Something very unique is currently on exhibit at the Fallbrook Library from Jan. 11 through March 5. Sponsored by Friends of the Fallbrook Library, this two-month long show celebrates three “Master Mentors,” who are gifted artists and educators and share the camaraderie of being over the age of 80!
Throughout the last four decades, Jeanne Shanahan, Mary Tomaskevitch, and Robert Willis, have taught, encouraged, and inspired numerous students, not to mention those who have simply appreciated their talents and skills.
Jeanne Shanahan is a plein air (“plein” is a French word, meaning “in the open air”) watercolor instructor. Shanahan attended Choinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, before settling down and raising a family of eight children. She continued her discipline to paint and draw, even in her travels.
“When I do travel, I like to take my watercolors with me,” said Shanahan. “Some places that I have been include Tahiti, Hawaii, Mexico and Europe.” Shanahan has resided in Fallbrook for 40 years.
Mary Tomaskevitch has been a Fallbrook resident since 1965, and remembers when she first arrived that there were no art galleries or art classes available within the community.
An instructor in experimental mixed media, Tomaskevitch said, “Those of us who painted, painted together.” Earlier in her life, when living in Japan because her husband was stationed there, she attended art classes. Although she did not know enough Japanese to converse, Tomaskevitch said she and her art instructor were able to correspond through color and subject matter. A signature member of Water Color West and the San Diego Watercolor Society, Tomaskevitch had a long career with Palomar College as an art instructor.
Robert Willis has been a resident at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in Temecula, for the past 20 years and is a watercolor media instructor.
“A lot of my work involves lonely landscapes,” said Willis. “There may be a person that appears here and there, but nature is dominant over people in my work.” When asked what his current landscape interests were, Willis (also a signature member of Watercolor West) said that marshes and wetlands fascinate him.
Jill Cole and Carol Zaleski, members of Friends of the Fallbrook Library, said that it was their dream to hold the exhibition for these distinguished artists and mentors.
Zaleski said that there were many students in the room at the opening reception, which was held Jan. 11, that have been inspired by these three mentors.