Memoir Paintings

Jeanne McManus

After working in daily journalism for almost 30 years, Jeanne McManus is now inspired to paint her own story.

In early 2016, she began a pictorial memoir using oil paints on paper. Some of these paintings spring from her family album and are overtly personal. Others are cultural and historical depictions, drawn from photographs,videos, tapes and television replays of the times and the places in which she lived.

In each painting, she captures an autobiographical event—a snapshot of a moment in her life. But she also uses the style and technique of each painting to enhance the mood of the time that it evokes.

For example:

  • Bethany, August 1957” wistfully recalls-- in nostalgic sepia tones--her unencumbered childhood summers at Bethany Beach, Del.
  • Howard Theater, December 1963” portrays in stark contrast the perspective of a young white girl, sitting among a sea of an African-American audience, watching Motown performers at the historically black Howard Theater.
  • 14th Street, April 1968” uses the eerie green-gray militaristic glow of the television screen she watched as National Guard soldiers marched down 14th Street in Washington during the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King.

These recollections build over time as she moves forward to the present.