Christina Tarkoff Oil Paintings

Every Painting Tells A Story

Music at the Rodin (work in progress photo), 18x24, Oil on stretched linen canvas.

Music at the Rodin (work in progress photo), 18x24, Oil on stretched linen canvas.


“Art brings people together.”

With my paintings, I try to tell stories that cross traditional barriers such as gender, age, income, education & race to help us understand the most important art of all — the art of being human.”


The 7 Things You Should Know About Me & My Paintings

1. Every Painting Tells a Story

My "why" as an artist is to create paintings that enhance your life.

Please, take a moment to escape your everyday life and worries for a moment and escape to a place of peace and contemplation.

When you look at my paintings, I hope that you feel a personal connection. Whether it is the time, the location, the people or the subject. I want you to feel I care about my subjects.

I hope my work inspires you to appreciate the people, places, and simple joys in the world we live in. Whether it's children playing in a fountain on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, ice skating at Dilworth Park, or a musician strumming his guitar in Rittenhouse Square. I like to say that "Every Painting Tells A Story." My goal is to enhance your life by bringing people together to enjoy the beauty of each other. 

My paintings come from a combination of observation, interpretation, and composition. I use my visual language as an artist to restructure and interpret what I see.

I want to create meaningful work that touches people.

2. I am on a Mission

As each day passes, it is important for all of us to feel good about our life and our surroundings.

I want to enhance your life by helping you create an atmosphere in your home or office that inspires you and makes you love waking up in the morning. People, places and every day life compel me to create original paintings that bring people together by inspiring a sense of joy, fun or laughter.

I paint the city of Philadelphia, its residents, its streets and parks and even tourist attractions, but through my art I’ve ventured far beyond the city landscape. Not just in location but in awareness,  because we all know that art is not just paintings on canvas. Art is not just seen or viewed, it’s experienced, it’s heard, it’s life. Art engages all five senses. I’ve met so many talented artists across so many mediums and no matter our genre, the one thing that never fails to bring us together is our passion for the arts. We bond over the way it transports us. Moves us. Affects our lives in ways we never thought it would.

Art has touched my life. It’s changed my life in so many wonderful ways. I hope we can all appreciate and celebrate the way art brings people together.

3. Philly Phan Girl

Every painting tells a story. I love Philly...I paint the "Streets of Philadelphia" to capture the soul and character of Philly and its people. I think it’s wrong that Philly lives in the shadow of New York City. Everyone should know that Philly’s art, theater, museums and sports teams…ROCK!

4. What Folks Say About My Paintings

"You are inspiring!"

"Love it Tina. So talented!"

"I cannot decide which painting is my favorite, the last one or this one. Well done."


"Beautiful, you are so talented."

"So cool to see Philadelphia sights come alive!  Love this series!"

"One of my favorites!"

"Tina, it's wonderful!"

"Wow Tina...amazing !!"

"It is great, I have been watching your updates as you worked on it. What a lovely finished piece."


"What a great painting."

"Very nice Christina!! Love it."

"@ctarkoff Oh Wow! What an amazing painting!"

"Beautiful as usual! Talented!"

"What a beautiful work of art, Tina!"

 "Beautiful pieces of art."

5. Life as an Artist—Obstacles, Challenges & Triumphs  

—I have been an artist since I was 4 years old.

Since the time I learned to hold a pencil, pen, brush or piece of chalk, I was always drawing and sketching. 

I studied art and painting at Temple University, Tyler School of Art. I spent a semester in Rome, I studied under the best painting, printmaking and sculpture artists, any student could hope for. My education provided a solid foundation for not only my painting, but my future life as a graphic designer. My years in art school were a dream come true.

—The Twenty Year Deferral

Life sometimes takes detours. Dreams and aspirations change. For twenty+ years, I enjoyed raising my family and growing my graphic design firm. During those years, I had no time or energy left to make art or paintings. 

—The Abyss  

I was away from making paintings for so many years, I stopped thinking of myself as an artist. Art was created by others more creative and talented. Making art was a dark hole from which I could never see the light. It was unreachable, out of touch, not even remotely doable for me.

As life progressed between family and career, 20 years flew by and while my paints and canvases went untouched, my passion for art and its transformative power remained.

—The Transformation...I Can Do This!

How did I experience a transformation and return to making art? How did I finally call myself an artist? What was it? 

A trip with my husband to Santa Fe, New Mexico in November 2015! The amazing art and artists of Santa Fe's boundless creative community was my wake up call to restart life as an oil painter. The pervasive presence of art in the community of Santa Fe is overwhelming. The mere number of art, galleries, and artists struck me like a bolt of lightening! I can do this!  

With encouragement from my husband Bruce, I was inspired to paint again. Its been hard work. Art is powerful, but it’s tiring too. Getting involved with the arts community has made the hard work worth it. 

“Art not only has the power to transform our lives, it has the power to take us places we never knew existed and connect us with individuals we’d otherwise never have the pleasure to meet.”

—The Triumph

I am making art again! Since January 2016, I am working hard to bring visual stories about people and places to my fans and followers. I create compositions of life. It’s not easy, it takes time and energy, but my work as an artist feeds my soul. My journey has led me to this genre know as figurative realism.

Since 2016, I am proud to be honored with local awards, chosen for a magazine cover & most notably—an honorarium from the Knight Foundation.

6. Affiliations

I continue to create a body of quality work, participate as an active co-op member of the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center, the Philadelphia Sketch Club and as a juried Professional Artist Member of the Mainline Art Center. I continue to show my work at highly regarded art centers & galleries throughout the Philadelphia region.

7. Honors

Best Emerging Artist - 2019 Manayunk Arts Festival

Best Emerging Artist - 2019 Manayunk Arts Festival

Celebrated in Manayunk for three decades, this prestigious juried art festival brings over 300 artists and 150,000 visitors to Main Street for a weekend-long event every June.

The number of visitors and artists at this show is overwhelming! I am so proud to be selected as the BEST EMERGING ARTIS for the 2019 show. It is truly and honor I definitely claim bragging rights for this overwhelming award!

Mark Your Calendar for 2020!

Saturday, June 27th, 2020 from 11AM-7PM Sunday, June 28th, 2020 from 11AM-6PM

"Women Who Shatter Barriers," 2018 Honorable Mention, Manayunk Roxborough Art  Center Annual Juried Show.

I am very proud to have my continuing series of "Women Who Shatter Barriers" recognized by the juror as impactful and insightful.

So many proud and courageous women stood up to tell their stories during 2018. It made me think about the many strong women throughout history who paved the way for those of us today. The women of 2018 inspired me to create this series. I hope you see these paintings and find inspiration in your own life from these extraordinary women.

Please let me know if there is an extraordinary woman that you would like to see as part of this series. I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Cover, "Philadelphia Stories," Winter 2018.

The Winter edition of "Philadelphia Stories," in collaboration with the Free Library of Philly's "One Book, One Philadelphia" celebrates the 2018 selection, "Another Brooklyn" by Jacqueline Woodson. "Philadelphia Stories" Winter Edition features "Another Brooklyn's" theme of how music is embedded into the stories of folk's daily lives.  My painting, "Music in Rittenhouse Square," has been chosen as the Cover Image!  

The launch event takes place at Free Library's Rittenhouse branch, The Philadelphia Institute, January 29, 2018 at 5:30 pm. My painting, along with the other artwork from "Philadelphia Stories" will be on exhibit until February 10, 2018 at the Philadelphia Institute.



2017 Knight Foundation/ Free Library of Philadelphia's Cultureshare Honorarium

"Dancing at Rittenhouse Square" 2017, Oil on stretched canvas, 18x24

"Dancing at Rittenhouse Square" 2017, Oil on stretched canvas, 18x24

"Rittenhouse Square" (etching) by Eleanor Banks from the Free Library of Philadelphia's Print and Picture Collection

"Rittenhouse Square" (etching) by Eleanor Banks from the Free Library of Philadelphia's Print and Picture Collection

Free Library of Philadelphia's Cultureshare Honorarium
One of my proudest accomplishments! "Dancing at Rittenhouse Square," is the recipient of the Knight Foundation's Cultureshare Honorarium.

The Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong Philadelphia roots. They invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. They believe great art connects people to places and to each other; they support art that engages, educates and delights residents in ways that are authentic to each community.

My "Dancing at Rittenhouse Square" painting is paired with a WPA era etching by Eleanor Banks (pictured above), which currently resides in the Free Library's permanent collection.

"Cultureshare is a free, subscription-based program that curates and distributes locally produced art, music, writing, and performance in conversation with existing holdings of the Free Library. The objectives include removing the financial and logistical barriers traditionally needed to consume art, highlighting voices of culture makers across diverse communities, encouraging engagement with the Free Library as a cultural institution, and supporting working artists in Philadelphia through funding and exposure."

Personal Life

All dressed up! My hubbie, me, and our kids!

All dressed up! My hubbie, me, and our kids!

Enjoying life and a nice glass of chilled chardonnay in Firenze, Italia!

Enjoying life and a nice glass of chilled chardonnay in Firenze, Italia!

It's 2008! Phillies win the World Series! We are there! Crazy exciting!

It's 2008! Phillies win the World Series! We are there! Crazy exciting!


I'm a wife to a great guy for over 30 years and proud mom to our Millennial children—one son, one daughter, and one future son-in-law. I am lucky to have both my parents in good health and sound mind. 

Don't believe everything written about the Millennial generation. Our kids are independent, fun, responsible, working, full-time adults. They keep my husband and I current on how to talk, act and not become two old fogies. Which is very helpful in my line of work!


I have to admit, I am passionate about the creative side of life. Whether it's a brilliant novel, a lovely flower, a nice glass of wine, or just sitting in a piazza and watching folks go by.


Did I mention I love baseball? It's fun for the family, it's so mathematical—9 innings, 9 players, 3 outs, 3 strikes, 3 bases...the stats goes on and on. Most of all, I love spending a beautiful summer day at the ballpark!


My home/studio is located just outside of Philadelphia, PA. I love Philly, I am not native to Philly, but I have grown to love it. Philly is a fun, gritty, proud town. We may live in the shadows of NYC, but that is why we try harder!

Philadelphia Museum of Art. I love this place. Visit if you can!

Philadelphia Museum of Art. I love this place. Visit if you can!