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Tomaskevitch an accomplished painter, beloved teacher


Last updated 1/3/2008 at Noon

Artist Mary Tomaskevitch critiques her students

The name Mary Tomaskevitch is synonymous with the vital artistic talent that enriches our community. Many lives have been enhanced by the artistic steps Tomaskevitch has taken and those who have purchased her pieces feel a connection with the artist.

As a girl, Tomaskevitch enjoyed drawing. “I just liked doing art,” she said. “If I wasn’t reading, I was drawing.”

Born in Alabama, Tomaskevitch had 11 siblings and spent her grade school years in Ohio. “I went to high school in Miami, FL; while I was in high school, World War II was going on,” she said.

In high school, her artistic talent started to bud and she began to realize how much she really did like art.

However, after she graduated, Tomaskevitch didn’t immediately delve into the arts. Instead, she joined the Navy in 1949 and headed for the high seas.

“I was in the Waves,” she said, and it was in the Navy that she met the man she would eventually marry.

After her military duty came to a close, Tomaskevitch’s husband remained in the Navy and the couple was stationed in Japan. It was there, while in her early thirties, that her passion for the arts resurfaced.

“The painting class had its problems; [the instructor] didn’t speak much English,” she reminisced. “[The instructor] wanted me to use big brushes, but I wanted to use little brushes.”

Despite the language barriers and artistic differences, Tomaskevitch found her way back into the arts once again.

When she and her husband moved back to the States, Tomaskevitch took more art classes in Memphis, TN. Then the couple made their way to San Diego. “I took art classes while my husband was in Vietnam, and we moved to Fallbrook in 1965.”

After moving to Fallbrook, Tomaskevitch started teaching art classes out of her home.

Early on, one of her students had an affiliation with the adult education department at Palomar College. One thing led to another, and Tomaskevitch became a valuable educator at Palomar, and has been, for years.

Now, with her Palomar College-affiliated instruction at the Art Campus at Fallbrook, she continues to receive a tremendous amount of positive feedback from her students and the community.

Tomaskevitch enjoys her students. “I want to develop a sense of truth in their work,” she said. “Watching someone grow and seeing them develop their talent is great.”

Tomaskevitch was extremely influential in the inception and creation of the Brandon Gallery, located in downtown Fallbrook. Some say it is California’s oldest co-op gallery for artists.

Lovely artwork decorates the walls and shelves at this unique gallery. “We work hard to keep the quality; to be a member of the gallery you have to be juried and there is a trial period,” she explained.

Tomaskevitch has also been heavily involved with the bi-annual Watercolor Workshop Series for the Art Campus at Fallbrook.

“My job is to schedule the workshops, get well-known artists from all over the Unites States and schedule the lectures,” she said. “It’s a big deal because we have big names in the watercolor world for this series.”

For budding artists, Tomaskevitch has some tidbits of advice: learn how to draw, take classes and visit galleries and museums.

What Tomaskevitch has brought to the art world is immeasurable, but she explains that art has given a great deal back to her. “You can’t paint and draw without looking at things, and these senses that I have developed have made me enjoy the things that are around me.”


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