Painting Constellations with Tina McNiff

Article and Photography by Angeli Castillo

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Tempo: Who is Tina McNiff and what do you do exactly?

Tina: I am a woman that follows her heart and soul. After many years in the corporate sector, I have the opportunity to embrace and share with others my love of beauty and art. My art form is not one to be limited to canvas, nope, too restrictive for me. I create painted beauty on walls, but specialize in a unique technique for ceilings. “Ceilings?” you may ask… Yes, ceilings. My work gives you back the night, lit by itself, as if someone has lifted back your rooftop, to the clear night sky and beyond(through the Milky Way, Pleiades, the Beehive cluster or deep with the Orion nebula). All humans throughout history have gazed up at the starry sky and wondered about it. Like me, even today the most jaded city dweller can be unexpectedly moved upon encountering a clear night sky studded with thousands of twinkling stars. Night is a wonderful, intimate time. It still takes my breath away.

Tempo: What or who inspired you to do what it is you do and specialize in this trade?

Tina: In my life I searched for my true love and found him. My husband, Sean, has been my greatest inspiration and has always encouraged me to be “me”, and with that I am more than I ever imagined possible. The same holds true for my work; loving what I do, living my dream of bringing beauty and happiness to others is so gratifying, it makes each creation and the process a true joy for me.

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Tempo: What was your biggest challenge in the process of being this kind of artist & how did you overcome it…. or if you are still going through the challenge, how are you dealing with it?

Tina: The biggest challenge for me was taking that first step and getting over the fear of failure. The difficult transition going from a structured corporate world to that of putting myself out there, sharing my artistic vision with others. I confronted the challenge by choosing to put aside my fear, realizing that whether I succeeded or failed didn’t matter; what mattered was I allowed myself to follow my heart. I found the courage and confidence to change my perspective and attitude with the help and support of my family and of these two quotes; “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”(Lou Holtz) and “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right!”(Henry Ford).

Tempo: What is your thought process when designing a piece? Walk us through how you would think and act to finish a piece?

Tina: Each one of my creations or “pieces” is inspired completely by my client. It is in the process of communication and time spent with them, listening to them with not only my ears, but with my eyes and heart, that I can build and envisage a design. Even if they give me free reign to create, I am inspired by what I have learned of them. Each piece is unique and holds its own energy, as with every individual. It is my endeavor for the final piece to be a reflection of my client, a seamless fit into their home or space that brings them beauty, happiness and a sense of kinship with it.

Tempo: In one sentence tell us what you think of when you hear the word “tempo”.

Tina: In the broad sense “tempo”, is the underlying beat that sets the actions of life, but on a deeper personal note it is this; “T.E.M.P.O., Temperament (your mindset or mood), Ethics (your morals and convictions), Motivation (your drive and passions), Perspective (your experiences), Obligations (the balance you have in your life), which equals attitude, and attitude is one-hundred percent your choice.” (M. Hagelston)

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