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  • Writer's picturePatrice Drago

A New Art Book by an Amazing Artist – A Must Have


I met Tesia Blackburn in 2010, one year after I bought my new house and made the switch from oil painting to acrylic and mixed media and back to my comfort zone of abstract.  I fell in love with Golden Paint brand because their colors are luscious and their texture mediums are out of this world.

Fascinated by the endless possibilities, I regularly trolled and fell down the YouTube rabbit hole of art videos for tips and tricks and new techniques.  I soaked up books and magazines of anything and everything art and experimented with just about everything.  What a great life…I felt like I a kid in the playground every day – all day!

I came across a video of the Acrylic Diva (Tesia) in her San Francisco studio, wearing a hoodie, knitted cap and gloves, talking about ventilation.  I found myself smiling, because her humor and easy message was fun and to the point.  I watched all of her videos, went to her website and discovered she was a Golden Working Artist.  AND – she was offering a week-long Abstraction from Nature workshop in Ukiah, CA.  Hmmm.

I called the number on her site, and she answered almost right away – while driving to one of the many demonstrations and classes she conducts.  “I’m calling from Maryland – Is there any reason you can think of that I shouldn’t fly 3,000 miles to attend your workshop?”

“I can’t think of a one!  Come on!”  And I did.

Best art/travel decision I ever made.  The workshop was a perfect mix of outdoor experience and observation; sketch-planning on the spot, instruction in the studio and studio time to just paint.  As a certified instructional designer, I am hard to please; I could find no fault with anything big or small in the entire week.  I learned so much – and actually absorbed it so that I could use it moving forward. I continued to attend her annual workshops and online classes; she mentored me via Skype, we would give each other feedback on our websites, and I’ve worked as her assistant at Urban Art Retreats.  Of course the real reason it was the best decision is that we have become fast friends.

Tesia is a pro.  She is a San Francisco abstract artist that is true to herself and dedicated to her practice and to helping others achieve artistic freedom.  To say she is knowledgeable is an understatement, and yet her wisdom is so very accessible because of her delivery that includes a wonderful sense of humor and clear-headed message.  Having viewed what feels like a million art technique and instructional videos that are 20 minutes when they could be 5, Tesia’s stand out as a breath of fresh air.  She doesn’t waste your time, she includes all of the right instruction without adding too much, and she keeps you entertained.  Can’t beat that!  Of course, her artwork is unfailingly stunning, so it is easy to want to follow what she does.  Most of all, Tesia is the embodiment of joy.  That is always my touchstone and she is a gem.

She wrote her first book, “Acrylic Painting with Passion”, published by North Light Books in 2014 (I am featured in that book).  Early this year, we were having one of our long catch-up conversations about life, art, family, dogs, guitars and the kitchen sink, and she told me she was finally going to pull this second book together.  Would I be interested in editing?  YES!

It was important that she have an editor that knew her; she wanted her writing and her book to reflect her personality, and she wanted the freedom to write the way she speaks.  That sounded pretty perfect to me.  And it was.  Perfect, fun, and rewarding.  I’m grateful for her faith in me, and the process of working with her was pure joy.

“It’s Only Painting:  Essays on Creativity from a Veteran Artist” has arrived!  It is published and available and a definite read for creatives.  It arrived at my house with the most endearing hand-written message inside, and I couldn’t be more proud of it, and of her.


“It’s Only Painting” is a combination of knowledge and experience, told in her very artist way.  She always surprises me with her refreshing analogies and different take on things that help me slap my forward and say “yes… of course!!!”

I think you will find that too.

Oh – and BTW – it was such a great experience, I am editing her companion book “It’s Only Painting: The Maker’s Book” filled with rules and tools and other fun tips, to be published by the end of November.  Get the first, and you will definitely want the second.  Preorder starts Nov. 1.

TIP:  Anything you buy on Amazon, you can buy on Amazon Smile and choose a nonprofit for proceeds of your sale to go to; there is absolutely no difference in the website, the offerings or the cost.  Might I suggest you choose Maryland Federation of Art 🙂 

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