CSPWC email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-09-12 published
Jean Hanson ELPHICK
By John ELPHICK, Monday, September 12, 2005, Page A16
Artist, mother, grandmother, wife. Born September 27, 1930, in Toronto. Died March 30 in Burlington, Ontario, of breast cancer, aged 74.
'Love you," were the words Jean said whenever she said goodbye to her children and grandchildren. She had a very lovely, sweet voice and talked happily to everyone.
Jean's Celtic charm, wit and strong will were gifts from her mother's parents, who were Irish.
She also had an artistic gift. Educated in the Catholic system, she enjoyed liturgical art and the Latin mass. After graduating from secondary school, she studied at the Ontario College of Art, where she was an honours student.
After Jean left college, she set off on a journey of colour and form with a joyful love of design permeating her soul.
In 1953, she began her life as a designer, illustrator, photographer and painter. She began exhibiting her paintings in 1954 and had exhibitions in New York, Washington, Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, London, Ontario, St. Catharines, Ontario, Burlington, Ontario, North Truro, Massachusetts, and Awajii, Japan (where she won a gold-medal prize for excellence).
In the early 1960s, she became a member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour and The Ontario Society of Artists. Membership for Jean meant that she was recognized among the finest artists in Canada. She was proud to include the letters CSPWC and OSA after her name.
In 1966, Jean and I were married. We had two children: Shawna and Kelline. During their childhood, Jean did as much art and design as she could while concentrating on bringing up our children. She nurtured our children's talents and had fun creating things for them, including a parrot Halloween costume for Kelline and two wonderful ceramic wall hangings depicting the holidays of the year for both Shawna and Kelline.
Jean had a passion for rocks and minerals. She loved the beauty of natural and polished stones and became quite knowledgeable about various minerals. Some of the most enjoyable times in her life were looking for and finding colourful pebbles on holiday beaches.
She loved nature, including the ever-changing skies. In time, her paintings evolved into abstractions of land and sky with the horizon dominating. A dear friend penned these words about her horizon paintings: "Horizons that give birth to dreams. Horizons that unravel the complexity and inner struggles of the real world, and horizons that whisper of eternities in another world."
She also loved animals, especially Newfoundland dogs, four of which have been part of our family.
While Jean was ill with cancer, she had a strong desire to communicate her thoughts and created three books. One was titled Sharing Comfort, another Sharing Thoughts. Each page of these two books contained abstract illustrations and profound, expressive thoughts. One example is: "Life span /like ham /do not waste /in dark place." The other is a book of photographs of knotholes in old fences combined with whimsical verses.
Jean also had a major exhibition of her paintings in the third year of her illness, with some very large watercolours and oil paintings.
In Shawna's words, "Mom was a very wise person. She was a friend. She wasn't judgmental. She was a generous mother and grandmother, emotionally and with her time. She was always there for her children and grandchildren. Our memories of her beauty, strength, wisdom and zest for life will live on. She has taught us how to see the sky and has shown us the beauty in nature."
John ELPHICK is Jean's husband.
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