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Local Artist Captures the "Great Outdoors" By Painting the Beauty of Nearby Forest Preserves

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

Artist, Tina Druce-Hoffman, doesn't like to stick with just one type of medium. Instead, she advises, "Mediums are like languages in art, and I like being multi-lingual."

What is the allure of plein air painting? Tina Druce-Hoffman’s poetic depiction says it all. She describes summer breezes riffling through the leaves of tall, shade trees towering above her, and the graceful dance of swaying prairie grasses stretching out ahead. And there she is, soaking it in, painting the essence of Mother Nature at her best.

“It’s sheer joy to sit out there alone painting,” she says. “It fills up your soul like no other experience – it is so restorative.”

Tina, a St. Charles, IL resident, who has an illustration degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, worked as an illustrator and also in graphic design for several years.

“Ten years ago, I quit the corporate life because I didn’t want to draw other people’s ideas anymore -- I wanted to pursue my own,” she says.

Recently she participated in the Norris Gallery “insightful” show, located at 1040 Dunham Road in St. Charles, IL. Her work, “The Sighting” received an honorable mention (see below).

“I like to dabble in a lot of things going beyond illustrative work and stretching myself as an artist. So, a few years ago, I decided to get out of the house and begin plein air,” she recalls.

A favorite outdoor painting spot is the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, among others in the Kane County area. She’s also inspired by “otherworldly” or fantasy subject matter, usually rooted in nature, such as those found in fairy tales and folklore.

“Because of the inherent magic within these stories, they give freedom to the imagination,” she explains.

Expansion as an artist, also means she doesn’t want to limit herself artistically, but enjoys working in a variety of mediums such as acrylic, watercolor and pen-and-ink.

Summing up, she shares, “We’re all still learning. There’s so much growth ahead – no matter where you are in your art. For myself, it’s a matter of staying focused, and keeping pace with myself as I try to catch up with all my ideas.”

Whether in the forest envisioning fairies protecting the woodlands or cushy toadstools as thrones, Tina’s whimsical art will continue to inspire us all to keep expanding our own imaginations.


AFTER THE STORM; watercolor, pen-and-ink

AT LEROY OAKES, plein air, gouache

FERMILAB PRAIRIE; Plein air gouache

ENTHRONED; dry point etching with watercolor

RASPBERRY AND RABBIT, dry point etching with watercolor


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