Louise Thies: Success in Diversity

NOAPS theis manofconcretefinished  “Man of Concrete” 34×12, Winner of an Excellence Award sponsored by artframes.com at the 2016 Best of America Exhibit

There is no question that the theme of this painting is strength.  From the stance of the subject, the expression on his face, his musculature, even the dimensions of the painting itself impose upon the viewer a sense that this brawny individual is a force.  The artist has captured a sense of light; couple that with complementary colors and skillful painting, and you have an outstanding painting.

Louise Thies has had a circuitous path to art; she was engaged in art at an early age, particularly as a young person in school.  Although she pursued a degree in computer programming in college, art was never far from mind.  A successful job gave way to a move to rural Missouri where a scarcity of jobs resulted in her opening a taxidermy shop.  She worked hard at this profession, becoming a Master Taxidermist.  The taxidermy was a form of art: “(it) involved a lot of ‘seeing’. Art is all about seeing.  Taxidermy can be art in 3-D.”

Learning art is, of course, a life long pursuit.  Before going back to college to earn a degree in Art Education, Louise had been learning and creating art.  She has worked in a variety of mediums including oils, acrylic, watercolor, and sculpture, but she admits that oils are her first love.  In addition to painting, Louise is an accomplished etcher in granite.  Examples of her work on monuments are found throughout the state of Missouri (these can also be seen on her website).

Inspiration comes easily to Louise; just a glint of light or a story to tell is motivation to start painting.  She works in many genres as well; portraits, still life, wildlife, western art and plein air are all part of her repertoire.  She usually makes her own panels, but will also paint on stretched canvas and linen.  Her process usually involves laying in the whole painting first, making sure her proportions fit well into the space.

NOAPS theis manofconcrete ref photo   “Man of Concrete reference photoNOAPS theis manofconcreteinprogress   “Man of Concrete” in process

Louise Thies is a prolific and award-winning artist, but she states that her greatest accomplishment is being able to make a living at what she loves to do.  Her passion for painting comes through in her work; and the myriad of her subject matter helps to keep her skills sharp and her paintings fresh.

Her words to our readers: “Paint what you’re passionate about and never stop learning or trying something new.”

Louise’s work can be viewed at http://www.thiesart.com

Galleries representing her work include the Hawthorn Galleries, Springfield, MO; MacCreeds Art Gallery, Lebanon, MO; The Vine, Osage Beach, MO; and Bill’s Art Center, Camdenton, MO.

To view more of the 2016 Best of America Exhibit, visit http://www.noaps.org.

Follow us on Instagram at Natoilandacrylicsociety and on Facebook.

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Barbara Nuss: Artist, Author, Teacher

NOAPS Nuss AutumnSymphony_edited-1

“Autumn Symphony” Oil, 20×30, Winner of Best Landscape in the 2016 NOAPS Online International Exhibit, Private Collection.

I’ve read that what captivates an average observer when looking at a painting is the content of the painting.  The viewer will relate to and form an opinion based on the subject matter, formed by their own experiences or emotions.  The artist, when viewing a painting, may look at it for technique and skill.  So when an artist can capture the experience, emotion and outstanding skill, they have created a masterful painting.  “Autumn Symphony”  does just that; the feeling of a warm and serene autumn day,  the background that beckons us to follow the stream, and the superb skill of the artist create an unforgettable piece.

Barbara Nuss has always been an artist.  From painting her first oil at age 8 to frequenting the National Gallery of Art to study the impressionists and post-impressionists as a child, she realized that art was her path for the future.  After majoring in illustration at Syracuse University,  Barbara worked as an illustrator in a department store.  Her illustrations were in India Ink and grey washes, so she became proficient in watercolor technique and learned the importance of value contrast.  She was later  able to devote herself to painting full time, and studied at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore.  This study provided her with the techniques of the Old Masters under the mentorship of Ann Schuler, focusing mainly on still life and portraits.


“Alabaster Horse” 24×30, Oil on Linen, Berkley Gallery


“Daffodils in Crystal Vase”, 24×18, Oil on Linen, Berkley Gallery

Landscapes are the primary the genre for Barbara, and interestingly she notes that both the impressionists and the Hudson River School painters are those who inspire her.  She looked to the Impressionists Pissaro and William Merritt Chase for their use of brush strokes and color, and the realism of John Constable, Frederick Church, Albert Bierstadt, and Thomas Moran.  In order to study landscapes in depth, Barbara spent several years copying the works of Constable, Inness and Metcalf at the National Gallery, and the influence of this study can be seen in her work today.

NOAPS Nuss brighter skyMiller's Pond


“Miller’s Pond” 14×24, Oil, Berkley Gallery

A very critical part of painting for Barbara is painting from life.  Whether it is en plein air or setting up a still life in the studio, she knows that there is no substitute for working from life.  She finds inspiration in the light cast on the landscape, the simple beauty of a piece of fruit, or the dewdrops on a flower.  Her work begins with thumbnails, sketches, and plein air studies.  For larger landscape paintings she uses her plein air studies and photo reference to work from, but remarks that “it takes a lot of plein air work to know how to paint from a photograph, without copying the photograph…two entirely different things.”  For the landscape, the most difficult aspect is editing and composing, and this she does with the initial sketch.  She may even do a small completed painting from her plein air studies before she tackles the larger piece.


“Murphy’s Farm”, 12×24, Oil, Private Collection

Barbara’s palette consists of white, cadmium yellow light, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, permanent madder deep (a permanent substitute for alizarin crimson), burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, phthalo green and ivory black, and from these pigments she can create all her colors.  She does her small pieces on gessoed board, and prepares her own stretched Belgium linen for larger works.

As an art teacher, Barbara had difficulty finding a good reference book on composition for her students, so she wrote one: it was first published in 2004 under the title “14 Formulas for Painting Fabulous Landscapes” and was published again by North Light Books in 2012 under the title “Secrets to Composition”.  The book will soon be reprinted by Echo Point Publishing.  In this book, Barbara takes the reader “from their first encounter with the landscape, how to approach it, what compositions would work, how to take the reference photos, how to make design changes, and how to make it all work into a successful painting.”  This well written and informative book is now used by many art teachers to help their students create successful paintings.

If Barbara can impart to our readers her words of wisdom, they would be to “paint, paint, and paint, as often as possible.  And paint from life.  Don’t paint from photographs…photographs lie.”

Barbara is represented by the Berkley Gallery in Warrenton, VA and the McBride Gallery in Annapolis, MD.

To view more of Barbara’s work, visit her website at http://www.barbaranusss.com. and her facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BarbaraNussArtist.

To view more of the National Oil & Acrylic Painters Fall Online Exhibit, visit http://www.noaps.org.



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Christine Drewyer: Nature’s Mirror

Christine Drewyer Edge of Eternity 20x30 vga

“Edge of Eternity”, by Christine Drewyer,  Oil on Linen, 20×30, Winner of an Excellence Award sponsored by Source Tek at the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit.  Now showing at the RS Hanna Gallery, Fredricksburg, Texas.

The end of the day.  This moody painting tells of finality, of longing, the feeling of being elsewhere.  The viewer wants to cross the pond, go over the embankment and into whatever lies beyond.  This is the feeling that the artist intended; painted in memory of her deceased father, the painting tells the story of life beyond: the setting sun, the reflections in the pond, and the nondescript distance that leaves one yearning to discover it’s secrets.

Christine Drewyer paints from the heart.  Raised in a large family, growing up in the country, she found her muse in the beauty of nature.  Largely a self taught artist, she learned technique from various artists, and finds inspiration from contemporary artists including Nancy Boren, Scott Christenson, Cyrus Afsary, Jacob Collins and Daniel Gerhartz.  Barbara Nuss is another great inspiration, and Christine appreciates Barbara’s critical eye when they are able to paint together.

ChristineDrewyer-Passage-Oil- 24x30   “Passage” 24×30, Oil, RS Hanna Gallery

It is easy to see the influence of some of the great masters in Christine’s work; she cites the work of George Inness and the Hudson River School painters as giving her the vision for her own work.  And although her main genre is the landscape, she does paint still life and figures, which help keep her drawing skills sharp.  As both a studio painter and a plein air painter, the experience of the outdoors helps her “to keep the art honest and helps me to keep finding new venues which inspire and excite me”.  A trip to Italy this fall will further her repertoire of visual inspiration.  (Lucky Girl!)

Christine Drewyer Sycamore_Sunset 20x24 vga   “Sycamore Sunset”, 20×24, Oil, Private Collection

Christine’s working process in the studio begins with a little music and reference material from both field studies and photos.  Her work begins with a charcoal sketch, which she then paints over with a thin wash of a neutral color.  Her palette consists of various triads, depending on the scene, but you will usually find colors such as titanium white, gold ochre, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue, phalo blue, red iron oxide, cadmium red and sepia on her palette.  She works on oil primed stretched linen in the studio, and may work on a linen board in the field.  Most important in the beginning stages are the emphasis on light and dark, with a clear understanding of the light source.  As the painting progresses, she keeps the initial concept of the painting in mind, so that the finished piece will reflect this feeling or idea.

Christine DrewyerAbove the Fray - VGA   “Above the Fray”, 20×24, Oil, Berkley Gallery

Christine has won many national awards, including the Publishers Award of Excellence for “Snow Shadows”, 9×12 Oil, Women Artists of the West Exhibition; the President’s Award for “Shining Through”, 30×30, oil, at the Salmagundi Club of NYC; an Award of Merit for “Sycamore Sunset” 20×24, oil, from NOAPS; and a Certificate of Excellence for “Solitude” 20×24, oil, from the Women Artists of the West.  She has also served on the Board of Directors for three national art organizations: President of Women Artists of the West from 2013-2016 and co-chair of their 47th Annual National Exhibition, and the Inaugural Spring Showcase at the R.S. Hanna Gallery in 2017; Membership chair of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters 2013-2015; and serves as a new board member of American Women Artists.

Christine DrewyerPebble Stream - Copy   “Pebble Stream”, 36×48, Oil, Private Collection

Christine feels privileged to be able to pursue her art; she finds beauty and inspiration everywhere…and would encourage all artists to never lose sight of the value of what we do, for it is the pouring out of the artist’s soul on the canvas that brings that beauty out to the unseeing eye.

To view more of Christine’s work, visit her website at http://www.christinedrewyer.com.

Galleries representing her work include: Berkely Gallery, Warrenton, VA; Main St. Gallery, Annapolis, MD; Rich Timmons Studio & Gallery, Doyleston, PA; the Salmagundi Club, NYC; The Seaside Gallery, Pismo Beach, CA; and currently at the RS Hanna Gallery for the WAOW showcase.

To see more of the NOAPS Exhibitions, visit http://www.noaps.org or visit Instagram at Natoilandacrylicsociety.


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Michelle Murray: Figures Tell the Story

Michelle Murraythumbnail_Far Away editedsz1000

“Far Away” Oil, 36×18, Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN.  Winner of an Excellence Award sponsored by Gamblin Artist Oil Colors at the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit.

The dreamlike quality of “Far Away” by artist Michelle Murray is at once that which attracts our attention.  We are put at ease by the pleasant expression on the subject’s face, and soothed by the warm light coming from behind her.  It is easy for us to imagine a story, and for the artist, it is about the story.

Michelle Murray thumbnail_Tranquil 300dpi sz 1000 “Tranquil” Oil, 14×11, Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

Michelle Murraythumbnail_Warm Autumn Wind sz 1000“Warm Autumn Wind” Oil, 48×24, Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN

Michelle Murray became interested in art as a child while watching her grandfather paint during his retirement years.  And it is a family affair, for her great, great grandfather was an artist as well, having painted the church ceiling in Serra San Bruno, Italy.  Michelle discovered her talent and passion for art at 14, while sketching from life with a friend.  She went on to study with a classically trained Dutch artist during her final year in high school, an experience she calls “a total immersion in art and technique”.  She has since studied with many of today’s master artists; Robert Coombs, who offered helpful critiques and insights into galleries, and Dan Gerhartz, a generous teacher who offered everything he knew about art to his students.

Michelle Murray thumbnail_Feather Boa and Tea 300dpi sz1000  “Feather Boa and Tea” Oil, 24×18, Private Collection

Michelle gravitates toward painting figures, as she feels the figures offer a chance for story telling.  She first learned to handle the issue of light by painting the still life, and now uses that knowledge of light and form on her figures.  Given her passion for painting the figure, it is not surprising that her inspiration comes from masters such as Sorolla, Sargent, Bouguereau, Cecelia Beaux, Rockwell, Pino, and some of today’s masters such as Weistling, Gerhartz, Situ and Schmid.

A day in the studio begins with a prayer.  For her paintings, she has done preliminary work by choosing the setting, the clothing for the model and the story she wants to tell.  She will do a life study, after which she will do a thumbnail sketch in the studio to decide on her composition.  Her painting starts with a sketch on the canvas, she then works from the focal point outward, keeping some areas thin and transparent, and light areas thick and opaque.  She enjoys using Richeson’s Shiva Titanium white for it’s handling properties, giving her that thick opaque light.

Michelle Murray thumbnail_First Blooms edited sz1000  “First Blooms” Oil, 20×20 Private Collection

When asked about her greatest accomplishment, Michelle acknowledges her marriage and family.  She humbly omits the fact that she is not only an accomplished artist, but also President of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society!

Growing and learning is a lifelong pursuit of the artist, and Michelle is grateful for all her experiences that have contributed to that goal.  Even the occasional rejection, as she states” I think back to the first time I didn’t get accepted into a National competition, I am thankful for that experience because it inspired me to keep growing and learning.  To me, that’s what makes this journey so fun, we are always learning and being challenged.”

Gallery Representation:

Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN, USA

Legacy Gallery, Bozeman, MT, USA – Guest Artist

Picture This Gallery, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Cananda

Village Arts Company, Nashville, TN, USA

To view more of Michelle’s work, visit her website at http://www.michellemurrayart.com

To view more of the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit, visit http://www.noaps.org and see images on Instagram at Natoilandacrylicsociety.


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Spring into Plein Air

Here in the Northeast, spring is finally arriving with its burst of blossoms and bright fresh colors.  It is a relief after the grays of winter, to see some color!

NOAPS Rae HamiltonIMG_0211

“River in Spring”, 18×24 by Rae Hamilton from the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit

As many of you know, this week is the Plein Air Convention out in San Diego, California, and marks the unofficial beginning of the Plein Air Season.  Even to a committed studio painter, the lure of the outdoors calls when one peruses the glossy pages of that plein air magazine.

NOAPS Julie Pollard

“Country Road” Oil, 11×14 by Julie Pollard from the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit

Just as a still life painter knows, there is nothing so valuable as painting from life.  In the studio we can control every aspect of our environment, from lighting to content.  Not so true out there in the wild…one must contend with weather, wind, bugs, changing light, and the overwhelming amount of material to paint.  With all those variables, one can not help but admire those sometimes weather-beaten painters.

With a taste of plein air painting on our palettes, perhaps a bit of a refresher course could help inspire.  There are innumerable YouTube videos on painting to refer to, many DVDs, many other instructional videos.  But let’s get down to the basics; a good place to start is the long time favorite of landscape painters, “Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting” by John F. Carlson.  First published in 1929, this book isn’t on DVD, doesn’t have soothing music in the background or even a color picture.  But this book is absolutely full of sound, basic information that is essential to the landscape painter.  The book covers topics such as the mechanics of painting, angles of light, values, perspective, color, composition, and instruction on painting trees, clouds and more.  Certainly a must have in the artist’s library.

NOAPS Gary GibsonIMG_0210

“Morning Drama” Oil, 14×36 by Gary Gibson from the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit

If you are inspired by the glossy photos, certainly a landscape book by such artists as Richard Schmidt, or Peter Wileman and Malcolm Allsop will satisfy; books with in-depth instruction such as Suzanne Brooker’s “The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting” and Mitchell Albala’s “Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice” can prove helpful.  (NOAPS has no interest in promoting these books, these are only suggestions by this author).  This is by no means an exhaustive list of the myriad books available to artist, just a few highlights.  But as many an artist will tell you, the best teacher is yourself at the easel.  Nothing will help us to paint better than understanding what we don’t know, and only experience will tell us that.  But along the journey, be sure to stop and be inspired by all the art around you, both on and off the easel.

To view more of the 2016 Best of America Exhibit, visit http://www.noaps.org and click on past exhibits.  Also visit us on Instagram at Natoilandacrylicsociety.

Please visit our website at http://www.noaps.org to learn more about entering your work in the 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit, hosted by the Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN.

by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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Tim Breaux: Vision Through History

Tim Breaux edited View from peralta[2925]

“Looking South from Peralta” 12×12, Oil, available at Hawthorn Galleries, MO, winner of an Excellence Award at the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit.

One of the most important aspects of a painting for artist Tim Breaux is the communication of emotion through the artwork.  In the case of “Looking South from Peralta”, the feeling that immediately comes through is that of being in the place where the artist was standing and feeling the beauty that surrounds us.  We can literally feel the heat, the thin air, and the texture of the rock beneath our feet.  The artist has strategically placed the rocks and the cacti to keep our eye moving throughout the painting, but unable to leave the painting for the objects on the right of the picture plane.  The well chosen values move us through space, and warm reflected light invigorate the scene.

Tim BreauxDSC_0112 2   “Apache Sentinel” 12×9, Oil on Panel, Collection of the Artist

Tim Breaux is originally from Louisiana, growing up  among the live oaks and sugar cane plantations.  But in 1995 he and his family moved to Missouri, where he experienced a totally different terrain and lifestyle.  Though trained as a pharmacist, his true calling can easily be seen in his artwork.  Always a creative person, from hobbies that ranged from gardening and bow hunting to raising and training driving horses, Tim is a self taught artist.  He gained a fascination early on from the paintings of the Hudson River School, whose large scale works held allegorical messages through the romantic and pastoral scenes.  He especially reveres the work of Asher B. Durand, Frederic Edwin Church and George Inness.  He also gains inspiration from contemporary artists Matt Smith, Quang Ho, and John Pototschnik, who continues to advise and inspire him.  He also sites his most important teacher, his creator.

Tim BreauxDSC_0011   “Little Green Soldiers” 8×10, Oil on Panel, available through Hawthorn Galleries.

Tim now devotes his time to painting 3-4 days a week, both studio and plein air.  He describes himself as a representational artist, often working wet into wet, but also employs the techniques of the Hudson River Artists, using layering and glazing for his process.  His inspirations come from what catches his eye; often the simple graphic pattern of light and dark.

Tim BreauxDSC_0144 2   “Evening Pastoral” 18×24 (painted in the Hudson River Style) Oil on Canvas, Collection of the Artist

He starts his day in the studio by organizing his space, and works in silence to keep his mind clear for the process at hand.  He uses a large glass palette, a double bath system for his brushes, and replaces his colors every two days to keep his paint fresh.  His working surfaces for plein air are cotton canvas panels, or stretched canvas panels in the studio.  Tim’s background in science gives him the ability to analyze the fundamentals of his process, and create within a solid framework of tools that he has gained through the years.  Reading through his blogs on his website will give the reader valuable information on many aspects of creating great art.

Tim’s outlook on creating art is sound advice for all artists:

“Paint what you like.

Paint small and paint often.

Use a limited palette for color harmony.

Find one or two teachers that you admire and learn all you can from them.  Don’t chase the latest fads and techniques from workshops.  Spend all your time learning the fundamentals: Drawing.  Values.  Perspective.  Edges.”

Tim Breaux is represented by Augusta Wood LTD, Augusta, MO, Cherry’s Art Gallery, Carthage, MO, Hawthorn Galleries, Springfield, MO, and MacCreed’s Gallery, Lebanon, MO.

To see more of Tim’s work and read his blogs, visit his website at http://www.timbreaux.com.

To see more of the 2016 NOAPS Best of America paintings, visit http://www.noaps.org and on Instagram at Natoilandacrylicsociety.

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Tina Garret: A Leap of Success

Tina GarrettIMG_0158   “Reverie” Oil, 20×30, Collection of the Artist, Winner of The Second Place Award in the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit

Stirring. When looking at Tina Garrett’s painting “Reverie”, that was the foremost word that came to mind.  The painting emotes on many levels: firstly, the chiaroscuro.  The shifts from light to dark create a sense of drama and mystery, leading the viewer into the creative process by imaging what is in the areas of dark; what is really the expression on the woman’s face?  Secondly, the areas of light lead us around the painting, from flower to flower and then resting on the luscious folds of satin that point to the hands, then to the face. But then we have a question to resolve…what is the story?  The position of the feet make us think that there is an insecurity, perhaps a vulnerability, that we are left to question, and ultimately relate to.

Tina Garrett came to oil painting after her career in graphic design and illustration.  Having an early interest and love for drawing, Tina went to college at the Colorado Institute of Art where she pursued graphics.  But when the publisher she worked for went bankrupt, she had to make a decision; her leap of faith was to follow her dream of painting like the Masters.

Tina GarretIMG_0157   “Momento a Momento” Oil, 58×28 Collection of the Artist

After the choice to become a full time artist was made, Tina studied with various well known artists, as well as at the Scottsdale Artists’ school, where she received two merit scholarships.  Artists that have been particularly helpful in her career path are Romel de la Torre and Michelle Dunaway, both of whom remain in contact to provide rich guidance and advice.

For Tina, inspiration can strike her anywhere, anytime: “I’m just living my life and flash, there it is in the turn of neck or swatch of fabric.”  The model for ‘Reverie’ was a chance encounter while at an art exhibition, and after a short chase, the model was secured for a sitting.

Painting exclusively in oil, Tina works both from life and photos.  Many of her paintings are quite involved, some taking up to a month to bring to conclusion.  Her process for painting varies, as different paintings require different approaches.  At times she uses the selective start method, wherein she begins in one area and brings that area to completion.  Other times she may do an underpainting, particularly for more complex subjects.

Tina Garrett10527676_781899595223214_5305240114465913161_n   Detail image of “City Blues” 24×36, painted in selective start method.  This painting won the ARC Purchase Award in the 11th Annual International ARC Salon.

Tina Garrettdetail monochrome string of pearls   This detail image shows the monochrome underpainting used to create “String of Pearls” 30×40, ARC Salon Purchase Award winner, and 2015 NOAPS BOA People’s Choice Award Winner.

Tina’s work has been well received by numerous organizations of late; she has earned two purchase awards from the 11th and 12th International ARC Salons,  and two of her  paintings are now part of ARC’s renowned permanent collection.  She credits her family for their support, but it is mostly her devotion to art that has led her to such success.

Always the student, Tina feels that any artist should paint knowing their intentions and keeping perspective.  She keeps books that she finds helpful close by, particularly “Alla Prima II” by Richard Schmid, and refers to them when needed.    For Tina, making her painting process as joyful as possible is most important, “quality materials, good food, great music and a beautiful muse.  I truly believe if you love what you’re doing, it shows”.

Tina Garrett is self represented at this time.

Tina’s work “String of Pearls” is exhibiting in the 12th Annual International ARC Salon at the Salmagundi Club in New York May 13-June 12, 2017 and at the Museum of Modern Art Europe (MEAM) in Barcelona, Spain in September.  “Reverie”, recent Grand Prize winner of International Artist Magazine’s People and Figures Challenge NO. 98 can be seen at the 26th Annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils at the Eisele Gallery of Fine Art in Cincinnati, Ohio May 12-June 10.

Tina teaches workshops at private studios and art centers across the U.S. and is teaching her first international workshop in Tuscany, Italy in October, 2017.

To view more of Tina’s work, visit her website at http://www.tinagarrett.com

To view more of the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit, visit http://www.noaps.org and see the images on Instagram at Natoilandacrylicsociety.


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