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The Artist's Canvas


Jacqueline-Collen Tarrolly


Jacqueline's artwork




Coffee Bean©


Spirit of Winter©


The Legend©



TWPT:  When was it that art became an important part of who you were? 

JCT:  Well my father says I was born waving my hands about in the air like I was trying to paint something.  I've always drawn, sketched, painted, created.  Its as natural to me as breathing.  I won a first place in the 12 and under category of a local art fair when I was five. It was a tooth fairy.  

TWPT:   Did you ever have any formal art training? Do you think that formal training offers any kind of guarantees for success or is the lack of it a hindrance to an artist? 

JCT:  Formal how? Like college or art school or something? No. I am entirely self taught in that regard. I learn mostly by actual practice and experimentation and from listening to other artists talk. I did take art electives in high school, but it was entirely independent study. I'd sit in the back and do my own thing while the other kids did still lifes or something.  I had this teacher, Mark Snowden..I hope someday he will find an interview or something I do and read how much I appreciate him. He was the Jr High art teacher. It was a very small town and the high school and junior high shared two buildings so I was able to scam my way into staying with him all through high school as well as junior high.   I didn't care much for what the regular High School teacher was doing and I got along really well with Mr. Snowden, and I was apparently pretty far ahead of most of the other kids.  So the school board let me stay on with him. Thank goodness. He never tried to stifle me, but he also never took my BS.  

TWPT:  At what point did you start to think that perhaps others might be interested in seeing and perhaps even buying your art? What kind of art did you work on when you started producing pictures that you wanted to display and sell?

JCT:  I got into this as a profession far later than one would expect considering my lifelong art leanings.  I was in my 30's. It just never occurred to me that someone would actually give me money for my scribbles!  I mean, how cool!!! I'm still so honored and humbled by the fact that what is as natural to me as breathing could mean something to someone else and earn me a living.  I'm pretty grateful for this, really.    I painted a couple of horse with maiden pieces to use as promotional graphics for what was then my main business ( which has since become more or less phased out as the art business grew and took over).  Someone wanted to buy the I painted more.  It occurred to me that I might have a little side line so I developed a website with the help of a friend and it all went form there. Now the art is my main income and passion.  

TWPT:  What kinds of mediums do you work with and why would you use one medium for a particular piece of art as opposed to another medium? In your mind what determines how a piece of art is created?

JCT:  I work primarily in acrylic paints. Most people think my work is watercolor at first glance, but its not. I do use watercolor on occasion for a special effect or something I am going for, and I have a lovely little set of 12 tubes of it..but acrylic is my first love.   I also dabble in watercolor markers and other stuff now and again.   I use the acrylic because it is what I am used to I suppose. I like the vibrancy I can get with it that can so closely resemble oils, but without the wait time of a oil. I have very little patience, there are too many ideas all fighting in my head and if a piece takes too long I burn out on it.     I also like that acrylic can be diluted with water to achieve a watercolor-ey like effect. Its kind of the jack of all trades in terms of paint to me.   And I love to layer paints and stuff like that. You cant really do that too much with watercolor.  But there are certain effects one can get with watercolor that you can't with acrylic and with other mediums that you can't with paint I use what strikes me as the most appropriate for the effect I'm after. How does a piece get created? I dunno...It hits me like a ton of bricks, wont let me sleep till I get it at least sketched out.  

TWPT:  If anyone has ever been to your website and cruised through any of your galleries  I'm sure that they have noticed that you have a penchant for elves and fairies in your artwork. What is it that inspires you to pursue these types of images and where do ideas for new pieces come from? 

JCT:  I've always painted the Fae worlds. Always. Like I said, when I was five I painted a tooth fairy.  Its what speaks to me.  I guess I'm an Elf myself and it's a way of relating to that realm.   I see other worlds and other life around us that is not on the main radar of most people, I suppose. I sense life all about me, in the shifting of dry leaves on a street, in the budding flowers on my rose bushes, in the mistletoe that grows profusely in my Sycamore tree but not on ANYONE else's Sycamore trees on this entire street...I sense that and I paint it.  I don't know how else to communicate the existence of those things in a way that doesn't make people think I'm looney.  I grew up in a very conservative town and one just didn't talk about these things there, so I painted them instead. 

 My ideas come from own twisted little, sometimes I'll hear a word, or see something. Just recently I was in a restaurant and there was this lovely harlequin pattern painted on the sparked an idea.   Sometimes I'll just be lying there trying to go to sleep and a whole series of images will hit me and I literally have to get up and sketch them out or I won't sleep. 

TWPT:  Do artists look to other artists for inspiration in their own work? Over the years who would you say has offered you glimpses of what you could achieve in your own art? 

JCT:  Sure we look to other artists. I don't know of anyone that is not touched by at least one other artist.  Sometimes its someone contemporary, sometimes its a classic artist or older work.  I think we all strive to have our own styles, but there are always influences to our work, of course. 

Oh..the Pre-Raphaelites are a big influence as they are for many of us, I think.   Arthur Rackham is a biggie for me, and of course Froud is like the Godfather of all Fairy Art. Gotta give him props for paving the way for us all. Amy Brown and Jessica Galbreath have both been hugely supportive of my efforts and big helps to me as I grew. Thanks girls!  I love Christensen and Craft and oh boy...just about everyone. Nene Thomas makes me want to bury my head in shame: she is so good.... 

TWPT:  As an artist do you ever work on commission for someone else's ideas? How is this type of work different for you than what you do to satisfy your own creative urges? 

JCT:  I do a limited amount of commissions, yes. The reason they are limited is because I will only accept a commission if the client understands that I can't paint on command.  The less they tell me they want..the less their idea is and the bigger mine can be, the better we will do.   And that I am not a portrait artist. I can get the flavor of someone or something, but not a mirror image. So don't ask me for your great aunt Fanny as a fairy. I can do a Fanny-ish image with wings and grey hair, but that's gonna be it.  LOL...So my commission clients are generally people who just love my style and want something special done just for them in my own style with maybe a certain person or something in it that means something just to them.   But they trust my imagination.    I had accepted a commission from someone recently that I ended up not going over all the specifics with for whatever reason.  We just forgot or something. And she kept giving me ideas and specifics and a list of the way she saw the image. I just could NOT rectify what she was asking for with the picture I kept seeing in my head. It was so frustrating because I really wanted to give her what she wanted, but it was just not coming together. I finally told her I could not do her piece because it wasn't speaking to me..that I saw something totally different and that I was going to go ahead and paint what I saw but she was under no obligation to pay for it whatsoever.   She ended up loving it and bought the piece anyway.  That's my piece Lishmar.  So I guess my commissions are not really any different than my own creative stuff, because I cant do it if it's not mine.  Maybe that's a failing of mine. 

TWPT:   Does the area where you live and work or your menagerie of animals play a part in the images that you create?  

JCT:  Yes, a resounding yes.   The first painting I did as a professional artist was of one of my horses.  And I continue to paint my horses ( I have ten of them) frequently. They inspire me in so many ways. I personally believe horses are fairy creatures anyway, so it's easy to find inspiration from them. I moved about a little over a year ago to a property that was zoned for horses, but before that the house we lived in was built on a fairy mound. It was the only house for blocks around that was actually off street level.  And my plants in my garden would reach insane heights and growth!    I was concerned when we moved that I would lose that presence..that feeling of the fae folk around me, caring for me and my garden and loved ones. But I've since discovered that they've followed me, or at least some of them have. There is a huge old sycamore in front of my house.   I've found mistletoe growing in it recently..just since we moved here, it wasn't there before. And I've looked, and no other trees on this street..which is full of the same type of sycamore, has mistletoe.   Its them letting me know they are here. 

TWPT:  Tell me about your involvement with the So Cal Ren Pleasure Faire and how that came about.  

JCT:  The Renn Faire.  Well...I had made the decision to try my hand at being professional. The first show I did after that was this traveling craft fair called The Harvest Festival.   One of the days that weekend, the marketplace director for the Southern faire came into my booth. She introduced herself to me and informed me that one of their artists was leaving for a year and they needed another one to fill her spot.  I was nervous. Its a big commitment doing a Renn Faire, but I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to get in to a market that is highly coveted. I went for it.  I've been doing them ever since. The Southern California Faire is my 'home' faire. Its where it all started for me, but I now also do the Northern California Renn faire as well. And have been invited to participate in smaller venues also. I'm even doing an 11 day show at Legoland this Summer! 

TWPT:  Do you enjoy displaying your art at these venues and what kinds of feedback to you get about your art from the visitors who stop by your exhibit? 

JCT:  Oh I LOVE the Faires. I really do. I am a bit of a nomad at heart but not enough to give up my normal life with my garden and horses and pets and family and so forth. So these shows allow me to indulge in that nomadic part of my nature.   I enjoy the people, I enjoy the social life after hours and I love the history and pageantry of it all.   I get a very good response. I always do better than expected and I've gathered a big following and lots of new friends through my artwork that way. I've gotten licensing deals and offers for display space at other shows, etc. Its been a very valuable source of income and exposure for me as well as something I genuinely enjoy doing. You always get your jerks..I like to say there is always one at every show..but mostly everyone is very positive and fun! 

TWPT:  Do you enjoy the business aspects of being an artist or would you rather be painting somewhere?

JCT:  That depends on what part of the business aspects of it. I love doing the shows etc..and that is part of the business side of it.  I love the marketing stuff..and finding new ideas etc..but when it comes to the accounting part of it..oh dear. I am just terrible at it. I manage, but my husband and son know to steer clear of me when I am working on the accounting which I do twice monthly. I am so focused because I have to be that I will bite heads off if disturbed... 

TWPT:  How are the many ways that visitors to your website could own a piece of your artwork? I noticed that you have even had some requests for your artwork to be used as tattoos.  

JCT:  Well...they can always buy a print or something from me!  That's the best way!  But there are lots of other ways too. You mentioned tattoos. I am always impressed when someone shows me a tattoo they got of my work.  I also have licensing deals with several manufacturers of various items around the world. There are stickers and magnets and keychains and slate stones and cross-stitch patterns and more.  There are also several books out now with my work featured. 

TWPT:   After everything that you've created as far as your art do you still get a thrill either starting a new piece or putting the finishing touches on a work in progress? Do you think you'll ever grow tired of what you do? 

JCT:  I hope I don't ever get tired of it. I can't imagine that, really.    But I have learned with other things in my life that when I force myself to do things when I don't have the 'urge' I lose interest in it after a time. I feel trapped by it.   So when I started this I told myself I would NOT paint if I didn't feel like it. I would not force the muse when she was not there. And so far so good.  

TWPT:   What was it that inspired you to choose the name Toadstool Farm Art as the working name for your art business? 

JCT:  Actually...the name Toadstool Farm came form my old house. I loved that house. It needed a name. It was this perfect fairy cottage in the middle of the city on a fairy mound.  The name Toadstool finally came to me, and it was perfect. But the suffix "cottage" or something didn't fit exactly. With all the animals we had then we finally thought Farm was perfect.  So Toadstool Farm it became.   When the art business just seemed to fit as the exact right name for a new fairy art venture. And there was no one else out there with any thing like it so that was an added plus! 

TWPT:  As a final question is there anything else that you would like to let our readers know about yourself or your art work? 

JCT:  I think you covered it pretty much completely...LOL.....  

TWPT:  Thanks for talking to us and I hope that inspiration will always be yours when it comes to your art work.