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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Moving Blog Posts to my Web Site


Hey there. I hope the holidays are finding you warm, healthy and happy. 
Just wanted to let you know that I'm currently moving my blog posts over to my website. You can find my blog posts and news here: 

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

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

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Making Time For Creating Art

Sometimes the world comes caving in and it can pull us away from what we love most. Whether it be exercise, reading, playing music, creating art or anything else. For me, it is my art. I absolutely love being in my studio and creating art. It's what I call my "Happy Place" where I completely lose myself in all space and time. It literally soothes my soul. When I get pulled away from that, I can get a little, or a lot, grumpy.

If you follow my Social Media pages (links on this blog) you have likely noticed that I just haven't been up to my usual lately. Why? For one I have had a huge remodel along with some much needed repairs happening at my home. Dust is everywhere, a lot of decisions needed to be made and it just drained me. I did get to use my creativity in picking some new colors and decorations. Good thing I have color knowledge.

Secondly, I have not publicly shared much about my personal life because I like to keep it about my art. However, my wonderful husband is the reason I'm able to do what I do, but that comes with a price. 

He works and works while I hold down the fort and raise my kids. I have one preteen  and another teen who is not old enough to drive. While they are superstar athletes, they are very involved in a couple of demanding sports as well as wonderful musicians. I'd like to think they got some of their creativity from Mom.  With that being said, we are nearing year end tournaments in addition to the remodel. Did I mention between the two of them they were sick for about 3 weeks? That left me feeling like this woman in the cartoon and needing some extra limbs like an octopus:

In the midst of it all, I did manage to start a painting and order a book I've been wanting to get for a while. It is fittingly titled: I'd Rather Be In The Studio, by  Alyson B. Stanfield. 
While I have not attended any of Alyson's sessions, I have followed her blog and she has some wonderful advice for artists. I'm just curious if she has any tips for the busy Mom/Artist, or if it will just be a few years until my teen drives until I can devote more time to my art. I'm not rushing because I love my children dearly and realize they will be grown before I know it. Rest assured, I will not quit. It may be slower at times when my role as a Mother calls, but I never want to quit my art again, ever. 
In the meantime, I have about a 4-5 hour swim meet to attend today. I plan to take a much needed chance to open this book between swim events and check it out. 

In case you've missed it, here is an Elephant work in progress on my 3rd piece to my wildlife series. I've had to work on it in small increments as opposed to the larger painting sessions I normally have. Why? Because that has been my only option, and that is the answer to this blog title. I chose to do most of it with a painting knife because of the texture I wanted to portray.  It follows the two lions I've done. I'm planning a couple of more animals in this series for now. At which point I may break back into some beach/seascape paintings. 

Image Credits: 
Busy Mom: 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Tips for Artists, How to Keep Fit in Your Art Studio

Starting the New Year out Right

It's the time of year we make resolutions and probably the top resolution is losing weight and getting fit. That happens to be on my list this year along with creating more art and improving in my work which is something I'm always striving at doing. What are your resolutions?

Since a few years ago when I finally reached a point in my life to pick up my childhood dream of being an artist and learning to paint, I have found that the sedentary characteristics of drawing and painting have caused me to pack on more than just a few pounds. If you are anything like me with your art, I can get completely lost in my happy place when I'm working which results in loosing complete track of time. I love that feeling, but not the pounds that come along with it.

 (Cartoon of myself, as you can see I'm much better at painting than cartooning)

What I'm doing

Being fit and into health and fitness, prior to having a family life and pursing the sedentary aspects of art, kept me in great shape. Combine that with getting older and a lot of sitting at the computer and easel, was packing on the pounds and it isn't settling well with me. So, I've decided to do something about it by standing as I do my paintings, and exercising during my kids activities when I can not be in the studio.

Taking it a step further, I recently bought the Garmin Vivosmart activity tracker to help with my goals.  After getting one for my son who is a swimmer, I found myself comparing it to the Fitbit. They both have pluses and minuses, but I went with the Garmin Vivosmart. Why? Because it has an alarm to remind me to get up off of my derriere and get moving. Little did I know, even after spending years in the gym that, long periods of inactive time slow your metabolism even if you fit in a good workout during the day. Note: it is perplexing at first since they only include a quick start guide. You have to go online to the Garmin connect site to get more details

 If you don't have a smart watch or fitness tracker, set a timer, any timer

Also, if you aren't aware, eating more frequent smaller meals will also speed up the metabolism. Make sure to drink 6-8 oz of water. You get hungry if you are dehydrated. Try snacking on something healthy, low in carbs and sugar, high in protein and good fats. This tracker, like many has an option for tracking your meals including calories consumed, and calories burned along with sleep. Best of all, it's water resistant, so I can clean my brushes with it. Just don't get solvent on your tracker. Oh wait, Did I mention I can control my music on my compatible device. Music is a must for me when I paint.

Tips In Summary:

1. Get up and move, march in place or something for a few minutes, even just five.
2. Try standing up to paint
3. Monitor your eating
4 Eat smaller healthy meals
5. Snack on healthy snacks in between meals. Think yogurt, nuts. peanut butter with fruit, etc.
6. Keep a bottle of water near. Drink 6-8 glasses a day. 
7. Limit sweets, caffeine and alcohol

The 3' x 6'  lion oil painting is complete and will be posted to my website soon. Keep your eyes open for my upcoming elephant or giraffe painting. I think it will be an elephant.

I suppose this post is going to hold my feet to the fire for getting back in shape, so here is to a fit New Year with many more paintings to come.

If you have a special routine or plan to stay fit in your studio, please share them. I'd love to hear it.
Happy New Year everyone! I wish you peace, success, creativity and prosperity in the New Year.