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Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Challenge of Being an Artist and a Full Time Mom

As I felt a gentle breeze caress my skin this morning on Mother's Day weekend. I relished in the moment of all the beauty the day had to offer me. It's as if the breeze was begging me to come out and breathe in all the beauty this gorgeous Spring day has to offer.

But wait, I felt my mind wander. Like so many other Moms, I had a list at least a mile long running through my head. It ranged from laundry, dog baths, cleaning carpets, to dreaded family and studio paperwork and so much more. 

Often I find myself trying to juggle and balance family and art studio time. I love them both. Being in my art studio is my happy place. It soothes my soul from all of life's demands. I'm so thankful to have a supporting husband and family so that I can pursue this passion I've had my entire life. 

An art coach, named Alyson Stanfield, who I've been following is helping me realize that creating and keeping a schedule is a top priority. Alyson's tips and recommendations have helped me tremendously. If you are a fellow artist reading this, I highly recommend checking her out:

As a mother of a young teen and preteen, I have many more years of facing the demands of caring for my children and shuttling children to sports and extracurricular activities. So, if you see me absent for a while, I'm just tending to my family, but rest assured, I am not leaving my art.

As this sketch of my youngest son and I from about 7 years ago reminds me of how fast time really does go by, I realize my children will be grown all too soon and our home will be very empty and quiet then. There will be plenty of studio time then and for now, I'm happy to be creating as much as I'm able to create and enjoying my children to the fullest. 

Happy Mother's Day

written by Tina A Stoffel

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Five Outstanding Artists You Will Love

During the past few years, I've been blessed with the opportunity to network with some wonderful artists. Although I have seen much talent,there are a few that stand out so much that I wanted to share some of them and their work with you.

1. Ritch Gaiti

What is Ritch Gaiti's Art About?

Since the first time I saw Ritch's work, I was awestruck at his use of color and texture. Preferring the rich colors of oils, Ritch focuses on delivering  feeling, emotion, and conveying mood. He tends to portray an ethereal feeling in his paintings which have a subject matter of the American West, mostly horses and Native Americans. Each painting takes about 4-6 weeks to complete.

About Ritch Gaiti

At the age of 6 or 7, Ritch developed an interest in art. After taking a few art classes, Rich decided that wasn't for him and he has been self taught since. Ritch says "Creating something from nothing turns me on. I love to envision and make things come to life-and see things grow".
Bragging Rights: "My mother likes my work.. and I have exhibited in many galleries and museums throughout the country".

To view Ritch Gaiti's work, please go visit the following:
Ritch Gaiti on Facebook

2. Joulia Apostolova 

 Web Address:

Julia's bright shining personality is as beautiful as her art. 

About Julia Apostolova's Art

Julia specializes in abstract paintings. She enjoys abstract art because it gives her much freedom and relaxes her.  She paints with almost everything - Acrylic, Oil, Mixed Media, Watercolor, Ink, but prefers mostly Acrylic and the relief textures with sculpture materials. Depending on the chosen technique, Joulia's art may take anywhere from 3-4 days to 3-4 weeks to complete.

More About Julia Apostolova       

Early in life, before she was able to read, she was drawing all the time. She later graduated with a Bachelors Degree  from the ''Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts'' in Plovdiv (Bulgaria, Europe). When asked why she creates art, Julia replied, "I can't imagine my life without art and mostly, because it makes me happy when I make other people happy! Everything inspires me - the turquoise color of the sea, the majestic nature, the colors and the music in our lives and my exciting travels around the world! "  
Her favorite quote is: ''Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life''.
Pablo Picasso 

Bragging Rights

Gallery Representation:

Amsterdam Whitney Gallery - Chelsea, New York, USA
 The Brick Lane Gallery- London, UK,

and has also had works featured in numerous catalogs, websites and blogs

3. Deborah Rankin Matz 


About Deborah's Art

Deborah paints beautiful sea life and creatures of the oceans. Although she paints in a variety of sizes, many of her paintings are large and breathtaking. She networks with professional underwater photographers from all over the world which have been gracious enough to allow her to paint from their beautiful photographs. Through this experience she has a profound respect and concern for our environment, the oceans and the beautiful sea creatures that live within.

More About Deborah

Deborah Rankin Matz is originally from Ft. Walton Beach, Navarre and the Destin Florida area. Always having a love for art and drawing, Deborah decided to attend the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. After she and her husband relocated to Destin Florida to retire, she was so inspired by the beautiful beaches and the Destin culture that she decided she was at the point in her life to enjoy her art again. 

Also find Deborah on Facebook: Facebook Deborah Rankin Matz

4. Rob Langenberg    Shop Robs Art

About Rob's Art

Rob is inspired by nature, the movement and loyalty of animals, especially horses ( he stresses horses). Living close to the coast, he is also inspired by the sea. Rob paints in oil paints and has found his niche in a unique wet on wet process resulting in astonishing paintings. 

More About Rob

Rob's grandfather taught him to draw at the age of 5 on the back of a cigar box. Although Rob did later attend some art classes, he is primarily self taught. Painting in oils, Rob enjoys creating art because it gives him great pleasure and peace. 

Also Find Rob on Facebook:

5.  Zena Rowland Website:

Turners Wood Oil on Canvas by Zena Rowland

About Zena's Art

Zena paints in oils and I find the beautiful use of color stands out most in her work. Zena states that she so inspired by color that her ideas come after she heads to the canvas where she starts with one or two colors. She puts them on the canvas and the inspiration comes from there. She loves to create relaxing scenes and many have said that they find her paintings spiritual and have used them for meditation. 

More about Zena

Zena has always loved art which was her favorite subject at school. She found herself looking forward to that particular lesson. Since she felt students weren't really encouraged much at school, she is primarily self taught.

Besides her website, you can find Zena on the following networks:
Google+: Zena Rowland

Interviewing each of these talented artist was a pleasure. I found we all have a few things in common. It is interesting that we all discovered our love of art at a very early age and most of us were self taught.  

Article written by Tina A Stoffel

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Elephant Painting Process by Tina A Stoffel

My first video using my GoPro. You can see quite a bit of my technique in this video from starting my under painting with a brush to where I progress to the painting knife to reveal texture. Unfortunately the battery ran out before I finished the painting.

Keep in mind this has been cut and edited so you don't have to see me returning to my palette and reference photo. After the editing, it has been sped up to 8 times the actual speed. Oh how I wish I actually painted this fast. Hahahahahah

I plan do some more of these in the future. Hope you enjoy it.

Tina A Stoffel

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tips for Protecting Your Artwork from Theft

Artist Sharing Concerns

Recently, while networking with a new artist who's work got a phenomenal response, I was asked if they should watermark their work. This artist proceeded to tell me that they don't share much work because they have concern about their works getting copied and stolen. That's too bad because if an artist chooses not to share their work, they are missing out on getting their work seen.

The Watermarking Debate and Image Resolution

Watermarks are a tough question. Sometimes I use them and sometimes I don't. It depends on what I"m sharing electronically. Once I've completed a work and have signed it, I usually don't watermark it because my signature is on the piece. However, I don't upload high resolution photos either. As seen on my a portion of my Water Lily Pond painting below, I try to keep them at 1 MB because it's hard to make a good copy from just 1MB, but it still shows nicely on social media. I think this is the best option because the watermark does distract from your image.
Low Resolution Image is fuzzy when enlarged
When you do watermark, you need to make it difficult to remove. There are programs and people that can take the time to remove them.
Programs like Gimp or Adobe Photoshop can be used to create a watermark. I create mine with a brush to where I can set the size, color and transparency. It should be large enough to cover part of the image, but transparency as well. The transparency doesn't interfere with too much of the image and I believe is harder to remove. Just photograph your signature and follow the appropriate steps below. Make sure your background is set to Transparent.


Find the Gimp Tutorial here:
Find the Photoshop Tutorial here: Create a Photoshop Brush

To Get Your Work Noticed You Have to Take Risks

There are never any guarantees, but if you want to get noticed and get your work seen, you have to get it out there. Be cautious of art sites too. I follow some professional sites and one of them recommended an art social media sharing site to get your work seen. I joined and uploaded some works, but soon backed off of because in order for your work to show nicely, the file needs to be larger than I'm comfortable with uploading. To check the image resolution of your work on a site, just drag your art to your desktop, right click, then click properties on the drop down. You should find the image resolution details on the drop down list.

Written by Tina A Stoffel

Monday, March 14, 2016

Five Tips for Maximizing Your Art Studio Time

For many artist, myself included, balancing studio time can be a challenge. Some of us have to work a full time job for steady income. Some may have interfering health conditions. Others may be taking care of children, parents, etc.

For me, I'm running the household and raising a teen and preteen while my husband works incredibly long hours to support us. It would be very difficult for me to do what I do without him and I would be lucky to get a painting or two done a year.

Everyone's situation is unique, so what can you do to maximize your studio time? For me, studio time comes first (after my family of course). Sometimes that can minimize time due to running my children to sports, band, social activities or if they are sick.

Five tips for maximizing your studio time

1. Set a schedule and post it on your art studio door or near your work space. Put it in your phone. (Come on now, you knew this was coming).
2. Be flexible
3. Limit your time on Social Media (I'm going for 1-1/2 hours a day)
4. Get organized
5. Work efficiently

Let me address these one by one

1. Why set a schedule?
Everyone else has one, right? As creative people, most of us do not like schedules, or at least I don't. As a matter of fact, I can not stand them. I admit, I'm still working on ironing mine out probably because it's constantly changing with children. However, think of it like this, when you are working for an employer, you have set hours and must be there during that time. The same should apply to your studio time. Others should not bother you unless it's an emergency. This is a sure way to be productive on a regular basis. For your convenience, I'm going to attach a copy of a sample schedule. You should be able to download and print. If you can not edit this one to your liking, you can create your own in Microsoft Excel or Google docs which automatically saves to your Google drive. Click the following link for a copy of this schedule.

Are you working full time? Set aside a little time each night through the week, or every other night, even if it's just 30 minutes. Just for working on the sketch for your next painting, priming or building a canvas, or varnishing a painting. All this in small sessions can add up to a lot of extra time. Set aside quality time on weekends and holidays to dedicate to longer sessions and completing work. 

2. Be Flexible. In my case, I have to be. My kids are down with a stomach bug, wisdom teeth removal, going to sporting events, banquets, (yes this all happened in the past week) needing help with homework, school events, Dr. Appointments, etc. Of course this goes against Rule number 1, but it happens and you should still have a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. That will keep you on track, and don't beat yourself up too much if you are off schedule a bit. Get back on track as soon as possible.

3. Limit your time on Social Media: I'm guilty again. This is tricky because most of us are marketing on social media. If you aren't you should be. In addition to having a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page, I moderate 4 Google Plus Art Communities, one which is over 4,000 members. Feel free to join me there if  you like. Here is the link: Online Fine Art Exhibition. (You must request to join so we know you aren't a spammer). I'm giving myself an hour in the morning and again in the evening. I need to cut this down to 30-45 minutes though. In addition to catching up with friends and family, I market and network with artists, but this can eat up your time quickly. So set a timer, it's not hard. 

4. Get organized and stay organized. Another challenge for us creatives is to stay organized, but you will feel much more relaxed, find things easier, and in turn be more productive if you get yourself organized. You will find your supplies, forms, invoices and more with ease when you are organized. I just took a weekend off to organize my studio and it now feels so much better to go into my studio. I think I need to do that every month or two.
After organizing and cleaning-Ahhhhh

5. Work efficiently. Feel stuck while a painting is drying? Start your sketch and/or prep your canvas for your next project. I did this over the weekend while waiting on my Zebra painting to dry for the next layer so I don't mix the colors and get gray. Yeah, learning that one the hard way. So what did I do? Let it dry and worked on my Giraffe for the next painting. It felt great to get a  head start.

See, I sketched the Giraffe which will be the 5th painting in my wildlife series. I hope this information  has helped you. Some of the tips I've gathered are from following other artists and coaches such as Alyson Stanfield. She has amazing tips. I welcome your comments and would love to hear how you maximize  your art studio time, so please feel free to comment. 

*Clip art from

Tina A Stoffel