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Interview with Tricia George - 
Breaking Free and Award Winning Artist

By Adelina, 07-21-2019

Tricia George is a renowned wildlife artist living in Marin County, CA. For over 30 years she has painted wildlife, particularly birds, with various themes and motifs. Recently, she was awarded the 2019 Artist of the Year award at the Marin County Fair.

Courtesy: Tricia George

The first time I saw Tricia George’s paintings was at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael, CA. The painting was a white egret wrapping its wings, resting against a copper metallic background. The egret was seemingly in a quiet and peaceful moment, but the way Tricia portrayed its wings and body structure told me otherwise -- the painting portrays a state of mind - a desire to break free from restrictions. This image was so vivid that it left me speechless.

I have been so moved by Tricia’s paintings that I have been following her work ever since. Recently, I had the chance to interview her during her busy schedule. Through the Q&As below with Tricia, our readers can have a chance to get to know more about Tricia and her art series:

Q: Your love for wildlife is elegantly embodied in your paintings which are exquisite and beautiful. Please tell us your journey as a wildlife artist.

A:  I started seriously painting wildlife when I relocated to California from the East Coast.  I was mesmerized by the variety of birds from shore birds to prey birds. I would see different species and wildlife and found them so inspiring. I was amazed how closely they lived to us and observed how the human surroundings didn't seem to impact their daily lives. 

Q: Please tell us the challenges and joys of painting wildlife.

A: I have a deep connection to every animal I paint. I sort of take on their energy as I am painting. I feel their spirit, listen to any lessons I may learn from that particular bird or animal. I tend to ask myself as I paint, "What is it that this creature will teach me in my life?" 


The challenges in painting wildlife for me is keeping my intention consistent as I paint the animals.


Sometimes, when life throws us heavy experiences, I may avoid painting so that energy is not transferred into the artwork.  I am very sensitive to energy and realize how it transfers outward. 


So in that case I may work only on backgrounds for my artwork, where that is more physical, troweling multiple layers of plasters and mediums, that usually shifts the energy rather quickly!

(Courtesy: Tricia George)

Q: Your “Relationships” series is full of whimsical combinations - animals, insects, and vegetables. Please tell us how you came up with these themes and what stories you want to tell.

A: My first painting in this series was of "The Turtle and The Snail".  I wanted to convey the sense of love between two unique species, accepting one another for their differences. At the same time how a small gesture of giving a strawberry, for example, can become a special and memorable gift.


Immediately after finishing that painting I painted over a dozen more! By the fifth painting, I was hearing a book in my head as I painted these unique relationships. 


I love selecting the special connections between the creatures and have as much amusement in selecting fruits and vegetables. 


I am currently in the process of self-publishing a book based on this series, "A Picture Book About Relationships" which is super exciting!

Courtesy: Tricia George

Courtesy: Tricia George

Q: What are your favorite painting techniques and mediums? What are your favorite types of wildlife to paint?

A: I would have to say experimenting with so many mediums and materials at the same time.  I love the reflective metallic contemporary backgrounds in my work which become a contrast to the more realistic animals. So the painting actually changes as you walk past the piece or as light hits the work at a particular moment. 


I work as non-toxic as possible with a strong focus in acrylics and water soluble materials. At this time in an artist's life we have so many choices in mediums, paint viscosity, additives, the possibilities are really endless!


Owls are my favorite species to paint and next would be the hawks. The strength and grace of these birds is amazing, I feel such a deep connection to them. 

Courtesy: Tricia George

Q: What is your source of inspiration? Do you paint as you see or assign meanings or feelings to the subjects you paint?

A: Life is my source of inspiration. Going out in nature, exploring, finding new places,  animals, for me that interaction becomes a lesson as I paint. 


For example, I may be internally working on more presence in my life and I will hold that feeling as I paint my experiences. 


There are times where I may work on 2-3 pieces simultaneously as well so I have the flexibility in my work. 


I tend not to push a painting, but rather let it happen intuitively. 

Q: You have a very special series named “Sacred Animals”. Please tell us more about this series and your sacred animals.

A: I was exploring spirit animals at one point and came up with the "Sacred Animals" series. I believe that every animal that was placed on this planet is here to teach us something in our path of being spiritual human beings.  We can learn from them if we observe and understand why it is they do what they do in their lives. 

I feel myself a shift as I paint different species, from birds, to fox, to the wildcats… I feel I learn so much from them. 

(Courtesy: Tricia George)

Q: Starting out as a professional artist is difficult for many people. What practical advice would you give to aspiring artists? 

A: I have been painting professionally for 30 years now and I truly believe to be successful you have to get out of your own way and watch your ego. 

I started my career as a furniture painter, then a decorative artist and muralist.  At the same time I was working on painting commissions, as well as my own artwork. 

All of these avenues strengthened my business side, taught me to be open to different painting styles and listen to what my clients desired. I never said no to a project and never made it about the money, rather the experience was most important to me.

For the most part I try not to put myself in a box with my work and I try to stay open to all opportunities to create.

For artists just beginning, I would say don't give up, get yourself out there however you can, don't be afraid to ask to exhibit your work, what's the worst they can say! Everything is practice and tools for your artist tool belt!

Q: Your “Journey to the Soul” series beautifully captures the spirit of birds. In one particular painting named Presence, the hawkl is looking at the audience directly. With his fully spread wings and detailed work on the hawk’s feathers the painting is absolutely breathtaking. Under what conditions did you paint the hawk and how long did it take you to finish the painting?

A: "Journey to the Soul" was the first series I created over a decade ago.  They were all painted as if they were murals on the wall. It is the only series on canvas. The birds are painted larger than life, many of these paintings are over 5 feet in either direction. 


Presence is a painting of a red tailed hawk and was painted after a relationship that has remained a friendship. I was connecting with the sense of freedom, as the hawk flies forward, steadfast through the leafless branches, she is not afraid to look forward with intention. 


The feathers glisten with copper metallic paint to add even more dimension to the piece. This is painted on canvas and is over 5' in height so the size also provides a powerful statement. 

(Courtesy: Tricia George)

Q: Please share with us some of the current projects that you are working on.

A: I never stop creating and growing! The Relationship series became an inspiration after the 4th painting in the series. 

That's when I realized I had a rhyme going on in my head as I painted. From there I began to write the text for my very first self-published picture book which should be out to the public in the next few months. 


I have also been working on an art exhibit in Santa Fe as well as a solo show at the Bartolini Gallery in San Rafael, CA.

Q: Please tell us your upcoming exhibitions in and out of state so people can view your artwork in person.

A: I will have a solo show from August 6th till October 6th with the reception to be held on August 22nd at the Bartolini Gallery. 


I have also been exhibiting at Wilbur Hot Springs consistently for over 31 years. 


While we are in this interview I am also exhibiting at contemporary Art Show in Santa Fe.

Courtesy: Tricia George

We thank Tricia for her sincere explanation of her journey to becoming a successful artist. Being a creative mind, Tricia has many new projects in the works. We wish her great success in her upcoming book and art exhibitions!

View Tricia's Website