Artist Jean Corwin was seemingly born with a paintbrush in her hand.
“She never puts her brush down,” said Corwin’s husband, Chuck.
Indeed, it’s hard to imagine Corwin does anything but create. The 73-year-old artist paints commissions, paints for pleasure and teaches painting classes monthly at Warrior Schoolhouse in Fordyce.
She hand-crafts paper mache dolls and has been published in Prims, a magazine dedicated to, as the publication puts it, “art inspired by a bygone era.”
Corwin’s original works and prints are available at The Dutch House, a marvelous antique store in Waynesburg owned by Corwin’s granddaughter, Savanna Christy, and through the store’s Etsy shop.
And now, Corwin is venturing into the world of calendar art.
“My husband, he’s one of my biggest fans,” said Corwin. “He has a group of friends, every time I do a painting, he’s always sending photos of them. Chuck said, ‘You ought to do a calendar. These are beautiful.’”
Corwin began painting as a child. She said her mother and grandmother were both artists, and she remembers spending countless happy days making art with them, which is a tradition she has passed down to her 10 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
“I don’t ever remember not having a pencil or crayon or paper in front of me,” Corwin said. “That was my gift for almost every holiday – art supplies.”
Corwin attended Hopewell High School, where, she said, her art teacher provided her a more extensive art education than she could ever have received at university. Since that five-student high school art class, Corwin has studied under Patrick Daugherty, a professional artist and teacher from Uniontown, and attended watercolor courses at the University of West Virginia.
“My art training is every day,” said Corwin. “I always take every opportunity to enhance my skills. I’ve always watched programs that featured artists. I do online classes.”
She learns, and she teaches, too.
Corwin is always happy to share her experience and insight with those willing to learn.
Each month, she hosts a four-hour painting workshop in the schoolhouse behind The Dutch House – paint supplies are provided, and students have the opportunity to improve their artistry in an 1800s schoolhouse.
“The one gent in the class, he had not painted since he was in high school. His wife got him to class. He was so excited,” said Corwin. “He did a wonderful painting. I was so excited that he did it.”
Corwin’s sincerity comes through when meeting her in person and when admiring her work, which is scattered around the world. Both her dolls and paintings decorate living spaces near and as far away as California, Texas, Iceland and England.
One morning, Christy arrived to open The Dutch House and was surprised to learn a woman from South Carolina had been waiting outside the shop for nearly half an hour.
She had, by chance, seen a painting by Corwin, and she absolutely had to have the artwork for her home.
Christy invited the woman in. The South Carolinian picked up the piece, pointed to a window on the painted house, and said, “That’s my childhood bedroom,” Christy recalled.
Corwin enjoys her commissioned work – she recently spent more than 100 hours completing a stunning 30-by-36 painting of the client’s home – but her real love is showcasing the place she calls home.
“I love to do paintings of Greene County, the old homes and the landscape,” said Corwin. “This is just a beautiful county. I don’t always think (people) appreciate the beauty that Greene County is.”
The waters, barns and fields that decorate Greene County’s landscapes are on display in Corwin’s 2022 calendar, which goes sale Dec. 30 and may be purchased through The Dutch House Etsy store or on-site.
The beautiful timekeeping keepsake is printed on linen and filled with Corwin’s finest Greene County-scapes in rich colors. Her use of shadow and her sure touch evoke childlike wonder, and Christie said she hopes those who purchase the first Corwin calendar will – carefully – cut out the prints to frame and enjoy in their homes.
Though excited about her foray into calendar art, Corwin is already on to the next thing.
“Even as I’m laying the brush down, the next painting is in my mind,” said the prolific local artist. “When you create beauty, you wake up and you’re so excited because you’re doing a painting. You’re creating something beautiful. It’s hard to see the ugly in the world when you’re creating.”