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For the last 5 years or so Tory has tunneled her focus into her love of painting for herself, and where her passions lie. Coming full circle by turning back to nature, and inward introspectively with the chaos of the world happening all around. Impressionism, color, and texture are all of her favorite tools, challenging herself in a different way with every painting. Acrylic is her medium of choice, and the larger the pieces get, the more expression she has to utilize.

Tory is from the Boston area and started painting and creating at a young age, expressing her love of the mountains in Vermont, and the oceans of the east coast. Traveling to most of the National Parks in the United States was a family endeavor, which blossomed her love of nature, and the preservation of all of these beautiful places.

She went to school at Umass Dartmouth for illustration, which included a strong foundations program and many painting courses. She then worked for an event decor company as a designer, self-taught, and proceeds now to work at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, as a specialist designer. Tory also has obtained a graphic design certificate from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She currently is a member of the Whistler Museum, the Brush Gallery, and the Arts League of Lowell.

Hello Tory! You say you’ve started doing art at a young age, expressing your love of the mountains in Vermont, and the oceans of the east coast, tell us a bit more about that period. And do you remember the exact moment you’ve decided you want to become an artist?

Tory: Pretty sure I was 5 years old, in kindergarten. Yes, I knew THAT early! Little Mermaid, I must have drawn a million times at that age when it came out. My Dad was always encouraging of my abilities, but I definitely had many doubts going into young adulthood, with the pressures of living alone in the Boston area. But I have always felt happiest and most at peace while I am painting, never any other time. When I saw my Dad painting in Vermont, I remember the awe I had at the pieces he created, and I wanted to do the same, so I did. I have always known it had to be part of my life somehow, even if I have to work another job to pay for my passion. For the last 5 years I have wanted to paint at least part-time, which I definitely am now. Not much social life, but I also am quite an introvert. Being alone with my thoughts, painting, meditating, listening to great music, keeps my anxiety disorder well in check.

Birch Tree in Fall

Why is acrylic your medium of choice? What are some advantages and disadvantages of working with acrylic in your opinion?

Tory: Acrylic is VERY forgiving, and can be made to look however I want it to. I love saturated colors, and I find acrylic to be the most vibrant. I love to be able to paint over a mistake immediately. I have even found the use of retardant, which makes the paint dry slow, just like oils, and thins it out so that you can see the layers underneath. I would say the one huge disadvantage to me, is that it is made of plastic, which I have been trying to stop using in every other part of my life. I do not have the ventilation to use oils, so maybe someday I will switch to that.

Buttermilk Falls

Could you walk us through your process? How much planning do you do before you jump into a painting? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?

Tory: Every painting starts in a different way for me. 80% of the time, I start a painting from a photograph, that either I took, or my sister took, since she is an amazing photographer, and I see the world through a similar lens that she does. Especially if we traveled somewhere together so that I can remember what the environment felt like. A lot of the time it’s because I want to relive a moment I had in nature, because the sense of calm washes over me, and I want my buyers to have that same feeling. Anxiety is something I know so many people deal with all of the time, so a calming painting that I created for someone else brings me some happiness, that I am helping someone in a positive way. In the warmer months, I do plein air as well, or I use markers to sketch out a painting that I bring back to my studio. When I paint from a drawing I created, it helps me not to get caught up in the details that are not needed.

Cleome

Your art is mostly influenced by nature, but it also deals with societal issues as well. Is there a message you are trying to send with each piece, or is it something else?

Tory: If I have a vision of something that deals with societal issues, I do try to pursue it, even though this isn’t my typical subject. I hope to dive into this more and more, with the more experience I get. Anything that will help change the world in a positive way, is usually my goal.

Self Portrait, Reflections in Labradorite

Do you have a real-life situation that inspired your artwork? If yes, what was it?

Tory: When I was stuck in the lockdown during the pandemic, I felt inspired to do many different things that I normally did not. The isolation inspired me to try many different subjects. Black Lives Matter was one, and I spoke to my artist friend in Ghana about it, as I was working on it. I also created a piece about how I and much of society was feeling about COVID, which ended up as a very dramatic abstract piece, which I am also pushing myself into. And finally, I created a color landscape from my imagination, which isn’t my normal, but sometimes I see where it takes me. This piece is one of my favorites, because of how surreal and beautiful the landscape looks. It’s where I wanted to be during isolation, even though I knew I couldn’t physically go anywhere! That painting got me through some dark times, seeing it every day.

October Mountain Falls

What is the work you’ve done that you’re the most excited about?

Tory: This question I struggle with because my paintings are like my children. I spend so many hours over them, watching them grow. I think some of my abstract pieces I am the most excited about because I know this means I am growing as an artist, finding my own voice and language to utilize.

Covid 19

How has your art evolved over the years?

Tory: My style has grown immensely over the past 5 years since this is the time I have spent the most with my passion. The more I practice, the more it evolves. My brushstrokes just keep getting looser, more energetic, freer. My color palette has also grown and developed, including more and more muted palettes, to help the pops of color really sing.

Robert Treman State Park Waterfall

What artists have influenced your work the most?

Tory: Pretty much any and all of the impressionists are who have inspired the color and texture of my pieces. Rembrandt, Sargent, Francis Bacon, Leyendecker, and Rockwell are a few others.

I started out working in illustration in college, and so many illustrators also inspire my work. Locally, I am inspired by Angela Alés, Bethany Peck, Jean Winslow, and Pamela Wamala. African artists, like my friend Adjei Adjetey of Multi-Hue Systems, also inspire me.

Snow Kissing Fall in Lee MA

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Tory: My first solo show last summer was incredibly rewarding hearing from all of my fans that came to the reception. Most were astonished at how incredible my paintings were in person, as compared to seeing them digitally. The message was made clear to me: get your artwork out there in front of people’s eyes! No camera can really capture the vibrancy and texture of a painting, as compared to seeing it in person.

Shades of Labradorite

What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?

Tory: Marketing to the right audience I am realizing is very important. I despise social media, but I am seeing how much consistent marketing does work. Having more shows, for people to come to see the pieces in person, is really the bottom line. Building an audience online, and then reaching out to my local fans for upcoming shows, has been my goal the last few years, and I am finally seeing some results! I know it takes time, so persistence is also key.

Watkins Glen

What’s next for Tory?

Tory: My long-term future goals are to travel to more inspirational vistas on our planet, and plein air painting more often at those locations. Making friends on social media in faraway places to hopefully stay with them would be ideal and more of a rewarding experience. I also want to open up my own art gallery someday, which will include all of my favorite local artists that need support.

The Light at the End of the Rainbow

To learn more about Tory and her art, please check:

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