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:
To see more of Jeanie’s work, go to http://www.jeanietomanek.com