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ART+COMMUNITYCelebrating our 12th anniversary together!

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  Webmaster Updated: December 6, 2005
 

Behind the Eye
A Written biography of ARTSBRIDGE members past and present

JEAN WOODWARD BRADY: by Elain Schmoeller Restifo

 

Illustration by Jeanne Woodward Brady

The woman you see walking around Lambertville, NJ, sporting a handsomely colored cane, may amaze you. She’ll use her cane to stop traffic, and if you’re not careful, she’ll hug you just as soon as look at you. She’s not always sure she likes her looks and is sure nobody would rave about them, but a noted Lambertville artists thinks she might be an angel: “Everyone should look like Jeanne. When I see her, she is shining.” Jeanne Brady often reminds her friends that “there is a God in everyone,” which is an important Quaker concept, of which group she is a member.
Past President of the New Hope Art League, Jeanne is an important part of our creative community. Her work is included in private collections in seven states and has been seen in banks, hospitals, nursing homes, a publication, as well as the Coryell Gallery, at Philip’s Mill, The Pearl S. Buck Gallery in Dublin, PA, at Prallsville Mill, and Stover Mill in Erwinna, PA.

Though it was Jeanne’s very first award that set her on a creative course, the medium was limited. She captured, in fifth grade, first prize in a contest involving a crayon rendering of a bowl of vegetables. When she received the fifty cents prize, her child’s mind thought, “Hey! Maybe this is the way to go!” It was the way to go, and Jeanne has been going and growing, artistically and otherwise, ever since. Some think she is her own greatest work of art.

After high school, Jeanne met Drew Brady, appropriately at a Pennsylvania treasure hunt. As they dated, Jeanne painted Drew’s portrait in watercolor as he played the violin. Sometimes, she accompanied him on the piano. They married and together planned and built, entirely with their own labor, their first home, on Lurgan Road, near Bowman’s Tower in New Hope, PA. When Drew was called into the service, Florida was their new home, and Jeanne attended Nova University in Ft. Lauderdale, where she studied art.

Before they knew what had happened, in fifty-eight short years, they produced and raised and loved five children and planned and worked on remodeling a dozen old houses, most of them located in Bucks County. When Jeanne at last had time to concentrate on her abiding interest in art, she did so with great pleasure. With the help of such luminaries as Emerson Baum, Liz Ruggles, and Carol Barany, Jeanne mastered watercolor, oil, and acrylic methods.

In 1962, Jeanne joined Naomi Pfeiffer’s Upstairs Gallery, which was located above the current Strawberry Jam store, next to Farley’s Bookshop, in New Hope. There she sold her very first attempt at an oil painting. It was inspired by a photograph of Olga Ivinskaya (Boris Pasternak’s great love), holding a bouquet of dead flowers at Pasternak’s coffin.

To quote Jeanne, “Art changed my life. I love art because it makes you aware of the beauty of the earth and enriches your soul. I never met an artist I didn’t love. I may not love all of the works of the artists, but I love the artists because they are trying to see with their hearts, as well as their eyes. They are trying to see what is really there and, in many cases, are succeeding in communicating this to all of us with their skills and emotions.”

One of Jeanne’s most admirable qualities is her ability to accept and love everyone she meets. She exudes unconditional love and is the embodiment of Deepak Choprah’s dictum: 1. Shed the burden of judgement. 2. Shed the need for approval. Before Drew Brady dies, playwright Jean Toddie had this to say about the pair: “When you are with some people, the air, as poet Richard Wilbur wrote, is awash with angels. Jeanne and Drew are among such people.”

Recently, in pastels, Jeanne has depicted a moving Chinese proverb: “The birds of sorrow fly over our heads at all times but we don’t have to let them build a nest in our hair.” She calls it her “therapy picture” and has given copies to many grateful friends. Jeanne says, “It has helped me with my losses.

 

 

BEHIND THE EYE | archives
> J. W. Brady  
> Peggy Lewis  
> B. McNamara  
> P. L. Powell  
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When do you work and why?
Not enough, because of my broken wing. (Jeanne broke her shoulder in an accident.)

When/How do dreams affect your work?
Not at all.

Who or what influences your work most?
Life. Me.

What was the most remarkable response to your work?
In 1986, Marge Chavooshian chose my painting for inclusion in the juried exhibition by the Lambertville Historical Society and Janet Hunt’s Coryell Gallery. My oil painting was called “George Street, Early Sunday Morning.” To add to the honor, it was chosen by a group from the Historical Society to be their annual raffle painting. They purchased it as a fundraiser for the Society. Illustration by The Box
When do you work and why?
Not enough, because of my broken wing. (Jeanne broke her shoulder in an accident.)
How do dreams affect your work?
Not at all.
Who or what influences your work most?
Life. Me.
What was the most remarkable response to your work?
In 1986, Marge Chavooshian chose my painting for inclusion in the juried exhibition by the Lambertville Historical Society and Janet HuntÍs Coryell Gallery. My oil painting was called ñGeorge Street, Early Sunday Morning.î To add to the honor, it was chosen by a group from the Historical Society to be their annual raffle painting. They purchased it as a fundraiser for the Society.
Illustration by Jeanne Woodward Brady

Photo of Jeanne Woodward Brady