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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. I also study drawing and painting at Murray State University, with an eye toward producing fine art.

Mary Fuhrmann introduced me to the PAPA Gallery in August, 2022, where I received a warm welcome and began to display my work. The atmosphere here is just wonderful, and the monthly challenge guarantees that I will make at least one full-sized artwork each month. As my goal is to improve my work in order to establish myself as a recognized artist, the sheer practice required to produce enough pieces to sell guarantees that I must keep expanding my horizons.

My art has so far appeared in four juried exhibitions (The Murray Art Guild Show and the Janice Mason Art Museum Bienniel Show in 2022, and OMAS in both 2022 and 2023), and I have begun achieving recognition for my work. In 2021 I received Second Place in Drawing in the Paris, TN Artists Showcase for “Anxiety”; in 2022 I placed in the same position in the Icehouse Gallery Show Critters, and earned an Honorable Mention in the Icehouse show Impressions, all with different works. I entered the Honorable Mention piece, “Safe in My Hands,” in the 2023 Icehouse Religious show, where it received Second Place in the “Joyful” category, and yet another new piece, “Goldie Has an Eye in You,” took one of the Donor’s Prizes in 2023’s OMAS (Organization of Murray State Art Students, whose juried show is open to students, faculty, and alumni of Murray State University).

When PAPA invited me to be Featured Artist in May, 2023, I was not sure that I had enough name recognition to warrant it. However, just before my display was to be hung, the Paducah Women’s Club honored me with First Place in the Professional division of their annual Art Show, the oldest art show in West Kentucky. All the validation I have received in the past two years makes me very happy that I decided to study art this late in life.

My ultimate goals are to combine writing and art by illustrating books and producing art projects that tell stories, and to create individual art pieces that people will derive pleasure from having in their homes. That last I have already begun, as my pastels of animals, especially cats, have already proved popular with the public. My frequent co-author Lois Wickstrom and I are working on a new children’s book, Dragon’s Cave, for which I will provide the illustrations. Finally, I have an ongoing project under the working title “American Dream,” telling the story of my family from the 1890s to the present day. I would like to leave a legacy of work that will perhaps inspire future young creatives as I was inspired by the stories I read, the plays and movies I saw, and the other enrichment that inspired me when I was just a girl from a working class family with no expectations of doing anything special with my life.

My Father Teaching Himself to Read

Safe in My Hands
Kitty in Her Pillow Fort


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
PAPA Gallery Featured Artis May 2023 – Jean Lorrah