Welcome to my blog! Visit my Website at WWW.ARTBYTANYATORRES.COM to see the galleries organized by theme.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Spirits of the Forest

The idea for my Spirits of the Forest came out of an invitation to present my artwork at Fiesta de Flores at the New York Botanical Garden around 2014. I wanted to create pieces on tile that both represented my culture and the garden. 

A few years earlier, during a visit to my maternal grandmother in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, I had begun drawing these beings that were part human and part nature, referring to an idea that has guided my work, expressed by a scientist on TV: "we are part of the earth, literally." 

These words (probably spoken a little different in a Discovery Channel documentary) have stayed with me for almost 2 decades and have guided my work. So I began to think of the Taínos, the original inhabitants of Puerto Rico, who are in me, according to my son and his DNA tests he has administered to many members of our extended family, in a proportion of about 10%. I though of their myths, their connection to the earth, and of El Yunque, that Sacred Mountain we still revere, and I started painting these beings.

Ever since then, my community has supported this style and loved it. And I keep painting this iconic face in different ways, with gratitude and love. 

These are a few of the Spirits of the Forest I have painted.. 

Spirit of the Forest: Miramelindas (2), by Tanya Torres

Spirit of the Forest by Tanya Torres

Spirit of the Forest by Tanya Torres
Framed Spirit of the Forest Tiles at Rosa Velazquez's home. 

Spirit of the Forest Acrylic on Canvas by Tanya Torres at Rosa Velazquez's home.

Spirit of the Forest: Garden, painting on canvas at Dr. Claudia Quiroz's office.

Framed tiles

Spirit of the Forest: Miramelindas by Tanya Torres. Art on tile, 6" x 8". 2018.
Spirit of the Forest: Garden by Tanya Torres and painting in progress at Tanya's Studio in Puerto Rico.

Spirit of the Forest: Garden by Tanya Torres. at La Casita de Ely, Taller Creativo, San Germán, Puerto Rico. A mini-exhibition during a workshop-interview with Zarina Ramírez, creative owner of La Casita de Ely.

Spirit of the Forest: Community by Tanya Torres. Art on tile, 6" x 8". 2018.

Spirit of the Forest: Muse by Tanya Torres. Art on tile, 6" x 8". 2018.

Spirit of the Forest: Sunflowers by Tanya Torres. Art on tile, 6" x 8". 2018.

Spirit of the Forest: Community (2)  by Tanya Torres. Art on tile, 6" x 8". 2018.

Spirit of the Forest: Community (3) by Tanya Torres. Art on tile, 6" x 8". 2018.
One of my Spirit of the Forest Scarves: see  my Vida Shop 

Spirit of the Forest: Leaf Heart by Tanya Torres , Acrylic on canvas, 2018.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Traveling Studio of the Imagination

The Dark Magdalene: Garden by Tanya Torres
This extra long year began when Hurricane María caught me in Puerto Rico. Then, back in NYC, my family's life was turned upside down when we had to leave our apartment in a rush, due to the City requiring us to make some changes to the structure of our building. This year long (and ongoing) ordeal gave me an idea: to buy my father's house in Puerto Rico and set up my studio there. What began as a nightmare, turned into a dream come true, and I was able to recover and rethink my life and my structures while experiencing the peace of the place where I spent most of my childhood (not in that house, but in that land...)

But real life was calling, and while it was hard to leave my little house, I had to come back to New York to my commitments, to my husband and son, and to my mother in law, Ramona, who called me every Friday to tell me I was missed here. She was so kind and so subtle, that she convinced me to change my ticket to come in earlier than I had planned.

Old, falling apart, scary
Fortunately, I had enough time to do 2 things: finish rebuilding the kitchen in my little house, and recover inside. It was the best medicine a soul could get, to be surrounded by nature and good memories, with a place to do art with enough time and enough silence. My morning company were a next door horse and the chicken that laid an egg each day. But in the evenings I met my mother or my best friend Waldemar, or his friends who always seemed to have a birthday to celebrate. In the meantime, I wasn't thinking or being anxious about the future. I rested.

New, please concentrate
on the nice tiles and the pears in wine
and not in the mess...
When the time came to pack, I realized that whatever I put in my suitcase would become my studio. My studio, which at one time was one whole storefront, then a little room in the basement, and then, in a great aggressive move, the top apartment of my building: my favorite place in the house that has ruled over my life for the last 20 years. I say this without regrets, knowing that it has given me much. But when I lost that studio, I lost a part of me, and since 2014, my studio has traveled up and down my building, to Puerto Rico and back, and is now reduced to a small table and a few art bins in my mother in law's apartment. And still...

Yesterday I was able to paint 7 small paintings in that tiny space.

Because my studio is the Traveling Studio of the Imagination.

Miramelindas by Tanya Torres, 2018.
Acrylics, matte acrylics, Pearlescent inks, Sharpie.
It goes with me, inside, and no longer needs to be a wide physical space. It officially exists in my house in Puerto Rico, and I will be back one day soon, to be there and paint there. But while I'm HERE it travels with me, inside and outside, in a big suitcase full of:

1. Acrylic paints: with 8 colors of Utrecht Fluid Acrylics that I discovered recently and love so much because of the contrast they create with their matte finish against the FW Pearlescent Acrylic inks and Porcelain gold outliners that I love.
2. A total of 5 brushes for acrylics. I use watercolor brushes for everything. And I love the natural, high quality hair of top of the line brushes. I splurge in brushes.
3. About 25 acrylic ink jars.
4. A bunch of acrylic tubes, that I don't use a lot but like to have with me.
5. A big acid-free PVA glue.
6. An electric pencil sharpener and a set of pencils. Also a lot of Ebony pencils. And ballpoint pens and regular pencils. A set of Micron pens and some extra Micron pens in red and terra-cotta. And about 30 back Sharpies.
7. About 25 tubes of oil paint and about 20 brushes (that I can't use because ventilation in not so good where I am right now.)
8. Jewelry making tools and some supplies. I am trying to give up the addiction to jewelry making.
9. A sketch book (left the others in Puerto Rico)
10. About 20 canvases (most of them small)
11. Two plastic cups with water and a ceramic cup I stole from my mother in law's kitchen to use as brush holder. I left my moroccan cup in Puerto Rico because that's where I want it to belong...
12. A new portable lamp I bought because light here is soooo bad. I left my fancy lamp in Puerto Rico because it was kind of heavy and that's where I want to use it.
13. Metallic pigments and other miscellaneous stuff.
14. Yellow Saral transfer paper.
15. Wax paper.
16. Small folding table.
17. Art bin with tiles, student brushes, and a full workshop for The New York Botanical Garden this Friday. (Using Sharpies...)
18. About 25 jars of Porcelain tile paint. I use the same brushes as I use for acrylic painting.
19. Whenever I need something else, I order from Blick or take the bus to 125th street in Harlem and stop by the store. I love Blick. They are not paying me to say this! I love them because they ship to Puerto Rico at a very fair price. It is a problem getting things shipped to Puerto Rico and art supplies are hard to find there.
20. A trained and disciplined mind to work as soon as I sit down.

This is my Traveling Studio of the Imagination. It is a no-excuses, go-with-the-flow, start-where-you are kind of studio. And when I need real space and solitude: I will get on a plane and arrive where my roots remain planted.
How much do we really need?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Interviews, Past and Present

The Love, Joy and Politics of Tanya Torre's Art by Ernesto Quiñónez

Las prodigiosas manos de Tanya Torres por Rosa Veláquez, Galería Rosángelus

Routes of the Black Madonna @ BMHC

The Routes Of The Black Madonna

PLASTICA-CUBA: Miradas a la violencia

Interview (12 years ago)

East Harlem Artists Trail
Meet Tanya Torres

September 3, 2010

Canción de la Magdalena de gira en Puerto Rico

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Painting Your Own Dark Magdalene at the BMHC

Experience Painting as Prayer while you create your own Dark Magdalene, using the same materials I used for the paintings in The Dark Magdalene exhibition at the Bronx Music Heritage Center. 

All materials provided.

July 7, 2018 , 3:00 p.m. at the Bronx Music Heritage Center, $25 Registration previous to the day of the workshop is required.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

"La pintora de la Magdalena en su casita" Art Studio

My dad's house in El Guamá, San Germán, Puerto Rico when he completed painting it a few years ago.
For a few months now, my husband, my son and I have been living in my mother in law's home, so that we can fix our building. The time has come to move my studio, and until a few weeks ago, I had no idea where I could set up shop. New York is so expensive that renting a space, even an apartment for us, is impossible right now. But it occurred to me that there is very little I can do here at the moment and that if I go to Puerto Rico for a while I could do my work, see my family there, and alleviate both the space issue in my mother in law's apartment and the great amount of stress this situation has caused in me (and my husband and son.) This is how the idea of moving my studio to La Casita, the house that my father built in Puerto Rico, came about. I have decided to call it La pintora de la Magdalena en su casita (The painter of the Magdalene in her little house) Because that's what I want to do there!

In order to raise some funds for this adventure, I am offering my work at very special prices for the next few months. It is a way to get that piece you liked or order your Christmas gifts (all orders will be ready by November 2018 or earlier.  

Thank you for your support of my work. 
Love, Peace, Joy! 
p.s. Special thanks to my dear friends and collectors Elisa, Judy, Donna, Jerry and Selina, 
whose support of my work gave me the courage I needed to do this...

These pieces and prices are available by contacting me directly (leave me a message here or email me) and payment plans are also available. 
For new work, I will deliver before November 2018. 
Available paintings ship the last week of May.

1. Handmade Greeting Card from Puerto Rico $5

I will send you a handmade greeting card by mail from Puerto Rico, sharing with you something about that day. Send a card to each of your friends with a special message from you! 

2. Taíno Symbol Medallion $10 (Reg. 12)
A medallion featuring your favorite Taíno petroglyphs interpreted by me.

3. Handpainted Magical Medallion Set $25 (Reg. $35)
I will create a miniature abstract painting worn as a necklace with matching earrings especially for you. Or choose from unique pieces ready to ship.
Examples of my magical jewelry sets.

4. Art on Tile $45 (Reg. $50-$60)
Examples of my work on tile.
I will create a unique image on tile based on my style and your wishes.

You can tell me to make one based on a painting I have made that you like or another tile. Of If you have a subject in mind and it fits my style, I can paint it for you.


5. Taíno Symbol Painting $60 (Reg. $65)
Examples of my Taíno symbols paintings.

Choose your favorite Taíno petroglyph and I will create an 8" x 10" acrylic painting especially for you. 
Available symbols (Choose one and tell me the background color you like/or send an image of your favorite symbol)

6. Small Acrylic Painting on Canvas $95 (Reg. $100-250)
Examples of my small works on canvas.
I will create a small, original acrylic painting on canvas based on my style and your wishes. (New originals painted especially for you will ship once your painting is finished and dry, in the order the pledges are received.)
Landscape of Peace (Oil on canvas, 8" x 10". Framed. Available)
Spririt of the Forest (Example)
Spirit of the Forest (Example)
Muse of the Blue Sky. 9" x 12". Sold. (Example)

The Great Goddess
(8" x 10" painting based on  The Great History's Goddess, commissioned by Jose Angel Figueroa) 

7. Puerto Rican Pantheon Painting on Canvas $200 (Reg. $350)
Examples of my Puerto Rican Pantheon series of paintings. 
I paint the image of your patriot in this style: A mixed media artwork with the image of your favorite Puerto Rican patriot on a 12" x 36" canvas.


8. A Mary Magdalene Painting $330 (Reg. $350-500)
Small oil on canvas or acrylic paintings of Mary Magdalene.
Choose one of my Mary Magdalenes available. Sizes 8" x 10 to 9" x 12". Framed. Oil on Canvas. I will send your painting immediately once the fundraiser ends. Originals painted especially for you ship once they are finished and dry, around the end of July.

You can tell me, for example,  "I like this Magdalene you painted in the past, but would like her eyes open, white roses and a purple veil." 
The following works are available and ready to ship. 

9. Large Painting (16" x 20" to 30" x 40") $500 (Reg. $800-1000)
I will create a painting up to 30" x 40" especially for you or you can select a larger painting from my inventory.
The following works are available and ready to ship in May.

Mary Magdalene of the Heart,  16" x 20". Available. 
I See Angels (36 H x 48 W x 1.5) Available.

10. Heaven and Earth Paintings $800 (Reg. $1000)
These paintings traveled to Prague and they are very special to me. 

The following works are available and ready to ship.
Whispers of Heaven,
Oil on Canvas, 16 "x 20".  Available.
Powerful Hand of the Tree of Life,
Oil on Canvas, 16 "x 20".  Available.
Oil on Canvas, 16 "x 20".  Available.
Sacred Heart of the Earth,
Oil on Canvas, 16" x 20". Available.

11. Mary Magdalene of the Bees $1000 (Reg. $1,200)
This is a painting of Mary Magdalene as the goddess Artemis. She is the queen bee, the nurturer, la Virgen de la Magdalena. Personally, it brings together my current work and style.
Mary Magdalene of the Bees.
Oil on Canvas, 30" x 40". Available.

12. A Special Project Just for You $3,500 (Reg. $7,000)

You tell me your dream project and I will realize it or help you realize it. I can be your artist or your hands and extra mind, and I bring all my skills into it. (Lets talk before you pledge!) (70 hours of work)

The story:

Strong winds have followed me since March 2017. 
First, my husband and I got stuck in Morocco for a few days because of the Viento de Levante. It is so strong it can (and did) turn over a large ferry crossing the Mediterranean Sea. 
Then, a few months after returning to New York, I went to Puerto Rico to present two art exhibitions. Once again, the wind arrived. First, Hurricane Irma struck, but it was not so bad in San Germán, my town in Puerto Rico. But then... Hurricane María destroyed everything, leaving me stranded on the island for a few weeks.
And then, (and I hope this is the end of the winds,) a metaphorical hurricane arrived in our lives. It has us packing 20 years worth of memories at 1706 Lexington Avenue, former Mixta Gallery, a building my husband and I bought and rebuilt floor by floor for several years. 
This is where I have lived the most intense parts of my life and where my studio was located all this time. We had to leave our apartment and ask some of our tenants to leave. And also destroy a good part of the work we did during the last 2 decades.
This is a temporary situation, and we hope that our lives and our building will be back to normal one day, but we also know that day won't be soon.
My son, my husband and I have a place to live thanks to my mother-in-law, Ramona, who offered her home and her warmth. But now the time has come to pack and leave my studio.
A few weeks ago, worried about being studio-less, an idea came to my mind. A beautiful and exciting idea. The only idea that has made me smile and dream in the last few months. 
What if my new studio could be in the place where all my best memories are, where I always went for renewal and for putting back the parts of me that needed repair?
During a visit last December, my father mentioned that he might lose his house. This was a very sad thought. He had put EVERYTHING into that little house. And it is on the land where my grandfather planted corn and where I played throughout my childhood. Where my grandmother told me stories, and where I was happiest. 
Why not save it? Why not construct the next part of my dream there?
It will not take much. In fact, a couple of months ago I had enough funds to realize this work. But I had to dedicate all the money I had saved for a future studio to saving our New York home.  
This is why I decided to put together this event. I call it event rather than fundraiser because I am inviting people to help me by acquiring my work. I hope that my work will be a source of inspiration and beauty for those who decide to contribute. I will send you something original and unique in exchange for your support. 
I feel that this process has required of me a great deal of surrendering. With this action, I let go of what I have held so close, so that new life may flow and manifest. And so that this new life will have new beauty and new creation in a new place and in a new way.