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Tracey Allyn Greene

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
Art class was my favorite class as a young girl and at home I was always drawing. Even then my favorite subjects were animals, birds, wildlife. College and work at various jobs kept me away from art for a number of years, as did work in my career as a veterinary technician. But 6 years ago I decided to pursue artwork again. I had seen another rock-painting artist and it was the classic response of "oh, I think I can do that." I started out wanting to paint my own animals, then started to paint other people's pets, and from there it just grew. I worked with local artists to hone my skills in oil painting and Chinese brushwork. It was, however, an opportunity in the spring of 2005 to visit Paris, France, and see that incredible artwork that fueled my desire to paint full-time. It was truly a life-changing experience for me. Seeing the artwork of Theophile Steinlen and his cat studies all over Paris was a treat and inspiration for me, as I consider cats to be my special muses.
What, besides your art, brings you creative fulfillment?
I love the art of the tattoo, and over the last year I have been collaborating with a fabulous local tattoo artist in designing sleeves for my arms. My love of Asian art and traditional Japanese tattoo design has gone into the creation of the permanent artwork I wear. I find tattoo art to be fascinating, and I enjoy the process of working with the tattoo artist in coming up with a unique composition that fits the equally unique canvas.
What are your motivations for creating?
I just feel good when I am painting regularly. I definitely see a difference in myself, and not in a good way, when I have those times that I can't get to the studio when I wish to. The more I create, the more I want to create, it simply feeds on itself. I am always striving to improve my technique and that is always a motivator.
How do you know when a piece you have been working on is done?
That's always the tough question for most artists. I think my studies in Asian art have helped, along the lines of the "less is more" approach. I try to only play and fuss around with the paintings up to a point, especially with the oils, as I want to keep them fresh. Especially in my animal portrait work, there is a point when I "see" the personality come out, and that is when I know it is done. My husband, the writer, would equate this to when a character on the page sits up and starts talking back to him. I had someone say about a recent rock portrait commission I did for her, that my piece brought out her dog's personality better than a photograph. That tells me I am on the right path, as that is truly what I want to convey.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
I try to attend art exhibits whenever possible, especially Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, the Old Masters and Dutch painters. I always feel a creative surge when I return from an exhibit; I find it so exhilarating. Just the opportunity to see works up close and personal, to see the brushstrokes, the texture, the true color that no art book can capture. It's not that I don't get something from art books - I have a ton of them and love to look through them and read about the artists - but, to me, there is no substitute for actually standing in front of the art. I immediately want to paint after seeing an exhibit.
What brought you to EBSQ?
I initially started by selling my pet rock portraits on eBay, and I noticed these strange letters, EBSQ, in some of the auction titles. I investigated and found my way to the EBSQ home page. I decided to join this wonderful art community back in 2003, and it was, hands down, the best decision I've made in my art career. The support, education, and fellowship that I have found here is truly unique, as are the many talented artists here who inspire me.
What are some of your artistic goals for the future?
Artistic goals...I have been doing more juried outdoor shows the past few years and I am continuing with that this coming year. People are starting to recognize me locally and that can only happen if one puts oneself out there. I also plan on entering my work into more juried exhibits. Besides my signature work with animal portraits in oils and my rock portraits, I want to pursue more traditional subject matter. I love doing still lifes. Landscapes and human portraits/self portraits are on my agenda in the coming year.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
I want my fellow EBSQ artists to know how much I appreciate the support I have gotten here. I love painting. It is difficult to describe the wonderful feeling I get when a piece of my artwork speaks to someone. It is a joy to me to be able to memorialize a special pet for someone, whether that is one of my rock portraits, or on canvas. I enjoy hearing about someone's cat or dog, fish, ferret, guinea pig, bird, their quirks and funny stories, their rescues, even their heartbreak, for I have gone through that as well. For years I loved working with animals, feeling that special bond with them, and hope I can share that with my artwork now.

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