Artist of the Month: Lindsey Tull

0709tull1_389x476_2This Illinois-based artist has a degree in animation but found her true calling was painting portraits and still lifes in oil.

by Naomi Ekperigin

Hurricane Lamp With Candle
2006, oil,
9 x 12. Collection the artist.

Lindsey Tull is a young artist who has had to search for creative outlets. Though she was interested in drawing and painting from a young age, there were very few opportunities to study art seriously. “I’m from a very small town of about 5,000 people,” she explains.  “I took the few art classes in my school system, but it wasn’t until college that I found the serious art education I was looking for.” Tull took online classes at the Academy of Art University, in San Francisco, and majored in traditional animation, where she learned a lot about herself as an artist. “I didn’t know what to major in,” the artist admits. “Animation sounded interesting, so I tried it.” She soon found in her course of study that she preferred the required fine-arts classes to those in animation. “I liked using my hands instead of the computer,” she says. “I enjoyed fine arts so much more. Luckily, I’ve now taken most of the courses required to complete a fine-arts degree.”

Old Man, Three-Quarter

2006, oil,
16 x 20. Collection the artist.

With plans to return to school, Tull is diligent about maintaining the level of intensity she found in the classroom. She paints five to six hours a day, going back and forth between several pieces. She has tried other media, but prefers oil and paints whatever catches her eye. “There really isn’t an art community here,” she says of her town. “I’ve really taken advantage of the internet and technology; I’ve taken several online classes.” In her figure-drawing classes, Tull drew the model from images on a CD, which allowed her to view the figure from all 360 degrees. “I don’t know how they did it,” she says laughing, “but it really was helpful.” At home, she enlists family members to pose for portraits, and, like any artist, looks around her house for still-life objects.

Old Man In Vest and Cap
2006, oil,
16 x 20. Collection the artist.

“I’ve found portraits to be a real challenge,” says the artist, who rarely paints from photographs. Old Man in Vest and Cap and Old Man, Three Quarter View were done from photographs, but I prefer to paint from life. It’s been really hard capturing the likeness in the face.” Luckily, her family allows her several hours and many sittings during which she can practice.

For her still lifes, Tull begins with several thumbnail sketches in graphite, doing as many as six until the right composition appears. Once the artist has chosen a thumbnail, she sketches in the basic shapes on her canvas in oil. Filling in the details is next, which Tull finds to be the hardest part of the process. “I’m trying to work on letting go and being able to say something is finished without killing myself by focusing on the nuances.” She is largely drawn to striking color combinations or textured materials. “For Egg in Paper Scraps I just saw the paper and thought ‘How can I use this?’” she recalls. “I added the egg and hoped for a more interesting composition.”

Egg in Paper Scraps
2006, oil,
9 x 12. Collection the artist.

With a focus on interesting juxtapositions and a commitment to her newfound calling, Tull is confident and excited to continue her art education–and she still doesn’t let her limited resources slow her down. “I really feel like I’ve gone from pursuing art as a hobby to making it a career.”

For more information on Tull, contact her

Naomi Ekperigin is the editorial assistant for American Artist.

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