I wish I remembered exactly how Jeanie Tomanek’s work came into my life.
I do remember a Winter afternoon in 2015, looking at her Etsy shop and being captivated by the elusive and etherial figures and scenes she depicted in her paintings.
I favorited nearly every single one.
I soon discovered she had an instagram and after following, would regularly click on her account, drawn time and time again to the peaceful and dreamlike imagery that, to me, conveyed this spirit of hope and resilience.
A theme she often focuses on when painting, I later learned after meeting her.
I finally purchased one of her originals, which you can see here, titled Tiny Bit of Faith, which reminded me of the great many leaps of faith I’ve taken in my life, and how each and every time I have always landed after leaping.
A thing you can forget when you are on the precipice or in mid air.
Of course her celestial themes and moon centered works leave me star struck (pun somewhat intended…) as well. You all know how I feel about the moon.
Her figures, often featureless, without hair or skin color, are the defining symbol behind her art’s moniker. Something I tried to rewrite to convey what she told me in person, but I think I will just let her own words convey the idea.
“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.”
Jeanie did not hesitate to welcome me to visit her in her studio space when I inquired if she would be up for this photo essay.
I brought a dear friend along and coffee and cinnamon buns were awaiting us as we entered her sun splashed home last Spring. I instantly felt at home, not just in her space but in her presence as well. Jeanie is the kind of warm and friendly that makes you want to be her life long friend and that you kind of just want to be around in hopes that some of her depth and wisdom rub off on you.
The mess of artist’s spaces are my favorite. The slant towards imperfection and allowing natural creation to take you where it will. There is a kind of raw freedom there.
A freedom that knows that the process is often more important than the end goal.
It was all the more incredible seeing her work in person, as well as some of the tangible inspiration behind it. Our conversation that afternoon centered around the beautiful resilience of women, following your heart in it’s inclinations of what it was made to beat for, and pushing past fear and indecision and allowing yourself to sit in vulnerability so as to reach a braver and stronger self.
All images shot on Portra 400 35mm film and are in their original as-shot unedited state.
If you enjoyed this Artists In Film essay please check out the others below!
A newer series I’ve started
Spaces In Film
Keep an eye out, because there are more essays in the works!
Thanks for reading friend.
This project is one that is incredibly close to my heart and it means the world that you paused for it.