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TONYA MITCHELL

County Durham based artist living in West Auckland.

What is my Paradigm in bringing art to you?

My guiding principle in all I do is to be accountable. I aim to be ecologically friendly using oils instead of acrylics is part of this. People assume that because oil paint has 'oil' in its name they are made from it. Nothing could be further than the truth. In fact acrylics are made from plutonium while oil paint is totally based on natural ingredients. Varnishes are more problematic but the paint and its solvents are natural. 

I try to use good quality paper for all my cards and prints and use recycled paper for envelopes. More and more I can use biodegradable cellophane to wrap cards and prints with 100% of my cards being wrapped in biodegradable wrapping. 

 

A new venture is to create decretive items from recycled glass. I hope to build up a collection of these where image and word might come together as poetry, narrative and scripture all inform and inspire my art.    

 

A short Biography

Tonya has lived in the Bishop Auckland area most of her life. Born in Newcastle, her mother brought her to Bishop Auckland as a toddler. She started painting on an evening, attending oil painting class in her early teens during the 1970s. The class was held in Bishop Auckland, at King James I Comprehensive School, as it was then.

As a dyslexic Tonya did not progress beyond CSE qualifications in school. She wanted to go to college and study art but suffered from at least two common problems to women from her background. The first and most important problem was the insurmountable mountain of disbelief. When she expressed her intention to take an art course and go to university a friend told her she was being stupid, 'people like us do not do things like that, you will waist all your life and nothing will happen about it'. 

Wanting a home of her own and security of income instead she took a job and got married had children. The technological explosion of computing and internet opened doors to her she never imagined could. Yes examinations were still a nightmare but course work could be submitted in a word processed form.  This allowed her to complete an access course and at last go to university. Unfortunately art was not part of the access course so instead of studying for an arts degree she ironically studied English and achieved a first class degree and an MA. 

Children and career as an English teacher took over and painting became a childhood memory. Taking early retirement Tonya has picked up a brush again and continues to paint. She signs her pictures as MIT in fond memory of her teaching years as that was her last timetable code. She also emphasises the t to make it a cross which symbolises the guiding influence of her faith that she found just before re-entering education.

Becoming an artist later in life feels odd, a bit daunting when there are so many talented young artists out there who have studied at great universities. I feel ill equipped, under qualified, a bit as I did as a dyslexic English teacher. What I have learned however, is that adversity can lead to creativity. If you have to think outside of the normal boxes new things can happen. I am still hopeful the new thing will happen in my expression of love for my beautiful home land the North East of England. 

So much of the nation's history is founded here, Christianity religious started in the North, the first ever Kings came from the North, many of the industries that establish the Kingdom of Great Britain as an economic power house were birthed here. Industrialisation managed to smut over the natural beauty of the area, while the failure of those industries left an impoverished population struggling to redefine their identity. I long for art to be part of rewriting some truths. People from this region can succeed, the region is not an ugly redundant coal mining, steal working waste land. It is a beautiful place full of amazing scenery, fantastic friendly people, and a history so rich that it needs to be rediscovered. At least one facet of this, is what I strive to express in each painting.        

 

Please get in contact if you have any questions, would like to buy prints or an original painting or discuss commissions.

 

Thank you for taking time to read this 

Tonya