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Meet Tina Brunetti

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Brunetti.

Hi Tina, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Since I was a young child, I dabbled in art. Like most children, I used to color in coloring books. I can remember going to boring catholic church services on Sundays and couldn’t wait to go downstairs for Sunday school because we always had coloring books.

They were mostly about the life of Jesus. ( I didn’t enjoy church services because I was hearing impaired and the priest spoke in Latin… a double whammy for me.) My mom saw a special talent in me and bought more coloring books and I literally colored outside the lines. Lol! Then she introduced me to caricature drawings of animals. I must have at least 5 instruction books.

I learned to paint in oil in high school and I won local and regional ribbons. I took art classes in college. I remember being a stubborn 18-year-old and disagreed with my instructor on a project. The project was to paint “what we feel.” So I painted a real cool abstract painting. My instructor came over and literally took the paintbrush out of my hand and painted a couple of strokes on my canvas and said… you needed to do this! I didn’t like it and I grab my brush back from him and said.

You told us to paint what we feel and this is how I feel! He gave me a dirty look! Of course, I only got a B in that class. It was also the first painting I sold! Lol. My dream was to become a professional artist but I listened to negative reasonings not to pursue an art career… it wasn’t a 9 to 5 kind of job, so they say. I became a dental assistant. During my spare time, I developed a spiritual interest in Native Americans and drew many portraits of their stunning features.

I was always asked to help with creative projects for my daughter’s schools…by painting large props for musicals and plays. The biggest canvas that I ever painted was a 10×20 canvas of the NYC skyline for Guys and Dolls musical. I was quite proud of that. However, my heart hurt because I desperately wanted to be a professional artist. I divorced my first husband after twenty-five years of marriage and moved away to be closer to my daughter in Knoxville, TN when she was attending UT.

I bought painting supplies and painted my heart away after I would come home from work. I found my freedom to express my feelings through art. I visited galleries and showed my pieces. Then I met David. He saw my art and told me that I need to do something with my art. I learned Vocational Rehabilitation helped “handicapped” people to pursue their business dreams.

I had to come up with a business plan. David, who is my husband, helped me write a business plan. I was awarded $11,000 to buy supplies needed for art shows. I bought a heavy-duty tent, printer, many large canvases, paint, etc. I entered local art shows and became successful. Fast forward to 2014, I had a shop locally and sold prints and dresses from my artwork.

I also taught classes. The turning point was that I was introduced to alcohol ink in a class taught at Oak Ridge art center. I signed up to learn how to paint water in acrylic ( I was intimidated by learning how to make lifelike water with acrylic). In my class, I saw two women painting with alcohol ink on large yupo paper. I was blown away! I told my instructor that I want to learn alcohol ink. He said… ok… what do you want to paint? I said… a wolf.

His eyes grew big and said… have you ever painted with alcohol ink? I said… I dabbled on tiles. He laughed and said…and you want to paint a wolf? I said, “Well, I paint animals, so why not?” So I painted a wolf during the next class and he told me that I was on my own and that I didn’t need any further instructions from him. Lol! So I was hooked and never looked back!

I painted on yupo paper. One day David brought home a piece of aluminum metal and asked me to try painting on metal. And I have hooked again! Then steel, copper, brass, bronze, and even titanium…I paint on all types of metal and I also manipulate metal by grinding, dremeling, and patinating them.

I decided to close up my shop and attend more art shows and festivals and my customer base grew. My favorite subjects are animals, Native Americans, mountains, and trees.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It wasn’t a very smooth road because I didn’t get the support I needed prior to my divorce. My life dramatically changed after the divorce.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My intense love and respect for animals and nature drive me to paint. My goal is to communicate to the world the importance of ecological balance between humans and Mother Earth through my artwork.

I create vivid colorful translucent alcohol ink paintings through the application of alcohol ink to aluminum, steel, copper, and brass sheets. Prior to applying the alcohol ink, the texture is added to a metal with grinding tools, or a torch is applied to the copper to produce vibrant intricate colors or an “aged” blue-green patina is created by chemically treating the copper with salt and ammonia.

These unique processes create stunning colors and patterns that result in multi-patterned light refractions. The transparency of the alcohol ink lets the patterns on the treated metal shine through. The layering of pigments and use of Dremel tools to add fine details produces a three-dimensional effect that makes my landscape, animal, and Native American paintings come to life.

I am unique in the sense that I paint subjects with alcoholic ink and I use metal as my canvas. Most alcohol ink artists paint abstracts on yupo paper. I am most proud of being known for being an animal artist who is trying to bring awareness to the importance of their survival. My artist statement is:

While painting my animals, especially protected or endangered species, I am in a zone. I feel like I have been given the mission to remind people of their importance to the earth and the environment. They need to be respected, they need to be safe, they need to be loved, and they need to be alive.


  • Large $3000 to $5000
  • Medium $500 to$1000
  • Small $95 to $200

Contact Info:

Image Credits
David Watson

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  1. Coby

    June 30, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    Wow! What a great article, Tina! Great photography, Dave!
    Very impressive!

  2. Wanda Starbeck (Star Quilting)

    July 1, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    I knew Tina before she was famous. I worked with her in Bourbon Mo. for several years. She was then and continues to be a wonderful person. You deserve this recognition. God bless! Wanda Starbeck (former boss)

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