Jeanne Rand Green died just before her 97th birthday, following a life full of family and friendship, love and art. Her formative years were spent in New York City, where her father owned a tavern down by the waterfront and where she and her brothers, Harry and Sidney, went with their mother to visit the country for idyllic summers: running barefoot, exploring creeks, and cultivating a deep love of beauty and nature.
Jeanne was only a teenager when she lost her beloved mother and began studying at the Art Students League with the legendary abstract expressionists Rothko, Rauschenberg, and Calder. Although you could see the influence of her early training, Jeanne was an original artist who developed her own style and mastery, capturing the human heart and figure in her drawings and paintings.
Jeanne Rand left New York City as a young woman with a young child, and courageously traveled by train to the California desert to start a new life. She taught art to children for several years before she met and married Ed Green and moved to Los Angeles. She continued to paint and study art, training to be one of the first art therapists.
After moving to Santa Barbara, Jeanne taught art therapy at UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College and had a successful clinical practice, where she touched the lives of countless people. I met Jeanne in 1972 through our mutual friend, artist and therapist Eleanor Levine. Jeanne became one of my early mentors, culminating in a class we co-taught on movement and art.
Everything in Jeanne’s life was based on art: her friendships, her yoga practice, her garden, and even the way she shopped, at the Farmers Markets, admiring the contrasting colors and textural designs in the produce displays. After her treasure-filled home on Loma Alta was lost in the 1977 Sycamore Canyon Fire, I watched Jeanne re-create its charm and art with her discerning and impeccable eye. Like her mother, Jeanne was a seer and lover of beauty: a tapestry from Thailand, baskets from Guatemala, a print by Sister Mary Corita, and a piece of driftwood from the beach all placed just so, with fresh flowers in abundance.
Never a person to be idle, Jeanne was driven by a social consciousness that led her to take an active role in local and global causes: feminist (League of Women Voters), environmental (GOO), and anti-war (Another Mother for Peace, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation). Everyone who knew Jeanne—whether as an artist, therapist, activist, or friend—felt the compassion of her good heart as well as the challenge of her sharp intellect. No matter where or when, she’d spend only moments in small talk before getting to the gist of what really counts.
Jeanne was the kind of person who struck up intensely personal relationships wherever she went. (She met Carl Sagan on the street in N.Y.C. and started a lifelong friendship with him then and there.) Guided by love for this planet and its peoples, Jeanne went many places, mostly with her dear friend Ilene Pritikin. An original women’s libber, Jeanne challenged all of the women in her life to find their true passion and personal power. Toni Wellen—another friend, and fellow member of The Ladera Ladies Literary League book club—noted that “Jeanne’s creative mind and life experiences infused her analysis,” and that she “often differed, which made for rich conversation.”
Our town has countless stories and cherished memories of this woman who encouraged, embraced, stimulated, and loved many people. In her last years, her caring assistants, Flora Terrazas and Yolanda Hernandez, helped her live in dignity and probably found vital pieces of themselves in the process. No one could be close to Jeanne without having their life deepened. Jeanne was devoted to those who were dear to her, especially her daughter, Stephanie Rose; grandson, Tom Smothers VI; and great grandson, Phoenix Smothers. They always held a place in the epicenter of her loving circle.
Jeanne Rand Green leaves a legacy of love and commitment. She will be sorely missed.