Artist Q&A: Tina Guerrisi
Tina Guerrisi was one of the first artists in Italy to begin using PanPastel Colors when we launched them. Ever since then, she has been working with (and teaching with) PanPastel with spectacular results. Here she talks about her work and how she uses PanPastel.
Tell us about your background as an artist.
My name is Tina Guerrisi, I was born in 1961 and I live in Rome. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I started to draw, but I think that it’s always been something inside of me, an impulse that I’ve always had. I have a diploma in Fashion Design, and I worked as a seamstress until I got my own sportswear fashion line to design. So I started to draw sketches but it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to draw & paint. So I started on my own with oil and acrylic. I liked it all and I wanted to experiment. I was looking for my own technique and style and the best way to express myself, then I found PanPastel.
Then I took part in various group shows. The last one was on February in Oviedo (Spain). 100 pastellists from all over the world participated, so being in the final and being awarded 6th place has been very exciting for me. I was a guest juror (as the pastel expert) in “City of future”, the first contemporary art expo in Policastro.
Today I’m proud of being the vice president of the PASIT, the Italian pastel association (established in 2014) with the purpose of publicizing pastels in Italy, by organizing shows and a pastel day in Rome.
Describe your artwork.
I like painting every subject but what I like the most are portrait and representional, human figures and wild animals set in marine/natural environments. When I create a painting I like to think of a particular scene. It should touch me and everyone who looks at it. I spend so much time studying it. I think about subjects, settings, clothing, accessories, scene and other particulars. Everything must give and say something. So I shoot a hundred photos at least, then I choose the right one. It must have the right look and lights. After all this work I finally start to paint. I carry on painting until I’m fully satisfied. Everything must be perfect.
I take part in the exhibit with my paintings, teach in my own school and in workshops in various Italian cities. I love this job because when I teach using PanPastel I see the students are having fun from their faces. They’re satisfied using PanPastel and it makes me so happy.
When did you first begin using PanPastel colors?
Eight years ago I was on the internet and I found PanPastel Colors. They weren’t known in Italy and I ordered them immediately. When I tried them, it was love at first sight. So I understood that it was what I wanted, the best way to express myself in a simple and fast way. It was pure magic.
Since that moment I began thinking about painting professionally and after some time I began teaching the pastel techniques using PanPastel in art academies and art schools.
How do you use PanPastel colors in your work – what is your technique/process for using them?
I use PanPastel as a base for my work building shape, layering and shading. Then I use soft pastel pencils and then I do the last contrasts of light and shadows with soft pastel sticks.
Are you combining PanPastel with other media – if so, which media- and how do you use them together?
I work with colored pencils, and pastel sticks and for surfaces I use PastelMat paper or a canvas or wood panel after making a base (ground) for pastels.
What do you see as the main benefits of using PanPastel in your work?
Painting with PanPastel is a completely different way to paint with pastels. You don’t have to paint with your fingers and get dirty, as you would when you use the soft pastel sticks. Instead you use Sofft Tools, like the Sofft Knife & Covers, which are painter’s knives with a special sponge cover. This way you can take the colour and after you apply it to the paper they leave a soft hue, so you can already see the finished effect – as in painting – and you don’t have to blend it with your fingers. With the Sofft Knives you can regulate the pressure: lighter if you’re glazing, or heavier if you want more colour – a result more similar to oil painting. It’s unique.
If you make a mistake, well, no fear, you can just erase it easily with an eraser. PanPastel are simple to blend and you can create realistic paintings in an easy way.
What excites you most about your life as an artist?
The most exciting thing about this job is to express what I like and to see the admiration of who looks at it. It pushes me to improve always myself, without stopping my growth, to imagine my next painting before I finish the one I’m working at. The most beautiful thing is having the possibility one day to make something important, to impact and touch people. This dream inside of me gives me the strength to try and try again and never give up.
What’s the most valuable lesson you have learnt on your journey as an artist?
The most important lesson that I’ve learned during my journey as an artist is to believe in yourself. Whatever happens, even if there are some obstacles that you have to pass, a small failure, something that doesn’t succeed at first try. The secret with obstacles is to carry on and believe to be able to do it. Maybe you should change your method, be more patient, look at the great artists of the past and try to find the answer in their work. This is what helps me the most in the development of myself.
I have to thank two artists that gave me painting lessons and helped me in my growth: Ruben Belloso Adorna and Eric Wilson. Thanks to them I overcame my fear to fail as an artist and I started to believe in what I do. I also thank my son Alessio, who can always give me inspiration.
Finally and not least, I thank my husband Pier Luigi, who has always supported me and believed in me.
What are your artistic (and other) goals for the future?
My goals in the future are obviously to keep painting for the rest of my life. I hope I’ll succeed, but to me, happiness is painting and making a living out of it. My dream is to have a personal show, but it will happen only when I really feel ready.
When you are not working on your artwork, what other interests do you have?
Beyond painting, I like to create everything, from needlework to sculpture, but I don’t have a lot of time and I love painting so much that I don’t have time for doing anything else. I just can’t live without it.
Any upcoming events, workshops, shows, book, launches, projects you’d like to tell us about?
Sometimes I make live videos on facebook to share my paintings with my followers. I’d like to write a tutorial book on PanPastel and I hope one day I’ll have that chance. I have also made some little tutorial videos. You can find them on my Facebook page (links below).
In September I participated in the first festival of representational and portrait art in Civitavecchia (Roma), I was invited by the association “Il Poacere dell’arte”. In November 2016 with “PASIT” we are doing big pastel day. In 2017 with “PASIT” we are organizing an International Exhibition of Pastels in Italy too.
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My grandfather was a painter, illustrator, and professor. I grew up sitting on his lap watching him draw. It fascinated me. I had an amazing (and patient, ha) art teacher in high school that nurtured my abilities and helped me create a portfolio that was awarded several scholarships to major art schools.
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