Tonja Sell - Artist Statement

I love exploring, painting is a form of exploration for me.  The desire to explore pulls me to the studio, as well as compels me to travel the world.  My work is expressive but controlled.  I push the borders between realism and abstraction.   I love mark-making, texture, shapes and pattern, visual rhythm, luminous color layering and strong design.   I work in many different mediums and am constantly captivated and challenged by discoveries made through the process.

Each medium I explore impacts subsequent paintings, leaving it’s own unique mark on the piece or series. I like to push materials and surfaces, regularly working them in ways that are new to me.   My subjects are varied, and most often figurative. I endeavor to create the feeling of entering into shared space. I hope that you, the observer, join the subject for a brief moment in time.

I love to travel, but always return home.   I am rooted to the place I grew up, the quiet, rural and remote.  Rural elements are often present in my work. I love the personal history that is here.  My paintings have been described as having an organic quality. The human subjects I paint are often referred to as seeming reflective, quiet, strong or thoughtful, I like that.  I feel like I am continually growing as my work evolves, and I like that too.