Thomas Tunney’s paintings look almost like photographs. The details and scenes are lifelike, though they are embellished versions of real-life scenes.
Featuring nature scenes with his wife or daughter in focus, the real estate agent paints for enjoyment but wants to someday make his hobby into a full-time gig.
For the first time, Tunney put his art out there for the world to see, in Park West’s Annual MI Great Artist Competition.
“I have been painting for 30 years, but it’s just been something I’ve done in my spare time,” says Tunney, of Commerce Township. “I’ve always had family and friends who come over to my studio section and tell me I should be in competition. This competition came along, so I entered.”
This is the sixth year of Park West’s competition, which attracted 230 entries.
The public voted for the top 20, then the top five and first-place artists were narrowed down by a panel of top judges from Metro Detroit, including Park West founder Albert Scaglione and members of the DIA and Oakland County art groups.
For Tunney, winning first place was exciting and motivating.
“I was elated to be recognized for something I’ve been doing so long,” Tunney says. “I thank God for that. It boosts your confidence. Makes you feel like you want to spend more time on art. To have other people enjoy what you do like you enjoy it is very gratifying.”
Tunney uses oils because of the vivid colors they yield and the ability to include reflection through glazing to achieve the look he’s going for. He enjoys their realistic aspect, and the stained glass look he is able to achieve with his colors.
He has enjoyed painting since he was a child, always working to re-create things he’s seen.
He usually creates his current paintings and sculptures based on photographs he takes, though most of the time he adds new details. He invests a lot of time into each painting, and really enjoys the process.
Having positive feedback from winning the contest and hearing thoughts from others throughout his life have kept him painting and creating.
“I’ve always had an idea that I was gifted and God blessed me with some creative ability,” Tunney says. “When you’re appreciated for something and enjoy it, you do it more often. I love doing art and painting especially.”