Born and brought up in Wales, Jean M Gardiner could only ever imagine drawing and painting. She attended Wallasey Art School from 16, going on to Liverpool College of Art in the 1950s.
Following Art College she began teaching art at various schools in and around Liverpool. In 1956 she married fellow artist, Frank Anderson and they moved together to Taunton in Somerset. There she continued to teach, working at Somerset College of Art and Bishops Foxes Girls School. In 1960 she gave birth to her first daughter Jenny.
After separating from her husband in 1963 she and her daughter moved to North London. Despite struggling financially and looking after a small child she continued to paint throughout this period.
The city was in full swing and here she met many other artists and poets, including Kenneth and Mary Martin, Adrian Mitchell, Bernard Canavan and Sir Richard Rogers.
In 1966 she moved to Netherhall Gardens, where she would live for the next 41 years, giving birth to her second daughter Emily in 1972. The garden was large and wild, inspiring many paintings and pen & ink detail drawings. The flat was very dark and damp. Only one window in the living room let the sun stream in at a particular time of year and this inspired many paintings like Shadows of the Crystal Bowl, Portrait of a Teenage Daughter and Azaleas & Shadows, reflecting her obsession with light and shadow.
As well as raising a family and creating her own extensive portfolio of work, Jean lectured at North-East London Polytechnic, and taught art at Hampstead School, Athlone House Nursing Home and at the Charlie Ratchford day care centre in Camden. She later worked as an individual support teacher at various local primary and secondary schools in Camden, where she developed an interest in special needs education
Jean M Gardiner was a protected tenant, but unfortunately in 2007, after a long battle she was forced out of her home. This struggle was reflected in a trio of paintings, Aspect of Netherhall - Leaving, & Memories 1 & 2, depicting a very different style to any of her other work.
Thankfully, this eventually resulted in her moving to a much lighter flat at the top of Hampstead surrounded by Heath. The last decade there has seen a whole new series of oils, sketches and pen & inks inspired by this location.
Her two daughters and two grandsons also figure in many of her paintings.
Photograph by Janella Sillito 2017