Russian-born and California-based, Tatyana Zen is a classically trained artist. Tatyana’s background in engineering, design and philosophy blends into colorful artistic voice, intricately reflecting different points of view. Inspired by Cosmology, Galactic History and Philosophy, she’s exploring the concept of Eternal Soul having a Human Experience.
”Painting for me is a search for self-identity. Primarily, I want to express an idea, ask a question or tell a funny story. ”
Tatyana was fortunate to learn the secrets of Old Masters as a copyist at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Consequently, she has developed her own painting method to achieve luminosity and depth of color. Drawing inspiration from the human form, sci-fi, pop-culture, glamour, fashion, 70s dance music, zen philosophy and everyday life. A nature lover and a shaman, Tatyana often incorporates organic elements in her paintings from coffee and tobacco to diamonds and gold. Tatyana’s art is gaining international acclaim. Her work can be found in private and public collections worldwide.
With color and paint, I recall my memories of being one with Source and the journey of human experience. My art centers around portraits, human and non-human, focusing on the eyes, the “window of the soul”. I am fascinated by human emotions and soul’s struggle to higher awareness.
- 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 entiere 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.
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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).