Jean Bales was well known for her paintings depicting the traditional life of Iowa Indian women, her affiliated tribe.
Her works have been included in such noted private collections as the late artist, Helen Hardin, as well as such prominent institutional collections as the Vatican in Rome. She has been exhibited in major museums, including the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), the Wheelright Museum (Santa Fe, NM), and the Southern Plains Indian Museum (Anadarko, OK).
She was 1984 IACA Artist of the Year. She was living and working in Oklahoma at the time of her death.