by Jean Mason
sponsored by Bosselman Family of Companies
photography courtesy of Diana Dake

Fluid movement and high energy mark the style of Jean Mason’s work. Most known for her vivid musical paintings, this time the musicians happen to be jazzy green cranes.

“It amused me to think of how a crane would fit its’ beak into a mouthpiece, or how its’ feathered ‘fingers’ would play the piano. I walked around the blank crane and looked at the bumps and lines, then I worked the musical instruments into those natural spaces. People who came into my studio while I was working did lots of giggling. It’s supposed to be fun and happy. The color intensity is really important too; I like the colors to vibrate, show movement and to feel loud. The simple title ‘Crane song’ seemed fitting to allow any type of music. I hope people will hear their favorite music
when they look at my crane. ”

Jean as been painting since she was very young. Artistic talent spans many generations in her family. She has wooden palettes and old paintings from her great-grandmother. Jean’s early inspirations come from her mom (an oil painter) and her mom’s friends. Her dad taught her how to build stretcher frames and use power tools.

She began formal art training at age 12. She showed work through the private art school and made her first real sale before she was officially a teenager. In high school and college and she developed an interest in theater design, painting huge backdrops for local theater companies.

“Looking back, it surprises me that I was not afraid of failure. The first set I did was ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ which we did in the high school gym. We didn’t have a stage, so the backdrop spanned the entire length of the basketball court and went all the way to the ceiling.  I guess that’s why a 7 foot canvas doesn’t intimidate me.”

Ask her where she’s from and she’ll tell you “everywhere.” Due to her dad’s military career, she was born in Japan and lived all over the United States. She graduated from The University of Kansas where she met her husband Mike, an Omaha native. They have been married 30 years and have three grown children.

In the span of her career she has worked as a technical illustrator and writer, a creative director, and as a teacher. She currently paints full time and teaches classes through
The Omaha Creative Institute and WhyArts? Inc.  In Nebraska, her paintings have been featured on publicity materials for Summer Arts Festival, Playing with Fire Blues Series, The Omaha Symphony, The Blues Society of Omaha, a UNO television documentary, and at the Nebraska Governor’s mansion.

Other notable projects include Omaha’s J. Doe, and several of Sioux City’s Public art projects. Nationally, her paintings have captured the attention of the music industry
where they can be seen on CD covers and in recording studios. Her work has also been featured on magazine covers and product literature across the US and abroad. Recently she was featured in JAZZ COLO[U]RS, an Italian Jazz Magazine.

Most of all, it’s all about having fun. Jean says she really enjoys doing research and loves the fact that going to live music events is part of her job. In Omaha, her work hangs at The Artists’ Co-op in the Old Market and at The Hot Shops Art Studios. She is also represented by Ward Nasse Gallery in SoHo/ NYC, and Studio Encanto in St Petersburg Florida. Track upcoming shows on her website:

Jean Mason

Bosselman Family of Companies

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