Artist Trisha Hall is returning to her native Rochester and Southern Thurston County, bringing her education and experiences from abroad back to her hometown. Participating in the Tenino art culture, teaching art at Tenino High School and hosting live-stream instruction are just a few of the activities she directs her energy at. Her works carry themes of nature, magic, personal growth and the pursuit of universal truths.
Growing up in Rochester, Hall always knew the creative art field was one she enjoyed. She was surrounded by artistic expression from a very young age and encouraged that she could do anything she set her mind to. Creativity runs in the family. Her parents make musical instruments from glass, and Hall painted with the very watercolors she inherited from her grandmother. Piano lessons since elementary school, flute in the jazz band, musical theater and three different choirs were part of the foundation she brought with her to Central Washington University where she majored in studio art.
Watercolor and oil painting were Hall’s main disciplines for her bachelors in fine arts. Photography was also a strong focus, and she studied ceramics and jewelry metalsmithing. One highlight of her undergraduate studies was when she spent 10 days studying abroad in Rome and Florence, Italy.
When it comes to painting, she has a strategy to develop ideas. “I work pretty well from reference material. When I was in school, I almost felt like I was a printer, like I could copy the reference one to one. But I didn’t feel like I was adding anything more until I really started to manipulate the paint and play with brush strokes and manipulate color and push it and exaggerate it. Now I work from multiple references and try to not to work from just one. I want to transcend the reference.”
For part of her degree program, her solo painting and photography exhibition, titled “Flesh,” filled the CWU gallery space. The exhibit presented a perspective on the nude form, absent of other contexts, focusing only on large scale familiar parts. The goal of the works is to free viewers of preconceived ideas and see the nude form through a new lens. For example, “Digits,” a 24 x 48-inch oil painting on canvas captures a close up of the inner folds of fingers. Hall’s “Breaking the Binary,” an oil painting of a clenched fist, originates from a photograph she took, and it won the 2018 Dick Elliot Fine Art Award.
“It’s interesting to me to see things from a distance, and I’ve always been quite focused on looking closely at details. That’s been a theme throughout my work regardless of the subject matter.” The up-close focus can also be seen in her nature illustrations of moths, insects and frogs.
Rochester, Washington Artist Comes Home
After attending college, studying in Italy and living in Seattle, Hall has returned to Rochester, continuing to work on her art.
She is part of the southern Thurston County art community, attending the Tenino Arts Creative Market. “The Tenino creative district has really been thriving over the past few years, and I’m excited to be part of that and to watch it grow. I actually grew up, born and raised in Rochester,” Hall says. “Honestly this southern Thurston County area has always been a huge inspiration in my work even while I’ve been in Seattle. I’m coming back to the nostalgia and nature of it. There isn’t much light pollution here, so I can actually see the stars.”
She also keeps a schedule of live-streaming on Twitch, a site popular with gamers but growing with artists. With lights and cameras set up, she clocks in for demonstrating art techniques to over 5,000 followers. Viewers converse and ask questions in real time, and Hall skillfully juggles producing a live piece of art while engaging in the ongoing conversations. “There is something amazing about Twitch in that you start to build a community whether it is intentional or not,” Hall says. “It’s really special to have your community watch you grow. It initially started as a way to hold myself accountable. It was my way to clock into the studio, to ensure that I would be there and that I’d have time carved out of my schedule.”
Teaching Tenino High School Students the Love of Art
Filling a long-term substitute position at Tenino High School, Hall is thrilled to be teaching directly in the classroom with students ranging from freshman to seniors.
Inspiring the next generation of artists through 21st century technology and encouraging them in the classroom and with her blog, is what Hall is about. The sky’s the limit when it comes to art, that’s what she wants her students to take away from class.
Her art can be seen on the Trisha Hall website and most recently in the Parklane Gallery event “Winter Show of Small Works and Miniatures” in Kirkland, where her watercolor, “Fairy Ring,” is part of small works exhibition. You can also find Trisha Hall on her Twitch channel, Instagram, Facebook page, TikTok, and YouTube.