I was born in the summer of '79, and six weeks later experienced my first intercontinental plane ride. I've been hooked on travel ever since.
I learned to walk in Saudi Arabia, stayed with a tribal village family in India, visited a civil war refugee camp in Sri Lanka, had my palm read in Nepal, floated on a bamboo raft down a Thai river, picked wild berries in rural Wales, co-founded a Buddhist-inspired eco-retreat center in the south of France, and got married under a basswood tree in Australia. And that's just part of it!
The world offers us an amazing variety of experiences - cultures to explore, places to see, differences to appreciate. Art is my way of assimilating and interpreting the world around me. Through art, I process my external experiences, reflect on my inner experiences and merge the two together in a visual union that I share with the world.
On this page I'll tell you a little about myself, but first I'll answer a question I'm commonly asked: "How do you pronounce your name?" To make sure you're thinking it correctly in your head as you read this - my name is pronounced "tuh-nee-yuh".
I grew up mostly in Florida, graduated from high school in 1997 and promptly embarked on a meandering 7-year route through college. For 2-3 years I took all the classes that interested me and didn't worry about settling on a major or determining my fate, instead choosing to follow my curiosity and indulge my intellectual impulses. I first attended Warren Wilson College, a tiny college nestled in the mountains outside of Asheville, North Carolina, which provided a supportive environment for learning how to relate to the world in healthy, meaningful and sustainable ways. It was the perfect place for me to round out my teenage years and step into adulthood.
As much as I loved the fun, open-minded environment of Warren Wilson and its beautiful natural surroundings, its Art Department was still in its infancy at that time, so I left for a school with a more established program. I applied to the Savannah College of Art & Design and received a scholarship, but reality set in before the school year started when I received a bill in the mail for $20,000 - just for the first year's tuition. Yikes! I decided to take a more practical route and spent four years at the University of South Florida on a full scholarship. Most of the artwork I created there falls under my Composite Realism category and reflects a time in my life when my artistic output correlated with my search for a sense of identity through my cross-cultural connections.
After graduating in 2004 with a BFA in Painting, I've happily meandered in other contemplative ways - travelling the world and creating more art, employing a variety of styles and themes to express the many nuances of existence that my boundless curiosity compels me to explore. I'm inspired by nooks and crannies, unseen paths, ever-present mysteries and endless beginnings. Always a lifelong student, the world is my classroom and I draw inspiration from all I see around me. With each new piece of art that I create, my skills are continually challenged and expanded, and my concepts become richer and more fully defined. Like life, my creative endeavors are an endless learning process that is often surprising and always enriching.
Since 2002, I have sold hundreds of original artworks to collectors all over the globe. My art can be found on t-shirts, cell phone cases, jewelry, pillows and countless other items. It brings me great joy and fulfillment to know that my artwork is being enjoyed and appreciated all over the world! Thanks to the Internet, I've been able to live the artist's dream of being fully self-employed and making a living doing what I love most.
As the years rolled by I received more and more emails from people asking for tips on painting and drawing, so in 2009 I started typing out everything I knew about making art. Thus www.Art-is-fun.com was born! On Art-is-fun.com I share tips and tutorials about art and art-making - such as this demo on how to paint abstract art and these tips on how to sharpen your colored pencils. The site also includes information about various art styles and subject matter, along with insightful interviews with featured artists. If you like my art and want to learn how to paint or draw, be sure to check out Art-is-fun.com!
In the past 8+ years, Art-is-Fun.com has delivered over 37 million pageviews to over 15.6 million visitors, and counting. I frequently receive emails from happy site visitors who tell me how much they've learned from my site, and that it's inspired them to start painting or drawing. It feels great to know that Art-is-Fun.com is achieving its objective - helping other people get excited about art, and empowering them with information to make their own amazing pieces! Although my schedule has gotten a lot busier since I first started Art-is-Fun.com, I still enjoy adding new content when my schedule permits.
As Art-is-Fun.com grew in popularity, I began receiving so many fascinating emails from passionate, knowledgeable artists from around the world, that I knew I had to find a way to bring them all together so that they could share their ideas, energy and art with one another. I researched the possibilities and decided to create a social network, which I dubbed "The Art Colony"! I spent months creating the design and setting up the details of the site, then opened it to the public in June 2011. Every day on The Art Colony, members from all over the world share their art, help one another, and connect with each other. The friendships formed on The Art Colony transcend the boundaries of location, language and age, uniting artists simply by their shared love of making art.
It was a joy to watch the community blossom, but after several years my personal and professional schedule had grown so busy that I could no longer run The Art Colony. In September 2015 I handed ownership of the site over to one of the moderators, happy in the knowledge that the site would continue to take on a life of its own.
One more important thing I can tell you about my life is that I got married in 2010 to someone who is so incredible, that any words I might want to use to describe him would just sound cheesy. We spend pretty much every minute of every day together, because in addition to being my life partner, Marcus is also my full-time business partner. In 2012 we formed Thaneeya LLC, which encompasses all of our various enterprises, from running our websites to the art we sell on merchandise. With Marcus on board, my art business has grown in leaps and bounds, at such a dizzying pace that we sometimes can't keep up - though we wouldn't have it any other way!
(Side note: After getting married I kept my maiden name, because the idea of changing it never crossed my mind. I'm just not that kind of girl!)
In October 2013, Marcus and I gave most of our stuff to Goodwill, put the rest in storage, and became full-time nomads in a slow-roaming journey that took us to 4 countries and 19 US states. We fed kangaroos, walked the Golden Gate Bridge, explored ancient cliff dwellings, watched snow fall in June, and got lost in the bustle of Mexico City. It was a liberating adventure though not entirely fun and games - we also worked full-time while traveling, which gradually became more difficult as our workload increased. Less than a year after embarking on our new lifestyle, we became too busy keeping up with our publishing and licensing deals to have any time for sight-seeing, let alone truly experiencing each new location. It was certainly a "good" problem to have so without complaints, we hung up our nomad hats after 2 whirlwind years of full-time travel, settled down (to a degree) and decided to separate work from wanderlust so that we could be more productive while working and feel more untethered while traveling. Maybe when we're retired we'll become full-time nomads again - who knows!
These days I'm typically immersed in designing new coloring books, creating colorful calendars, and experimenting with a variety of tantalizing art supplies like Copic markers, gouache, paint markers, liquid watercolors, paper-cutting and whatever else I can get my hands on! When I have time, I occasionally add new lessons and content on Art-is-Fun.com.
If you want to know more about me and my art, check out my FAQ where you'll find answers to tons of questions I've been asked over the years.
If you want to keep up with my latest art and activities, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr profiles, where I post about my art. I also have a personal Facebook page where I post images from my travels and daily life.