I was born Jean Marie Mayer in St. Albans, New York in 1955. When I was 5 years old my family moved to the coastal town of Lompoc, California. I drew pictures for my elementary school classmates and taught myself to play the guitar at age 12, and within a few years I was teaching children to play guitar at a summer Art & Music camp in Santa Barbara, performing in a band with fellow high school students, and entering my drawings in local Art Association juried shows.
Enrolled as an art major at Alan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California, I attended classes by day and worked as a waitress on the graveyard shift at Denny's Restaurant, where I became friends with the two night cooks, who were both musicians. We sat in with a local night club duo on our way into work and one night a working bar band from San Luis Obispo offered me a job singing with them five nights a week. I left college and Denny's and never looked back.
For the next 25 years I supported myself with my music and art, performing in San Luis Obispo, Shell Beach, Pismo Beach, Grover City, Paso Robles, Santa Maria, and Lake Tahoe in California; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Las Vegas, Nevada and Santa Fe, New Mexico. My paintings hung in galleries in New Mexico, California, Arizona, Texas, Oregon and Tennessee. I studied acting at the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts and in 1980 I wrote The Temptations' hit song, "Power", with Motown legend Berry Gordy.
Moving to Santa Fe in 1989, my paintings of that time depicted scenes of New Mexico and Native American Indians. In 1996, while performing at a small cafe, I met the love of my life, musician Dan Fogelberg. An accomplished fine artist and traditional darkroom photographer himself, Dan shared his knowledge with me and encouraged me to further develop my skills with the camera.
I love teaching and sharing my passion for photography, and I love to travel. I usually teach a couple of photography and Photoshop® workshops each year through Heaven and Earth Workshops.
My primary "focus" is helping budding photographers to master the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings on their cameras and teaching them post-production in PhotoshopCC®.
I have taught workshops in the USA, Mexico, Bali, England, and India.
Dan died of advanced prostate cancer in 2007. Since then I have continued to support the Prostate Cancer Foundation, donating all proceeds of the star-studded CD "A Tribute to Dan Fogelberg" to them; designing their annual Christmas holiday cards; and encouraging men to become informed about testing.
I have been a keynote speaker and honorary chair for the American Cancer Society and the ACS Relay For Life. In 2009 I created a website providing emotional support and information for caregivers called "Don't Lose Heart - Caregivers Caring For Caregivers", which I maintained until 2015.