Jean Bishop came from Woodbridge where she grew up in a family of doctors. “I’m always grateful to my mother for recognizing my inclination towards drawing,” Jean said. “I was not a good student in the academic sense, so Mother saw to it that I attended an art school.” That art school was Western Tech in Toronto, where Jean took the commercial art course but never made it her career.
Jean married Hugh Bishop, a jeweler, and introduced him to the Kahshe Lake area where her family had vacationed for many years. The couple eventually moved to Gravenhurst. Jean, meanwhile, had taken up painting again and took local workshops in art, silk-screening, puppetry, pottery and batik. In the 1970s, she taught painting in three local schools and Georgian College. Together with Marie Aiken, Jean tried, without success, to start a Gravenhurst Arts and Crafts Group. Then, when Muskoka Arts & Crafts began in 1962, Jean did what she could to encourage it in the southern parts of the District.
It was appropriate that one of the first pieces initiated into the Permanent Collection of Muskoka Arts & Crafts was one belonging to a founding member. The painting selected was a delicate watercolour portraying an early Muskoka farm house. Old buildings and homesteads were the subject of most of Jean’s paintings. Her best works were done on location, often in below zero temperatures with her paint box on the front seat of the car.
Jean died on April 9, 2007, in her 82nd year.