January 3, 2013 in Washington Voices

Painter mines emotions with striking images

Jennifer Larue Jlarue99@Hotmail.Com
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Artist Tannea Zollinger, standing next her painting “The Curious Halt,” has her work hanging in Dodson’s Jewelers in downtown Spokane. She grew up with horses and likes to group them together in her paintings, often taking images from various photographs.
(Full-size photo)

Art quote of the week

“Art is a vehicle that allows us to transcend linear time, to travel backward and forward into personal and transpersonal history, into possibilities that weren’t realized and those that might be.”

Pat B. Allen, artist and author of “Art is a Spiritual Path” and “Art is a Way of Knowing.”

On the Web


Tannea Zollinger’s work transcends the surface on which she paints as well as the images she chooses; she wants her work to evoke a memory, a feeling or allow the mind to go beyond what it is just seeing.

“In my landscape paintings I try to find a balance where there is enough representation for the viewer to understand the space as a landscape or forest but not so much detail that it becomes limited to a specific place,” she explained. A mix of abstract and representational, her work grows, runs and drifts beyond the edge of the canvas.

Horses, a forest of aspen trees, a meandering creek, a temple or a truck loaded with all the tools needed to create a monumental garden all seem to be going somewhere or, at least, have a purpose. Full of movement and joy, the pieces represent all that is good in the world.

“I feel that there are so many ugly and disturbing things in the world around us, but there is so much good as well,” Zollinger said. “I think it is important to focus on the good and surround ourselves with things that make us feel happy and peaceful.”

The galleries on her website include series: “Canada,” “commissions,” “southern,” “abstracts,” and “horses.” The latter are works filled with human qualities, seemingly more noticeable through the eyes of a child.

“At one show a little girl walked up to my painting titled ‘The Greeting.’ The girl could sense the love, friendship and bond between the two horses. She looked at her mom and said, ‘Mom, it’s like you and Dad.’ It was so heart touching it brought tears to my eye,” she said. Another piece, “Companions,” shows two horses running through water, side by side, with one horse slightly ahead of the other making sure the path is safe.

“My paintings can be enjoyed on a deeper level if the viewer allows themselves to be sensitive to how the painting makes them feel.”

As a child, Zollinger began sketching in a book, recreating the beauty she saw around her. Growing up in Canada, she had plenty of inspiration, including the Rocky Mountains. In 2003, she earned a bachelor of fine arts from Alberta College of Art and Design. About six years ago, she and her husband, both Canadian/American citizens, moved to the Spokane area.

Now 32, she has shown her work in more than a dozen venues in Canada, California, Washington and Idaho, has been featured in Studio Visit Magazine, and has created more than 20 pieces for clients. Her work is displayed at a Coeur d’Alene bed and breakfast in an attempt to impress Gordon Ramsay for a potential follow-up to “Hotel Hell.” Locally, you can see her work at Dodson’s Jewelers, 516 W. Riverside Ave. in Spokane.

A wife, mother (with a fourth child on the way), and artist, Zollinger focuses on the good in the world. Her future, she said, has endless possibilities.

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