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Manteca Artist Guild selects Rameys entry
Manteca Public Library circulation assistant Lisa Aschieris, left, and Manteca artist Jean Ramey hold two of the dozens of paintings featured in last years One Book, One San Joaquin reading program. Ramey contributed the most paintings to the effort which include the ones shown in the picture. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Mantecan Jean Ramey has added another feather to her artist’s cap. Her nostalgic watercolor rendition of a restful garden setting has earned the nod of the Manteca Garden Club to be the signature picture that will grace the brochures, flyers and posters of the garden tour in May.

The competition was extended by the garden club to members of the Manteca Artist Guild of which Ramey is a longtime member and former president. Judging of the entries – all original paintings by guild members – was held on Monday. Ramey was awarded $100 cash for her winning watercolor.

The painting will be one of the drawing prizes offered at the conclusion of the garden tour to be held Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s traditionally held the day just before Mother’s Day which makes it an apropos gift for beloved mothers and grandmothers with green thumbs.

“It’s a garden show, so there’s a lawn. Then I added an Adirondack chair, a little pathway in front of it that leads across the grass, and then some trees in the background with tulips and daisies in the front,” said the trained graphic artist describing with excitement the peaceful setting she conjured up in her mind and transformed into watercolor.

She did not have to reach far to summon her muse for this painting project. “I had done a similar painting for a friend of mine but with two Adirondack wooden chairs instead of just one. I just kind of like those kind of wooden chairs – Adirondack. And I just like the idea of looking out in the distance, and a lawn.”

Ramey is no stranger to awards when it comes to her artistic output. Her paintings have won prizes in just about every competition in and around San Joaquin County. These include the Delicato Winery Art Show, the Lathrop Mayor’s Art Purchase Show and Sale, and the Tracy Art League art show.

A very prolific artist, Ramey had the most painting included in last year’s One Book, One San Joaquin, a countywide reading program hosted by the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library. As part of that year’s publicity efforts and to “increase literacy and promote a love of reading among all people, “ invitations were sent out to members of the community across the board – elementary and high school students, teachers, CEOs, as well as the public at large – to submit a list (10 to 15) of their lifelong favorite books. Photographs of these book collections were then provided to various county artists – Ramey was one of those from Manteca – who then transformed these books into paintings. Ramey finished six paintings which made her the largest contributor to the effort. The book painting project was dubbed The Ideal Bookshelf.

The artistic addition to the One Book, One San Joaquin Ideal Bookshelf program, plus the special appearance of two famous authors – Nancy Pearl and Nina Sancovitch – all positively conspired to make that event a resounding success with the paintings displayed in all branch libraries including Manteca, and at the main library in Stockton. Manteca Library circulation assistant Lisa Aschieris and co-worker John Esquivel shepherded the project to its successful completion.

“It was a huge effort. We coordinated close to 90 people, and Jean was the most important part – she did the most paintings and helped us find other artists. She was just as much a part of the team,” Aschieris said of Ramey’s contributions to the effort.

Ramey’s latest artistic project is a display of classic cars in the Manteca Public Library. The pen and ink renditions are classic Ramey, the graphic artist. The intricately detailed paintings clearly manifests her two decades’ experience as professional graphic artist in the Silicon Valley before she and her husband, Roger, moved to Manteca.

The Rameys have two children – a son and a daughter. Son Sam, 25, is a ski instructor at a ski resort in Keystone near Vail, Colorado. He previously worked at a ski resort in Germany where he received his certification as a ski instructor. Daughter Megan, who is engaged and living in Long Beach, inherited her mother’s artistic genes.

“She’s very creative with fabric. She’s a textile artist. She knits and crochets animals and different shapes,” the proud mother said of her daughter who works for a cabinet-painting company in Long Beach.

Ramey’s husband, Roger, who owned a screen and door business in Manteca for 20 years before he retired, now devotes his time to working on his cars as a hobby when he’s not busy helping out his wife in her artistic endeavors which, these days, primarily involves commissioned painting projects.