MacFarland Altshuler, Jean
Jean’s artistic adventure began in grade school, striving to draw a better horse. She received a full oil paint set at twelve years old and studied with adults in her hometown of Oklahoma City. She experimented with every medium she could get her hands on, but mostly she drew constantly, developing a keen eye.
Jean studied Fine Art at Virginia Intermont Junior College, transferring to Parsons School of Design in New York City to study Fashion Illustration. By her third semester, she had landed a job in the award winning fashion advertising department of Eaton’s Department Store in Montreal, Canada at the age of nineteen. She returned to New York City to further her goal to become a freelance artist in New York. By the age of twenty-two, she relocated to upstate New York, becoming part of the established New York illustration sect as well as running a small equestrian operation.
She explored a myriad of esoteric teachings during the heyday of the human growth movement that helped her venture into the world of fine art by painting the subject she felt confident about: horses.
Her equestrian work has been recognized throughout the country.
In 1986, Jean was called to join a team of people to help develop a community in Lenox, MA, that would include an art center. Over ten years, she developed The Farmbarns, A School for Experimentation in the Visual Arts, whose mission was to explore the realm of what was known as Transformative Art. This venture into collaborative performance work was gratifying and educational, but it was time to get back to her own art. So, in 1988, Jean made several extended journeys to the Southwest to paint and learn sculpture.
After relocating to New Mexico in 1988, Jean studied sculpture in Scottsdale, AZ, and Loveland, CO, which inspired a series of equestrian bronzes over the next several years. But the horse has always led her to deeper places within her. Jean’s profound concern for the fragile environment and our future has been her chief focus through her art since the mid nineties. She states: “As an artist, there is nothing more for me to do but to create images and forms that can remind us of our place in the universe, our journey as conscious beings in relationship to all of life, and our interrelatedness to everyone and everything.”
Jean and her husband, Don, live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.