DUNEDIN — After enjoying 30 years as a successful attorney handling health care law, and addressing senior citizen, women’s and employment issues in New Jersey, Theo Tamborlane decided to relocate to Dunedin to reflect all the images she had seen and emotion she felt on canvas.
In a few short years she has gained acclaim as an abstract artist, whose use of geometric shapes and vibrant colors have captured the imagination in more than 140 exhibitions.
Born in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, 32 miles north of Philadelphia, her earliest memory of self-expression is as a young girl when she colored-in drawings created by her mother. She noted the rest of her early years where lived as a typical teenager with time taken up by cheerleading and singing in the glee club.
Her first of many college degrees was an associate in arts degree earned at Pierce Junior College in Philadelphia, where she noted she gained an interest in the operations of the business world.
One of the proudest memories is from 1977, she recalled, when she was a New Jersey delegate to the first U.S. International Women’s Year Conference in Texas. The United States has not funded another Women’s Year Conference since then, she added.
In 1978 Theo earned a Bachelor of Arts from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, majoring in political science and women’s studies. Then, in 1980 she earned a Master of Arts degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, majoring in human resource management with a focus on state and county government.
Tamborlane said her interest in senior citizen housing, womens’ and civil rights issues, and operating non-profits organizations led her to earn a law degree from Seton Hall University in Newark, New Jersey in 1982.
She explained much of the things she wanted to achieve, such as acquiring federal funding for projects, required an attorney, so she decided to become one.
She was licensed to practice law in New Jersey in 1983 and then in Florida 1997.
Her legal career includes acting as deputy attorney general at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and serving as counsel to the New Jersey State Department of Health, Education, and Civil Service from 1982 to 1984. During her career she also served as special counsel to hospitals, nursing homes, home health companies, physicians, other health care professionals, ambulatory centers, and law firms in and outside of New Jersey.
From 1985 to June 1989 she returned to her Seton Hall alma mater to serve as an adjunct faculty member.
In 2004, while taking some additional college classes, one of her professors encouraged her to expand her interest in painting, which led her to express herself on canvas and earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from Union College.
She was also selected to study at the renowned Art Students League and at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Tamborlane decided to give up practicing law in 2011 and embrace painting full time. She said she felt “very successful and fulfilled in her law practice” and happy to start a new adventure.
In 2016 she decided to relocate to Dunedin from Cranford, New Jersey, with husband Jim Roberts, a former Monroe County administrator, to start her new career as an artist.
“Jim has been with me for 40 years through my law and artist career,” she said.
Throughout their relationship they spent a lot of time traveling between New Jersey and Florida to see each other and decided Dunedin seemed like a great place to settle down, she added.
Tamborlane said they decided to live in Dunedin because it reminded her of the quaint small-town atmosphere found in New Jersey, and because of its support of the arts, the great restaurants and close knit community.
Her artistic inspirations come from all the images she seen traveling though life and how it made her felt.
Bright dynamic colors and perfectly chosen shapes add the appearance of movement in her themed creations.
It’s been said from her early Spanish series to Toys and Games to Cityscapes to Connections and Communications to Dystopia to Spatial Dynamics to Thoughts to Under the Seas, Theo shares the thoughts that ignite her artistic passion.
Much of her art combines multi-colorful geometric forms and dynamic abstract images, sometimes depicting people and objects as if in a dream state, to evoke individual feelings in each viewer. Other paintings conjure up feelings through the use of multiple lines and circles and geometric patterns that have the appearance of moving wildly on canvas.
“Abstract art can express so many different ideas and feelings,” she said. “It makes people stop and think.”
“Bringing color and images together is like love and marriage. Good images and color makes it work,” she added.
Along with her abstract artworks, she also paints portraits, floral, still life and landscapes, sometimes blending abstract images and influences into those creations. She said she paints almost every day, in mediums such as oil and acrylic on paper, canvas and fabric, drawing inspiration from “this marvelous art centric community.”
She provides painting and drawing Lessons for students from ten to eighteen years of age and adults at her Dunedin studio.
Since 2008 her paintings have been exhibited in more than 140 solo and group exhibitions in New York City, New Jersey, Florida and Pennsylvania; Her solo exhibitions include presentations at Johnson and Johnson Corporate Headquarters in New Jersey, the international ART EXPO in New York City and Art Basel in Miami, along with a special solo retrospective of her work with 85 paintings in mid-town Manhattan titled “Ideas in Abstraction.”
Since relocating to Tampa Bay she exhibited her work at Spectrum Corporate Offices, the Dunedin Fine Art Center and had two holiday exhibits at the Dunedin Library.
She is founder of Uncommon Art, a local group of artists from differing disciplines who exhibit in special shows around the region. She said she has hope of growing that group to provide encouragement for more artists.
Theo is a member of the Dunedin Fine Art Center, and on the board of directors of the Professional Association of Visual Artists. In 2018 she donated an original two-panel art work to commemorate the new home of Dunedin Cares Food Pantry.
In Florida, Theo is represented by Art Blend Gallery in Fort Lauderdale and has had shows in Bonita Springs as well as in the Tampa Bay area.
She said she is proud to say this year her work was accepted for national distribution in 2019 by Blick Art Magaine, a resource guide of selected artists for collectors and design professionals.
Her artistic creations can be seen on her Facebook page and her website: www.tamborlane.com.