Arts and Entertainment

Jeanne Snell brings passion to paintings

Jeanne Snell’s watercolor painting, “Who, Me?” shows a scene familiar to all Vashon parents. -
Jeanne Snell’s watercolor painting, “Who, Me?” shows a scene familiar to all Vashon parents.
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An exhibit of watercolors by Islander Jeanne Snell is on display at the Back Bay Inn in September.

For Snell, 64, the exhibit is the latest step in a surprising, eight-year journey of discovery.

“I never had any idea I’d be painting now” she said. “I never did anything artistic in my life until I retired.”

For many years, Snell was busy doing other things. After moving to Vashon in 1979, she raised two children, and in the 1980s, she served two terms as Vashon-Maury Community Council president. She battled to close Asarco Smelter in Tacoma, worked to curb the microwave towers around the Island, and fought the rerouting of the Metro Sewer Outfall from Three Tree Point, where it would have caught the currents to surround the Island, she said.

She also challenged long-time Councilman Paul Barden for his King County Council seat, losing in a very close election, and opened her own computer software business. She retired in 1999.

Her interest in painting was sparked one year later, when she took a workshop taught by well-known Island painter Ilse Reimnitz.

Snell has been studying and painting ever since, and has had several exhibits both on Vashon and in Hawaii, where she now lives part-time. Currently, Snell’s painting “The Quilters I” is showing at the Western Washington State Fair in Puyallup.

The paintings on display at Snell’s Back Bay Inn exhibit reflect her travels and include florals, landscapes including scenes from around Vashon, and a portrait or two.

To see more of Snell’s work, visit

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