The horizon line has long been a highly charged place for me. My fascination with line grew out of formative years in the desert landscape of Nevada, where subtle shifts of light bordered by distant horizons filled me with awe. For years I painted the interaction of line and light, exploring the horizon as an evocative metaphor suggesting both grounding and infinite space.

In a move from the desert to a more urban reality, I lost contact with the horizon. Decades working in the healing arts, first as a writer then directly with indigent, ill and dying individuals showed me the healing power of art and nature and, once again, I was filled with awe. Moving to Port Townsend with its many horizons allows me to combine twin passions for light and healing.

My paintings aim to evoke the healing energy of monumental landscapes. A dividing line appears in most work, generally referencing a horizon. The meeting of earth and sky, sky and sea, sea and earth are all in-between places, where anything might happen. Influenced by the work of Turner, Rothko and Tapies, I explore these liminal spaces.

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My studio is a backyard shed transformed with lots of windows into a sweet cottage just big enough to support my largest work. It is quiet and picturesque, surrounded by trees and, more often than not, squirrels and deer. It is my retreat. It is more my home than my home. It is where I flourish and stumble.

Painting in the Rain 

Sometimes it seems truth
like the Old City of Jerusalem
goes four ways
before falling off a promontory
a silky thing
with folded wings.

Like your dream last night
it’s all you
the soggy pine cone
the bedraggled bird
searching its sacs
for secrets
the mother and child
and singing. 

Who wouldn’t want to paint
one detail so true
it can’t sprout wings
or be denied?

—Jeanne Toal