs”

Honorable Mention, Drawing, Icehouse Gallery “Impressions” Show, “Safe in My Hands”

Second Place, Drawing, Paris, TN Art Showcase, “Anxiety”

Jean Lorrah
Email: jlorrah@murraystate.edu

Survivors: Mother and Child
14×11 Pastel

Safe in my Hands
10×8 Pastel

Elli 2023
8×10 Colored Pencil

Painting of a happy looking golden retriever dog who's head is hanging out the car window enjoying the wind in its face

Happy Wanderer
8×10 Pastel

Star Puppy
5×7 Watercolor

Star Cat
5×7 Watercolor

Bianca Laughs
8×10 Pastel

Goldie Has an Eye on You
5×7 Pastel


124 Broadway St
Paducah, KY 42001, USA
(270) 575-3544

Open Hours

Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – 3pm
Other times by appointment only.
Call (270) 519-3198 for appt.