Artist Jeanie Tomanek draws upon themes that first developed in her poetry; exploring various feminine archetypes from myths, folk-tales, fairy tales and her own experiences. The natural world as she experienced it growing up on a farm in the Genessee Valley region of New York also strongly influences her work. Trees, flowers, birds and snow are symbols for emotional states or story elements. Dogs sometimes accompany the pale bald “Everywoman” protagonist on her journeys that often take place beneath a starry moonlit sky. She has been called a mythic artist, telling ancient stories that never grow old.
Tomanek is self-taught, and has always painted for pleasure. It is only in the last decade that she has begun her full time artist career. She lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband Dennis and two rescue dogs.
“I love to show the strength and optimistic attributes of women. Even when they are in a quandary or in danger, I always try to show a glimmer of hope and wisdom—that they will solve the riddle and make it through, stronger and with dignity. Being bald and shorn of any particular identity, they become all women.”
She is also a published poet and her paintings have appeared as cover art for literary journals and poetry collections. Recently her painting “Thoreau’s Pumpkin” was included in the Hudson River Museum’s “Paintbox Leaves, Autumnal Inspiration from Cole to Wyeth”. Three images were also included in “Re-enchantment” a project produced for Australian Broadcasting Company that explores the ongoing effect of fairy tales in our daily lives.
Tomanek's work is held in many private and public collections throughout the United States, Europe and Australia.
Words from the Artist
Throughout my adult life I have always painted–sometimes only one painting a year. Several years ago I left the nine-to-five life behind. Since then I have concentrated on developing my style and voice in my work.
I paint to explore the significance of ideas, memories, events, feelings, dreams and images that seem to demand my closer attention. Some of the themes I investigate come first in poems I write. Literature, folk-tales and myths often inspire my exploration of the feminine archetype. My figures often bear the scars and imperfections that, to me, characterize the struggle to become.
In my work I use oils, acrylic, pencil and thin glazes to create a multi-layered surface that may be scratched through, written on, or painted over to reveal and excavate the images that feel right for the work.
In reclaiming and reconstructing areas of the canvas, the process of painting becomes analogous to having a second chance at your life, this time a little closer to the heart’s desire.