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Seeing with the Eyes of an Artist

Greg S. (BFA ’17) and Jean Mcfarland Bean (BA ’17) were BYU dropouts. After a baby and an illness derailed their studies in the 1980s, they decided to leave BYU and head to Washington state. Greg, who had been working nights in Utah with the Springville Police Department, got a job as an officer in Bellevue, Washington, and was eventually promoted to detective. One day his lieutenant ordered him to a weeklong forensic-art class. Then a self-described “art imbecile,” Greg hadn’t put pencil to paper since middle school; this class began a lifelong journey into art. The teacher began by saying that art isn’t about the pencil in your hand, but about what you can see. Those words “literally changed my life and changed the way I saw people,” says Greg. By the end of the week, he could draw “a decent-looking human head,” and by the end of his career on the force, he had become the foremost forensic artist in the Seattle area, helping apprehend scores of criminals with his composite sketches. Meanwhile, Jean developed her own native interest in art. Thirty years after leaving Provo, the Beans received a clear prompting that, even though it was early, it was time for Greg to retire from the police force, and even though it was late, they needed to return to BYU. Read more at More About the Beans “We work on commissions in our home studio together, we go out and paint together, we go to museums together,” says Greg about spending time with his wife, Jean. Their mutual love of art has provided a way for the Beans to grow together, including getting their art degrees at BYU as older students after early retirement. They’ve traveled to galleries all over and spent countless hours discussing artists and paintings. View some of their work at