November 2009: Loons, painting by Jeanne Tubman
Header image: Loons, painting by Jeanne Tubman

Featured Artist: Jeanne Tubman

..Jeanne Tubman, demonstrating in Alberta House (photo by Paul D. Freedman).

Jeanne Tubman, demonstrating in Alberta House (photo by Paul D. Freedman)

When we first started the Featured Artist segment, our intention was to spotlight artists who hadn’t been in the news much lately. This meant that if an artist had recently been written up for an exhibit or an award, we’d move on to others whose work we needed to bring to your attention. One of the artists this eliminated immediately was Jeanne Tubman who, in addition to exhibiting frequently, has been garnering awards and honors right and left for the past several years. We don’t really need to spend a lot of time discussing her work or her honors.

The real reason for this essay at this time is Jeanne, herself, who in her successful pursuit of her goals has disproved a number of popular myths. She is living proof:

  1. That an artist can remain right here in the Sault and still win national recognition for her work and make a living with her art.
  2. That it is necessary to stick one’s chin out and chance failure to achieve success—nothing ventured, nothing gained is a truism for an artist.
  3. That failure is a learning experience and not a death sentence.
  4. That hard work pays off.
  5. That an artist doesn’t have to distance herself from other artists to stand out; there is room for many artists, even on the local scene—every artist is unique.
  6. That a generous spirit and the willingness to promote the work of others isn’t an impediment to one’s own success.
  7. That it is perfectly proper to delight in and enjoy one’s success; relaxing, enjoying and making the most of the opportunities that success brings with it recharges one’s batteries and provides the energy for future pursuits.
  8. That possibly the greatest asset an artist can possess is enthusiasm and a love of one’s chosen work.

Jeanne has always been quick to report the honors and successes of other artists—to make sure that we’re aware of them (and often we wouldn’t have been) so we can report them in the newsletter. Because she is so active and enters so many shows herself, she is an excellent source of information on the work of others. If an artist wins an award somewhere else and Jeanne knows about it, she lets us know immediately and often provides a photo. If one of her many students is doing good work and should be selling her art, she refers them to Alberta House, encourages them to enter our festival and others, and lets us know about them. If she creates or discovers an opportunity to sell artwork, she lets other artists know about it, even lending display equipment if she has extra available. When the very innovative and beautiful Blues juried exhibit went up last year, Jeanne took photographs and furnished us with a CD of everyone’s work. When Judy Colein entered a hooked rug in the Home exhibit (a work that took an award in the August Sault Summer Arts Festival as well), Jeanne was there to photograph it and furnish us with a photo.

Jeanne’s family has deep roots in the Sault. (Her great, great, great grandfather, Louis Denis Sir de LaRhonde, built the first ship on Lake Superior that was not a birch bark canoe.) A graduate of Sault Area High School, she has absorbed eight years of college, majoring in physics, math and sociology at Lake State and taking art classes at Sault College. She has also attended seminars in Chicago through the Hobby Industries of America, taken a week-long class from Priscilla Hauser in Detroit, and studied under Art Hartman from Indian River from 1976-78. In a sense, Jeanne is a renaissance woman; her interests are broad. She has a local reputation as a singer and plays clarinet, guitar and recorder. In her teens she attended Interlochen and she traveled to Europe for six weeks with the Blue Lakes Fine Arts Camp Choir in 1970. When her mother ran the Pinnacle Hobby Shop, Jeanne taught basket weaving, tole painting, canvas painting, and macramé.

Jeanne married William Tubman in 1975 and the couple had two children—Joni and Chris, now both living and working in Grand Rapids. (Joni and her husband made Jeanne a grandmother seven months ago, when their son, Jonas was born.) Bill Tubman died in 1987, and Jeanne started a second business, Star Flight Enterprises, to provide for her children, running both that and the hobby shop from the one location. In 2004, with her children grown, she took a giant leap, closed the store, and set about making a living wholly from her painting and teaching. Highlights since that time include "Best Oil Painting Award" at the Fall Festival of the Arts, held at the Art Gallery of Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in 2004; a Third place ribbon and $250.00 cash award in the Oil Painting division of “Our Town” exhibition in Birmingham, Michigan in 2005; the “Best of Show” award at the Pavilion Art show in Cheboygan, Michigan in 2006; two murals painted for the River of History Museum under grants obtained by the Chippewa County Historical Society; a mural for the Tower of History commissioned by Sault Historic Sites; a mural for the Antlers Restaurant, and a contract with Wells Chapin of Avery Color Studios, which produced 5,000 each of Jeanne’s Lighthouse paintings on NOAA charts of Lake Superior and the Straits of Mackinac. The Hemple Paint Company in Denmark is using her painting “Heading Home” as the front cover of its 2010 Calendar.

Jeanne became an official Coast Guard Artist and went to New York’s Salmagundi Club this summer when her painting of the Bertholf was accepted as part of the Coast Guard’s 2009 Permanent Collection. She is a member of the American Artists Professional League, a member and the secretary of the International Society of Marine Painters and a professional member of the International Society of Realism. Her painting of the Roger Blough was in the 1th Annual Maritime Art Exhibition in the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon, in September. While all this was going on she continued to teach classes at the Personal Touch and at her home as well as in Detour and Houghton Lake and continued to exhibit at festivals and juried shows.

Jeanne has demonstrated at Alberta House and is a member of the SAAC Board and of the Le Sault Artists Guild. She has tackled all her endeavors with tremendous energy, commitment and discipline and has had the good sense to enjoy every minute along the way. That in itself takes a certain amount of courage because there’s always the sense that to openly enjoy one’s achievements is to tempt fate—to make it all disappear. Way to go, Jeanne!

Works by Jeanne Tubman
Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version.

USCGC Mackinaw, painting by Jeanne Tubman

A recent painting of the USCGC Mackinaw, which will be on the cover of the Hempel Calendar (see Honors and Accolades)

Loons, painting by Jeanne Tubman

Jeanne’s medium is photo realism. Her range is extensive. Perhaps best known for her marine art, she is also very adept at wildlife.

Last updated: November 1, 2009

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