Jean Loney was born in London England, raised in Toronto and then settled in Fergus Ontario with her husband to raise their two daughters. Jean studied art at high school, however while attending the University of Toronto she focused her studies on Sociology and English, and later pursued a career in elementary teaching. It was after retiring from teaching that Jean’s love of art was able to resurface and flourish.
Over the years, Jean had studied watercolour techniques with Nan Hogg in Guelph and Jack Reid at the Haliburton School of the Arts, but a short course in mosaics from Guelph artist Deb Dryden changed her artistic focus. For a former primary teacher, “making mosaics is like cutting and pasting for grown-ups! It’s the colour, texture and sparkle of the glass that calls to me”. Contemporary mosaics can incorporate a variety of materials such as stone, tile, pottery shards, beads, and glass. Each material used reflects the artist’s vision in a concrete way.
In her mosaics, Jean uses concrete materials to express intangible elements of her life and history. For instance, during her teaching years Jean had concentrated her artistic talents on creating a perennial garden in her century home. Digging in the dirt turned up shards of pottery, iron spikes, medicine bottles and an old porcelain doll face. These buried bits of history led to a fascination with underground strata, shown in her sea and earth scapes.
The tree of life is another symbol that resonates in Jean’s work. The image of the tree, in connection with earth and sky, has a universal appeal and has been the inspiration for many of her commissioned pieces.