Website of artist Tuck Contreras /

Thumbnail of website emblem, showing a sawblade morphing into a chrysanthemum.


oil paintings

This online gallery is a partial representation of Tuck’s body of work. She has been painting in oils — off and on — for three decades. Tuck’s oil paintings have been shown in galleries in California and Oregon. Some have won awards.

Getting Tuck to articulate her artistic process is like pulling teeth. “For me, painting is an expression of emotion. I paint because I see and feel, and I need to express those feelings.”

Simple. And yet so generic that it tells us very little about what differentiates her work — and personal vision — from every other painter’s.

One distinguishing factor is her choice of medium: oils.

Tuck is not, for example, a water-colorist. And that’s largely because she finds that oils “match my moods, which is very hard to do.”

For Tuck, oil paints are alive.

Infinitely malleable, oil paints add depth and texture to a two-dimensional surface: “your brush seems to go into the canvas,” says Tuck, noting that this has a “frightening” effect when you begin a painting.

To Tuck, a blank gessoed canvas is perfection itself.

It takes a lot of nerve — and a driving need for self-expression in this medium — to attempt to improve on that which is already perfect.

... Not so simple, after all.

Opening quotation mark

I know I cannot paint a flower. I cannot paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning, but maybe in terms of paint color, I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time. Closing quotation mark

— Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), artist

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