Jean Pastore: The Story of an Artist and Teacher

Jean Pastore (photo by Steve Piepmeier)

Emilie Ortega, President, Quail Creek Fine Arts Painting Club

When you first meet Jean Pastore, you are struck by her sunny personality and warm, inviting smile. You would not know that inside this petite, unassuming, and modest woman was an award-winning artist and teacher. Taking my first class from Jean, I observed her stunning collection of watercolors and, moreover, her ability to communicate the process of creating depth and realism to her students. Not every artist can teach. It takes a special skill to verbalize and demonstrate artistic techniques to other artists, and Jean has those skills in spades!

If you think you can’t begin a new career after raising a family and holding down a full-time job, think again. In her 50s, Jean decided she wanted to be a working artist and fulfill her dream of making art her career. In preparation, she took many classes from well-known artists, did several one-person shows in Colorado, and before long, art galleries were asking her to show her art. During this time, Jean also taught “wannabe” artists to create watercolors they could be proud to show. Jean was on her way to fulfilling her dream.

Jean lived most of her life in Colorado. It’s quite obvious when you look at her artwork that the beauty of the area influenced her early on. Moving to Green Valley in 2009 to be near her two girls, she embraced the magnificent Sonoran Desert and all it has to offer. Many of her paintings reflect the desert flora and fauna around us. But Green Valley was not her first exposure to desert life. She also lived in Albuquerque, N.M., for a time and actually sold her first painting in a gallery there.

In 2010 Jean taught beginning watercolor to a group of five people in the Keno Center. Now, 13 years later, we have a wonderful art studio in the Creative Arts and Technology Center, and Jean is still teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes in watercolor. Her reputation is exceptional, and her classes fill up very quickly. I personally have taken many of her classes, because I always learn something new and enjoy her encouraging style.

Jean has received many awards in juried shows and is currently featured in many private and corporate collections. She has attained Signature Member status in the Colorado Watercolor Society and in the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild and is a member of the Kauai Society of Artists. She spends her summers in Kauai where she paints, teaches, and sells her artwork.

Asking Jean for a bit of advice to artists, no matter the medium, she said, “Have fun; don’t take yourself too seriously. If you get stuck, get out some books or pictures you have taken to stimulate your creativity. Planning is 90% of the painting, and execution is 10%.” Jean also emphasized, “Painting comes from your spirit and your soul; embrace it.”

Jean’s classes can be found on the Quail Creek Fine Arts Painting Club website. Everyone is invited to join in on a class to improve your painting skills. If you want to acquire those skills, join a beginners class or a “Come and Try It” class where you can use the medium of your choice to see if you like it before making an investment in supplies. Happy painting, everyone!