Break the Rules

    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist" -Pablo Picasso

    What are the rules, per se? If you've ever taken an art class in middle or high school, I'm sure you're familiar with the terms used to describe a painting, perhaps in light of a critique or just a regular lesson. These phrases, once learned, direct us in how to go about creating an artwork in a way that makes sense not only to us as artists, but to our viewers as well. 

    Drilled into us at every project and learning opportunity, words such as "balance, color theory, value, foreground, background," are the most basic of terms. Then, there are the more complex descriptives, giving for a more specific take on a subject matter. Take for instance the term juxtaposition, which is used to describe the result of an artists' intentions to bring out a specific quality of an artwork or to create a particular effect by placing contrasting or opposing elements against one another. In layman's terms, it's what makes a painting unique and interesting to look at. Today's artist, and her artworks, will surely get your attention. 

    A dear high school friend of mine and a true inspiration, her works are embedded with texture and mystified through the attachment of mixed media peculiarities. This Tampa-based creator explores the sublime relationship between colorful surfaces and intense emotions through abstraction and occasional portraiture, (sometimes obviously made and at other times hidden in plain sight); a unique painting style all her own, easily recognizable and impactful.

    With red curly hair that gleams like fire in the sunlight and light, kind eyes that lay delicately above her freckled cheeks, Tricia Shamburger is an artist that deserves to be remembered and adored not only for her kindness but for the sheer dedication and commitment she has in her craft.


    If I had to describe Shamburger's work upon initial glance, the first word that comes to mind is "melting." Gestural strokes, so intricately placed to both abstract her subject matter while simultaneously creating the lowlights/highlights/shadows, which combined, form into the images we recognize, such as the lips in the first portrait, and the faces in the second and third. Helping this along are her choices in color. A rule of thumb in art is that cooler colors push an artwork back, while warm colors bring a subject forward. Shamburger uses this to her advantage, separating the foreground against midground, and finally the background, while also creating depth in her pieces.     I find it truly incredible how far she's come since back in our high school days. She was a great artist from the start, but through the years following our graduation, she's developed her style, and now I could recognize her work anywhere. Not just for the way the paintings look but also for the painting technique she applies, take a look at these close-ups to understand what I mean:


    Not only are there layers of texture, but Shamburger adds miscellaneous items to the work, creating 3-D elements that give a viewer more to look other than just the main image. I can only imagine the kind of questions she's asked:

What did this belong to? 

    Are there any special meanings behind the items used? 

    Where do you find your inspiration? 

    About her own works, Shamburger states, 
    "I am inspired by the intricacies and layers of emotions and nature. The unique elements and macro patterns of nature urge me to create. Every time I step outside, I stumble upon a newly discovered insect or plant species. By capturing the awe-inspiring subtleties of nature and liquefying the layers of emotions, tragedy and beauty are seamlessly woven as one."

    You might be wondering, where is the nature? If you've already spotted the critters in the third and second images displayed at the top of this page, then you have a keen eye. If you haven't spotted them, look closely at the yellows, where wasps or bees can be found. Look again at the shoulder of the woman in the red portrait, where a lizard lies contentedly. 

    Crazy right? You can never get enough of the "where's waldo" aspect of Shamburger's paintings. She's truly an inspiration. 

    Thank you, Tricia, for allowing me the honor of featuring your work on my page, I look forward to seeing what other ideas you have in store and am eager to see their execution. 

    If you'd like to see more of Tricia's work, click this link to be redirected to her Instagram, and thank you for joining me in today's feature! Stop by next week as I go through my old artwork from high school and ask the question, "do we rework it, or hide it away in the closet forever?"

another of her artworks I favor^


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  1. Love this!! I wish I was more artistic, so I have a love and respect for those that are talented artists. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you for the comment! It's much appreciated! I too have a love for others' talent! 😁

  2. Makes me think, “Rules are meant to be broken.”

    Great post!

    1. Thank you! All credit to the talent behind this post though, Tricia is amazing!


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