Christina Tarkoff Oil Paintings

Painting the People & Places of Philadelphia & Beyond

How to Prevent Swiss Cheese Walls!

Christina Tarkoff
Ok, I had a bit a fun here with the photofunia app!

Ok, I had a bit a fun here with the photofunia app!

Hanging art in your home or office can be stressful because it may lead to "swiss cheese" walls. You know what I mean  - you think you found the perfect place for your art and put the nail in the wall to hang and ... "Ugh" that art just does not work where you thought it would!

Well, I don't have the perfect solution to "Swiss Cheese" Walls. And, we cannot all have a fancy schmancy wiring system like an art gallery.

My best suggestion for size and spacing:

  • Cut a piece of newspaper (or some other scrap material) the size of your artworks
  • Tape the cut pieces of newspaper on the wall where you want to hang your art.
  • (Use masking tape that doesn't remove the paint from your walls.)
  • Experiment with positioning the newspaper templates around on your walls

This is not a perfect solution, but, like I said in the past - COMPOSITION IS KING, even for your walls!

If you have come up with any solutions to hanging art! Please share!

Ready for paint!

Christina Tarkoff
"Dilworth Splash," pencil sketch on canvas, 18x24, work in progress

"Dilworth Splash," pencil sketch on canvas, 18x24, work in progress

Dilworth Splash!

I played and played with the composition for "Dilworth Splash."

A few days ago I finally committed to proceed with the composition you see above. I do most of my experimenting with sketches, cuz for me, COMPOSITION IS KING.

When deciding on my composition, I consider these factors:

  • What action each character is doing
  • How each character interacts in relation to the overall scene
  • How each character interacts with each other
  • Is the background setting meaningful to the characters
  • Is the background setting colorful and interesting to the viewer
  • and most importantly;
  • Do I love this "work in progress" enough to spend the next month or two of my life dedicated to it!

I hope you like the start to "Dilworth Splash." I will post work-in-progress photos on my FB Page and IG account.

I Am Super Excited About This Painting!

Christina Tarkoff

As many of you know, the musician in this painting reached out to me to acquire the painting after he saw a sketch of it online. I have to thank the photographer Jonathan Yu, for bringing us together and taking the awesome image that served as my reference photo for the painting.

Making this painting was a great experience for me, because the musician got to see the painting develop through all its stages. I promised him I would complete it within a month. And, yay, I did it.

Yesterday, I posted the completed painting on my FB Page and I am so happy — his reaction was "Wooooow, I love it!" Well, I love that he loves it!

I have to say, I had so much fun making this painting. It makes me feel so good that my work is reaching folks and contributing to them, a sense of fun and joy. It has been an honor to complete this painting, and I thank this young musician for his talents and his appreciation of supporting local art. Today, more than ever, we all need to appreciate one another.

Thank you for reading this post. I appreciate your time and attention.

The Free Library of Philadelphia's Cultureshare Program is Launched

Christina Tarkoff

So exciting. I am honored to be among a talented group of visual artists, poets, writers and musicians chosen for the inaugural edition of the Free Library of Philadelphia's Cultureshare program. On October 3, the Library hosted a Launch Party in their Skyline Room located in the Central LIbrary's Benjamin Parkway location.

The evening was filled with great art, music, poetry & stories. All created by local artists! I had the opportunity to meet Judith Tannenbaum, the juror who chose my painting, "Dancing at Rittenhouse Square" as a honorarium recipient. 

As a crazy book nerd, it is so appropriate that I am a participant in the Library's Cultureshare program. I borrow all my Kindle books from the wonderful online "stacks" of the Philadelphia Free Library and the Delaware County Library. All the Kindle books are free and available to borrow for up to 21 days! 

I am so thankful, to the Free Library and all the folks who initiated this new Cultureshare program. As an artist, we create and we create and we create. It feels good, when our work is given a platform to be appreciated by the community. A bit of acknowledgement goes a long way with artists. 

And, to top off all the honors, "Dancing at Rittenhouse Square" is recently sold to a wonderful family that viewed the painting at the recent Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center's "Philadelphia Places" show. So, I am having a wonderful week filled with gratitude and thanks. 


The crazy world of the Interweb & Doing the Right Thing

Christina Tarkoff
File Oct 06, 2 44 14 PM.jpeg

Do you have a story about how you found or connected with someone online? Here's my story of an encounter I made via Google Search, email and Facebook.

As my followers know, I paint about little chunks of humanity throughout the Philadelphia area.

The Story Begins.
A few months ago I had in my head to paint a series of street musicians. As usual I visited the various parks of Philly looking for subjects to photograph. I took a bunch of photos but I just was not happy with anything.

Buskers of Philly
So I went online searching for "buskers of Philly" images to get ideas about how to better capture my subject. I found a website with awesome images by photographer Jonathan Yu.

The Reference Photo
I made a little painted sketch and really loved where it was going. But... this was not my reference photo, so I researched how to get in contact with the photographer. I found his website and emailed him requesting permission to use his photo as reference for my painting. I mentioned in the email that if I did not hear back from him I would not continue with the painting.

Weeks Went By
I did not hear from the photographer, so the little painted sketch remained unfinished.

Facebook Page Inbox
One recent day while checking my artist FB Page - I notice a message awaiting in my inbox. And here is where this story gets crazy! The message is from the musician in Jonathan Yu's photograph!

The Crazy Connection!
The street musician is a friend of the photographer . The photographer contacted the musician and sent him the image of my unfinished painting.

The Musician
Turns out, when the musician learned about the painting - he researched me and discovered my work online by way of my website, Instagram and my Facebook Page! The musician contacted me through the Facebook Page, tells me he loves my work and asked if the painting is available for purchase! How crazy & exciting is that!!

The Storybook Ending
I am making him a larger painting of the original sketch for him to purchase. It will be ready in about a month. We are both thrilled about the painting. He never had a painting of himself and I am thrilled about how art brings folks together in the craziest of ways!

Do you have a crazy connection story? I'd love to hear it!

If you haven't checked yet - click on my FB Page & Instagram account.

Work In Progress - "Matthew - Blue-Eyed Boy"

Christina Tarkoff
"Matthew-Blue-Eyed Boy" Work in Progress

"Matthew-Blue-Eyed Boy" Work in Progress

I first sketched this boy for one of my 100-Day Ballpoint Pen Sketch Challenges. The Ballpoint Pen Sketch could not capture the boy's eyes. His blue eyes are as vibrant as his shirt. I am working from a reference photo that I took at the Reading Terminal Market. This vendor is from a Lancaster County Farm. A very tranquil and peaceful life! Stay tuned to watch the progress on this painting!

Day 3 of 100 Day Notepad/Ballpoint Pen Sketch Challenge

100 Day Sketch ChallengeChristina Tarkoff
"Busker of Philly"—Rittenhouse Square."  Ballpoint pen on notepad, Philadelphia, PA. 4-5-2017,

"Busker of Philly"—Rittenhouse Square."  Ballpoint pen on notepad, Philadelphia, PA. 4-5-2017,

"Busker of Philly—Rittenhouse Square." Day 3 of 100 Day Notepad Sketch Challenge. Buskers (street musicians) and Rittenhouse Square pretty much go hand in hand. Rittenhouse Square is a great place for listening and a great place for busking! I always feel that buskers in Rittenhouse get the proper attention as they would get as if playing the Academy of Music or Kimmel. So many times, we pass by street musicians and enjoy their music, but don’t stop to show them our appreciation! Rittenhouse Busking is the exception. In the park, philly folks, stop, listen and hopefully place a dollar to two in gratitude.

photo credit: I fashioned this sketch from a photo by Jonathan Yu's "Buskers of Philly" series.

What is Good Art?

Collecting ArtChristina Tarkoff

So, what is good art? Well that depends on who is looking at it! There is only one way to describe it...Good art moves you. It evokes emotion. It transports you. Maybe, it brings you to a place you love? Maybe it inspires you, brings you serenity and beauty?