Getting to know John Torina

Who is, or has been, the biggest influence on your art?
I think those great souls that have faced the beauty, danger and mystery of nature head-on. Whether they are scientist or painters the path is tough but rewarding. The painters that have led the way for me are George Inness, Turner, Constable, Homer and lots more. They, through direct observation, have been gifted to see the reality beyond.

Which of your works is your personal favorite and why?
Mmmm as of late I did a small work that spoke to my future in painting. It was like looking back in  time and seeing the simple way farming has been done for many many years.The mountainsides of Costa Rica are so steep that tractors and such will not work. The crops are so beautiful as they  rise and hug the contour of the terrain. Another very large work that I did in Minnesota was quite a experience and challenge. It was on my friends land near Zumbro Falls. I painted it from life which was very unusual for a 6'x8' canvas.  

Of all your travels, which city or place inspires you the most? Why?
Hard question. I've lived and worked in twenty or so countries for the last 40 yrs. Portugal I found to be so beautiful and hope to return there in the near future. Of all the countries that I've been to, Costa Rica has kept me coming back. I've painted in many special spots and now with Carmen my wife, who knows the area like the back of her hand, I have been totally inspired and very productive exploring all the different eco systems.

What is your creative process like?
My process is time tested, passed down by many artist. After a gestation period, I stand before nature, lay out my equipment and begin to observe the track the sun, record a solid composition, study and record the values and the color planes. If I can capture the essence the details are often provided by the viewers mind.

What is something quirky or unexpected about you that most people don’t know?
Now that I'm in Costa Rica I have given up driving. My poor wife is like Mario Andretti and can handle this wild place. I do drive on the highways in the states which she finds boring. Together we make our way!

How has your practiced changed over time?
Actually, I have been able over the last year to show and explore my free form studio painting and also produce a colouring book called ''Legends and Traditions'' which is now on Amazon. It has 33 pages and takes the viewer on a trip around the world and back in time celebrating the artistic heritage and customs of the world.

What is life like living in Costa Rica?
Living here is very dream-like for me even though I've been here a solid two years now. The different seasons, earthquakes, the scent of nature and rich colors all keep me very amazed. The people are very kind, and the family values and faith are very similar to the Italian neighbourhood I grew up in.
I am very content and happy with my family life.