Affordable Art Fair Artist Spotlight: Tricia May

Here at UGallery, we love this time of year. Flowers are blooming, Girl Scouts are testing our New Year’s resolutions and we’re prepping ‘round the clock for our annual pilgrimage to the Affordable Art Fair in New York City.

Each year we bring a select few artists to exhibit in the UGallery booth. This year we’ve chosen 8 artists, 4 newbies and 4 veterans of AAF. We are very excited for you to get to know them and their work!

Up next is our last AAF newbie: Say hello to Tricia May! You can find more of Tricia’s work on UGallery


Taking inspiration from Mother Nature, Tricia May describes her paintings as “impressionistic with a contemporary flair.” Her early work focused on the figure, but after moving to Idaho in 1992, she became fascinated with capturing the landscape. Today, Tricia’s Tree series numbers more than 400 paintings and counting. She says “I plan my paintings ahead using sketches, a value pattern, and color choices. Then I allow intuition and spontaneity to take over, enjoying the process.”

How did you begin painting?

I began painting in watercolor some 40 years ago while living in Southern California. I did figures and children’s portraits which gave me a nice income while I was raising my family. Sometimes I would meet with a family on the beach and take photos of their children playing in their summer clothes and bare feet. I would create a painting from these images and these paintings became family heirlooms.


October Skies

Do you still paint any figurative works?

When I moved to Boise, Idaho in 1992 with my family I wanted to explore a new direction in my art career. I quit taking commissions and just painted what I wanted. I still do figures occasionally but no one in particular. The Idaho landscape inspired me and I knew I had to get outside and paint it. Rivers, mountains, meadows, and mostly trees became my subject matter of choice.

How did moving to Idaho change your painting style?

That is when I switched my medium to oils, bought a french easel, and went outdoors to paint in any and all weather. One time it started to snow hard and I used my husbands golf umbrella to keep the paint from freezing! Each outing became an opportunity to create a visually memory. I couldn’t get enough and began inviting other artists to join me. This group of artists quickly grew and in 1999 I founded the Plein Air Painters of Idaho (PAPI for short).



Tell me more about the Plein Air Painters of Idaho.

PAPI is now over sixty members statewide. We paint locally in small groups and meet several times a year in larger groups to paint for three to five days in some of the most beautiful country. Our annual paint out in autumn is in Stanley, Idaho at Redfish Lake, a magical place. There is a lodge there that is like out of a Hemingway novel and it is said he stayed there many times when fishing for Salmon. The Sawtooth Mountains are the backdrop to several alpine lakes and meadows filled with Aspen trees and wild life. It is a hikers paradise and one of my favorite places to paint.

Do you always paint plein air?

When I am not outdoors working, I paint in my studio on large canvases. I also love setting up still life and floral arrangements which give me a chance to work on a more intimate subject and use brighter, bolder colors. I strive to keep my brushwork loose and the paint thick, letting the viewer fill in the rest. Sometimes I will complete a whole painting using only one palette knife, so much fun! I would say my work is impressionistic with a focus on natural light, color harmony, texture and a feeling of joy.



Where do you sell your work?

My work has been shipped all across the US, Canada and Europe. Many galleries have represented my work and I am currently showing at The Lawrence Gallery in Sheridan, Oregon, UGallery and The Artizen Gallery in McCall, Idaho.

The Affordable Art Fair is held at the Metropolitan Pavilion from March 25 to 29th. Pop by if you’re in New York! (we’re booth 1.2)

You can shop a sneak peek of our Fair Collection here.