Born and educated in fife, Jean Donaldson became a victim of poliomolitis in her teens. Despite a long stretch in hospital and a slow recovery, Jean was determined to overcome every difficulty.
In due course she graduated from Edinburgh University. She had planned to teach but this proved to have too many physical problems to be viable, so she chose to concentrate on her undoubted skills in Fine Art.
She studied at Edinburgh College of Art and also at Carlisle. She travelled with enthusiasm on the Continent, the Channel Isles and around Argyll. Along with Edinburgh and Fife, these proved to be rich sources of inspiration.
She made many friends among her fellow artists in Edinburgh, from whom she received much encouragement. During the Edinburgh Festival she exhibited with the Cressel Group at Murray House. Her work was admired at the Royal Society of Scottish Watercolourists and as a featured artists at the Torrance Gallery.
Jean Donaldson was a professional member of the Scottish Society of Women Artists (now Visual Arts Scotland) and also the Glasgow Society of Women Artists.