About Tatyana Zen


Ukrainian-born, Tatyana Zen is a classically trained artist, residing in Laguna Beach, CA. Tatyana’s artistic ability was noticed early and she started her art education at the age of 6, attending the Simferopol Art School from 1981 – 1989. She earned a Bachelor of Science and Fashion Design degree from the Academy of Design & Technology in Moscow. In 1995 she moved to Washington, DC and pursued a career in Computer Science working as a Sr. Web Developer for clients such as Microsoft, AmEx, American Airlines, US Government and US Army . In 1997 she co-founded a Telecommunications company and left the IT world to pursue an art career.

From 1998 to 2003 Tatyana was the copyist at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, fortunate to learn the Old Master’s painting techniques from close observation. Consequently, she has developed her own painting method to achieve luminosity and depth of color. She also studied with contemporary figure painting artists such as Robert Liberace, an award-winning Portrait artist, selected as a “Living Master” by the Art Renewal Center in 2020. Fascinated by John Singer Sargent, Tatyana Zen conducted a 5 year research “Mastering Sargent’s Painting Technique”.

Tatyana’s background in technology, design and philosophy blends into a colorful artistic voice. She draws inspiration from the Human Form, Nature, Sci-fi, Pop-culture and Zen Philosophy. Tatyana has been exhibiting at the galleries in Alexandria, VA, Washington DC, Scottsdale, AZ and Laguna Beach, CA. Tatyana’s Contemporary Realism artwork is gaining international acclaim. She’s best known for her soulful Portraits. Her work can be found in private and public collections worldwide.

Art is healing and meditative in nature, I really enjoy helping others to discover the wonderful world of art and see the beauty of life.

For the latest portfolio of works, please visit her Instagram: Instagram @TatyanaZenArt

Artist Statement

With color and paint, I recall my memories of being one with Source. My art centers around portraits, focusing on the eyes, the “window of the soul”. It also records my own journey of self-discovery. I am fascinated by the depth and range of human emotions and being able to capture the essence of the soul is very satisfying.

”Painting for me is a form of meditation, connecting to Infinite Intelligence.


  • 2013 – 2014 Mastering Watercolor Painting after John Singer Sargent
  • 2002 – 2003 Figure painting course with Robert Liberace, award-winning Portrait artist, Alexandria, Virginia
  • 2000 – 2003 Copyist at the National Gallery of Art. Mastering the Old Masters techniques, Washington, DC
  • 1990 – 1995 BS in Fashion Design, Academy of Design & Technology, Moscow, Russia
  • 1984 -1989 Art School – Simferopol Crimea, Russia
  • 1981 -1983 Jr. Art School – Simferopol Crimea, Russia


Equally proficient in oils, watercolors and acrylics, Tatyana’s main choice of medium is oil. She favors large scale oil paintings and eclectic gallery walls mixing various mediums and sizes. Focusing on portraits, her subjects are actors, scientists, politicians, rock stars, as well as people of all walks of life.

Materials and Technique

Tatyana’s creative process is fluid and intuitive, up until the last moment, everything could change. She works methodically, but passionately, not settling until it feels perfect, some paintings taking years to complete. A prolific painter, Tatyana has many paintings in progress, waiting for the inspiration to move forward. 

Tatyana uses traditional Old Master’s techniques to build up the layers, starting from an initial colored ground, proceeding to monochromatic drawing, than blocking in major shapes to create a grisaille underpainting. Next, she glazes the entire painting with a thin coat of single color, relating to the mood of the painting. Subsequently, dozens of glazes are applied one by one, slowly adding colors, blending and adding details, with each layer allowed to dry. Finally, using scuffing and impasto, she adds highlights, creating an illusion of 3-dimensional form.

Artist Q & A

How long have you been painting?

My whole life as long as I can remember! Being born into an artistic family, I was encouraged to become an artist from a very early age. And not just an artist, a great artist. No pressure, mom!

Do you only paint celebrities?

Not at all! I believe that every life is valuable and worth celebrating! Painting celebrities allows artists to showcase their skill. Every person is fascinating, at least for the first 10 minutes! I love painting faces and get the likeness and the essence, but ultimately I want people to like themselves in my portraits.

What is your ultimate career goal?

I want to be one of the best portrait artists like Sargent and Velazquez. I always ask myself – is it possible to combine the quality of the Old Masters, beauty of human souls and healing power of art into something that people would enjoy for hundreds of years? My work tries to answer that question.
Read More > Q & A Artist Interview

Giving Back

Part of proceeds donated to various local Laguna Beach charities, One World One Ocean, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Canyon Foundation, as well as Cast (Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking).