I first visited Trish McKinney in 2014 when she opened a gallery/studio, Trish McKinney Studios, a retail gallery and open studio space on the 2nd floor of the Hotel Gallery in Tipp City.
The hotel was built in 1842 and operated as a hotel for over 100 years. Today it houses a restaurant, community meeting rooms, shopping areas and several artist studios.
Trish tries to work in her studio at The Hotel Gallery, once a week. It also serves as a gallery for her work and a place where she can teach.
More recently I visited Trish in her home studio. Her home is in the country about 10 minutes from Tipp City. The home overlooks a small woods which would bring beautiful color into the house in the fall. As I entered the house I noticed luggage by the front door.
“I just returned from a workshop in Florida. I travel the US and teach several times a year.
“Before I show you my studio, take a look at these paintings from Italy. That was where I taught my first workshop outside the country. It was in 2008. I traveled with 14 students and we had a wonderful time. Since then I’ve had workshops in Greece and in France. I am excited to be returning to France with a group of students this June.”
We walked upstairs to Trish’s studio. I asked her how she used her two studios.
“I really enjoy painting in my Hotel Gallery studio space, and I think people enjoy watching me paint, but this studio is my happy place. I paint here most of the time. I just love the light here, and the quiet. I did use this space for some classes early on, but my supplies have crowded that out and now I use the Hotel Gallery, or some other place when I teach.”
I mentioned to Trish that I most liked the paintings she did that included images of people.
“I often use my two daughters as models in my paintings. This painting, titled “Reflections” comes from a moment I noticed between them. I loved that moment, and even felt a little envious. Growing up I always wished I had a sister – someone who might do my hair in this way.”
“The writing you see here, in the background of the painting, is the actual handwriting of my daughters – notes they have written to each other about what it means to have a sister.”
This painting, “Shine” started as a “selfie” that my youngest daughter took. I elaborated, changed the colors a bit, but the composition is hers. It has the poem, “Our Greatest Fear” by Marianne Williamson under the watercolor – it’s a message to my daughter about letting her light shine”
When I first visited Trish in her Hotel Gallery studio she was working on one of her Altered Books.
Before visiting Trish in her home studio I watched a video on her website about these Altered Books. In the video she took a book on window boxes and covered most of a page with gesso, leaving just a word or a bit of a photo showing through. Then she painted using alcohol inks, then she covered parts of the page with stencils and used a sponge roller to apply patterns of acrylic paint.
I asked Trish why she spent the time to create such a beautiful work of art on a page of a book.
“Those of us who sell a lot of art can find themselves doing the same thing over and over. You know what has sold in the past and you find yourself playing it safe. These Altered Books break me out of my rut. They are what I think of as authentic art. I do them just for myself, for the joy of creating.
“In an Altered Book I can try new techniques, new compositions, and new color combinations. I can make things that are inspirational, or even spiritual. Often an idea in an Altered Book will end up in one of my larger works.”
As Trish talked she started a new page in one of her Altered Books. In minutes a work of art emerged.
Before leaving I got one last photo of Trish in her home studio – her happy place.