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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Interpreting the Mysteries Hidden in Artwork

Have you ever looked at a piece of art and wondered what it is or what it means? 

While I find it seems to be a common occurrence with abstracts, you may be surprised to find that other styles of art may reveal mysteries and hidden images. Some may appear to a viewer as one thing, but yet be something entirely different. For instance, take a close look at this painting done by my late cousin Denny Luckett. 

What do you see?

"Old Indian Woman" by Denny Luckett

For years, I saw an abstract looking sailboat. This  painting has been in my family since I was a very young child. It wasn't until years later that it was passed down and explained to me that I was able to see the "Old Indian Woman" using a walking cane while carrying a papoose on her back. Although I never was able to meet my distant cousin, I always admired his work. I'm sure he intended for this beautiful painting to have dual meanings to the viewer. Just a couple of weeks ago, I did my own version of this painting. I respect his talents even more since I've executed my own version changing the colors for a different, brighter and more vivid look.

"Old Indian Woman" by Tina A Stoffel

This new painting is a 16 x 20 oil on canvas and will be available at my upcoming show at the Marietta Artisan Market next weekend, October 8, 2016. 

Another interesting painting...

I've had the privilege of networking with many talented artists. One of them, named Myke Irving, consistently hides images in his work. I didn't know this until recently, but take a look. Can you find the hidden images in his painting? 

Painting by Myke Irving Titled "Five Fish and South America"

Below, Myke reveals the hidden images:

Myke Iriving 
"Five Fish and South America Painting"

This is a 24 x 28 inch oil on canvas painted in 2016.
Myke has circled and then roughly drawn in the fish which are circled in pink and drawn in blue. He circled South America in green then drew it with purple . This is a place where he grew up. It is near a place called Willoughby Spit located in Norfolk, VA.

I enjoy how Myke does this with his work. He is an amazing and very talented artist. An interesting fact is that he is also ambidextrous and able to paint with both  hands. To see Myke Irving's wonderful work, visit him at one of the following links:

Upcoming Show

Also, remember, you can find me and my newest painting next week, October 8, 2016 from 9am-2pm at the Marietta Artisan Market located on Mill Street at the Marietta Square, Marietta, Georgia. At this point and time, this is the last show I have planned for the  year. 

Hope to see you there!

Written by Tina A Stoffel

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Distinguishing Original Paintings From Reproductions

While preparing for a recent art show at the Marietta Artisan Market, I've been having some quality reproductions made so that more people can afford and enjoy my art. However, I do want to inform collectors, enthusiasts and beginning artists of the different qualities and types of reproductions as well as how to tell the difference between them and original paintings.

Is it an original or a reproduction?

Modern technology and advancements in printing have allowed for some pretty amazing art reproductions. This can be tricky to the untrained eye, especially canvas or Giclee prints (pronounced Zhee-Klay).

Many artists, including myself sell Giclee prints to offer their art to more of the public at an affordable price. However, I believe in fully disclosing a reproduction verses an original piece of art. Beware, although I believe most people are honest and upfront, not all artist or even galleries will necessarily work with the same integrity.

For example, during a recent cruise on a high end cruise line, there was a big promotion about an art auction from the ship's art gallery. As an artist, I did find it deceptive. Most all of the pieces were reproductions that were hand embellished. It was at this time I decided I wanted to better inform the public.  As a matter of fact, according to there was a class action lawsuit against various art galleries at sea. They claimed that art was unauthentic and prices were inflated. I found that the prices they were asking, there are many, many places you can find an original for the same price.

Here are a few examples of an original painting and a Giclee print.

What differences do you notice?

Did you notice the signature? While it may not apply to all reproductions, I have signed the reproduction, so the signature is completely different. However, sometimes the original signature is photographed and reproduced.

Notice the clean edge? The reproduction has a clean crisp edge. Most original paintings will not be so clean and crisp along the edge.

Note, you may  notice the top photo doesn't look as great, but that is merely because it was photographed with my phone verses my professional camera. This is the reproduction and it actually looks fantastic, but you can look from an angle and see how flat it is. There are no brushstrokes showing. It is very smooth and flat. This is a good indicator of a reproduction. However, depending on the painting method and medium used, there are  paintings that naturally look very smooth. If you are in doubt, ask. An good artist should disclose this to you if it is not prevalent on their pricing or marketing materials.
How To Differentiate Original Art From Reproductions
I'm a painter, so there are key elements to look for in an original painting:

Here are some additional tips for distinguishing reproductions:

  • Fine Hairs or bristles lodged within painting
  • Brush Strokes following images
  • Various textures that flow with the painting
  • Slight Variations in sheen
  • Canvas, panel or wood support
  • Slightly uneven edges around sides of canvas
  • Ask the Artist or Representative

close up of small bristle lodged in original painting

Visible Texture of Brush Strokes


Original Painting Uneven Painted Edges

1. Fine  Hairs: Although as artists, we work to get the small shed bristles or fine hairs from our furry friends that hang out in our studio, there are just times, if you look closely, there are a few small hairs or bristles lodged within the painting.

2. Brush Strokes and flowing textures: Caution while looking for brush strokes. Some images are reproduced with a brush stroke finish or hand embellished.  You can often tell if your image is reproduced with a brushstroke finish, they will be very uniform. The stroke will run across one image to another not truly following the natural stroke placed to create the image. Hand embellishing will usually just have strokes showing in distinct areas and not the entire painting. Again, if in doubt, ask.

3. Hand embellished: Some artists will add a personal touch to a reproduction by applying paint to a few areas of the reproduction. This is not as much detail as the original painting, but does add a nice touch.

4. Paintings are typically executed on a canvas, panel or wood support. Watercolors will usually be on textured paper. Prints are normally on smoother paper and may be numbered.

5. Uneven edges, A canvas painting will show slightly uneven lines around the edges. Some are painted edges and some are unpainted, but a reproduction will have a perfectly straight smooth line.

Caldwell Gallery has published a great article about Original vs. Copies. If you are hungry for more detail, please visit their site:

Written by Tina A Stoffel

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