Jeannie Griffin Peterka

ID Number: 0033

“I suppose my art career began when I enrolled as a freshman art major at Southern Methodist University. I discovered early on that I wanted to be a painter and work abstractly but that wasn’t the focus of the teaching at SMU at that time. After college, I continued to paint and take private classes but although I had some very good teachers I was unable to find one who could take me into pure abstraction. I continued to struggle on my own… until I met Zanne Hochberg. The first time I went into her home I was stunned by the gorgeous large abstract paintings that were hung floor to ceiling in every room. I asked her if she would take me as a student and when the time was right in her life she did. She became my mentor and teacher, my friend, and always an inspiration. She believed in me as an artist and I will be forever grateful to her.

Besides Zanne, some of my art heroes are Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Morris Louis, Per Kirkeby, and Chuck Close.

I don’t have anything in mind when I start to work except for perhaps some colors I might like to use that day. Even that is subject to change, though, as the painting continues to progress. I start by putting color on the canvas, drawing with charcoal or paint, adding layers of paint, and soon something will begin to emerge. I turn the canvas constantly so that it’s working from all directions. I only decide at the end which way it should hang. I’m currently working with multiple panels and joining them together in the back. I like seeing the energy between the panels and the sharp line made by joining the panels. There is nothing more exciting to me than seeing one or more freshly stretched canvases hanging on my studio wall and wondering what the final painting will look like.

As my work has gotten larger and often requires some assembly, I’ve chosen to show mostly in the northeast. I also take students from time to time and enjoy passing on what I’ve learned through the years.”