August 2022 Issue
About the Cover Artist — Tracy Verdugo
By Kelly Hunter
Tracy Verdugo is the perfect cover artist for this month’s #YearnToLearn issue. The Australian artist didn’t begin painting until she was 33, when she signed up for a local art class. Tracy continued her work as a Special Education teacher while developing her art and teaching it to neighborhood kids. She is a natural educator, telling us, “Playing teacher was my favorite game as a kid, and I just have this insatiable excitement to pass knowledge along when I’ve made a discovery!” Tracy taught those classes in the afternoon in her backyard shed for 12 years. She “watched so many of the kids grow in confidence by being given the chance to explore possibilities, discard right and wrong and embrace happy accidents!”
Eventually Tracy began to think bigger about her art and her classes, resigning from her full-time job and applying for a major art retreat in California in 2012. She ended up teaching all over the United States during a 12-week tour! Tracy credits the “large and vibrant community” she had on Facebook with helping her grow one opportunity into many. She repeated the tour the next year, adding some new destinations. That tour led to a book deal with a major arts and crafts publisher.
Tracy told us that her book, Paint Mojo, “was born in 2014, inspired by the tenets of my workshop. I had 18 wonderful contributors, and we wrote and included tutorials to illustrate embracing possibility, throwing out the rule book, letting go of fear, being open to curiosity and wonder, becoming friends with spontaneity and in general loosening up both in our art and our lives.” Isn’t this exciting? Aren’t you just dying to take one of Tracy’s workshops? You can!
Even if she’s not scheduled to teach in a town near you, you can still learn from her anywhere! Tracy told us, “I have 11 different online classes available on my website for all budgets and skill levels, and I fervently believe that each of us has creative gifts at our core; as more of us become brave enough to tap into them, to let go of comparison and own our unique stories and ways of making marks in this world, the more we will all contribute to a more compassionate, beauty-appreciating, healed world.”
Our cover art, “This Tranquil Moment Expands” grew out of Tracy’s intuitive process. It’s part of her “Wise Women” series, which “came through on its own a few years back. You could say it was accidental, as I was really just playing with inks and suddenly a vague face appeared and a native woman in a flowing robe came through. After this I was just so curious to see who else would come through each time I sat down to work on the series that it became a ritual and a fascination.”
Tracy’s unique and colorful work, along with her book and online classes
are available at www.tracyverdugo.com.
You can also check her out on Instagram (@tracyverdugo) and
Facebook (@tracy.verdugo and @TracyVerdugoArt).