Monthly Archives: October 2013

Jeanie Tomanek’s new direction

I’ve always loved to watch the way artists evolve—myself included. It seems normal to me that after singing, playing, writing, painting, or drawing in a certain way over a period of time, many artists would feel an urge to change, or just find themselves changing naturally.

If an artist is well-known, it can be risky to change, because “fans” are set in their ways and like the status quo, but nothing can stop this evolution. I believe it’s something innate, irresistible.

Some time ago I posted here about an artist I particularly admire, Jeanie Tomanek:

After a successful and prolific period of painting her haunting signature figures and scenes, Jeanie is now gradually heading in a different, more abstract direction.

She recently told me on Facebook:

“I have always liked a bit of ambiguity and looseness which I wanted to regain in my work. Just going with what suits my eye. It’s similar to writing where you revise and distill and edit and hopefully end up with gold instead of dross. The early painting leads to the next, you keep the things you can’t bear to part with and hope you’re headed toward something true.”

I find this kind of self-discovery thrilling, and I’m sure Jeanie does, too. It’s both the known and the unknown, and you just keep pushing forward until, as she says, you find something true.

“The whole process is pretty intuitive and unpredictable,” she added, “so I’m not sure what else I could say with any certainty.”

True—it’s hard to put into words.

Although I’d often had the impression that many artists began with a more representational approach and then, over time, tended to become more abstract, Jeanie surprised me, at first, when she told me:

“When I began my painting career it was completely abstract and over time figures appeared and combined with the abstracted elements.”

But then when I thought about it, I realized my own musical career had followed a similar path in terms of melody/harmony and free jazz—I started out in the avant-garde, and eventually combined it with more structured forms.

But the process can’t be pigeonholed or second-guessed. I believe that genuine artists are always accessing something beyond their human minds and egos, whether they are aware of it or not, and that infinite source of inspiration and creativity is often full of surprises.

Here are some samples of what Jeanie is working on now:

Untitled (angel)

Untitled (angel)




Cruelest Month

Cruelest Month

To see more of Jeanie’s work, go to


Filed under art

Computer mystery – solved!

Just wanted to share this with my fellow amateur geeks out there:

My MacBook Pro occasionally has a trackpad problem, where the cursor starts jumping around and is uncontrollable. I researched the problem in the Mac forums, and found a lot of long, complicated “solutions” that didn’t seem to be working for anyone. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I instinctively felt that hiring a technician wouldn’t help . . . call me silly, but here’s what happened:

Quite by accident, after considering tearing my hair out over this, I found a solution: Each time the cursor started getting fidgety, I would put down the lid of my MacBook, wait a few seconds, and then open it again. Every time I did this, the cursor would calm down and act normal for a minute or so. As I continued to do it, the problem would gradually stop altogether. Sometimes it took a few days and some patience, but it worked EVERY TIME.Laptop-frustration

I wanted to tell other frustrated trackpad users what I’d discovered, so I went to several forums, where I saw many, many posts like these:

“Please help me! My trackpad constantly freezes, moves by itself and does not respond when needed. It deletes my messages and it flashes. It also clicks on random links.”

“My trackpad moves by itself…and even opens and clicks things! help!”

So I posted my solution, with a sincere desire that it would help people. In a day or so, I got this reply:

“This is excessively bad advice! What you are recommending really just amounts to ignoring the symptoms and hoping that the problem goes away. If this is being caused by a swollen battery, ignoring it could result in permanent damage to the computer. If it is actually being caused by someone accessing the computer remotely, ignoring it gives them more opportunities to do something malicious. Please stop posting this advice everywhere!”

Well, I reasoned that if I had a swollen battery, my computer would certainly not have returned to normal so easily. As for someone accessing my computer remotely, well, I just didn’t believe that. I had my proof, why should I worry about malicious attackers?

Then, a while later, someone posted (on the same forum as my detractor):

“Thanks. That worked for me!”

Ah, justified at last. But I’m sure a lot of other people just ignored my post because I’m not “knowledgeable,” not a technician, and I didn’t offer any complicated, impressive-sounding non-solutions. Also because they might have read that post that “put me in my place.” Who cares? My MacBook is still working just fine, and if my silly little amateur solution can help anybody else, then I’ll be supremely happy. I’m convinced that computers are full of mysteries that have no “pat” answers. I just went with my gut, and got my answer.


Filed under technology