By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
MELBOURNE -- Neil Armstrong once proclaimed, "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer."
While many may envision a similar picture when they think of an engineer, one former engineer has broken the mold with her creative vision.
Tricia Eisen, a Melbourne resident, once found solace in tinkering with technology; however, when Mrs. Eisen retired, she found a new passion in oil painting.
"I was an engineer for some time, then became a television production teacher for 14 years at Johnson Middle School," Mrs. Eisen said. "When I was teaching at Johnson, I had my students build CO2 cars, and I taught them how to draw the car from the top and to the side."
As part of the project, Mrs. Eisen also had her students use their two-dimensional drawings to carve out a three-dimensional model of their car.
Shortly after retiring, Mrs. Eisen refocused her creative energy in a new medium -- oil painting. Mrs. Eisen is a self-taught, highly talented artist, who began to take her love of painting seriously in April 2012.
"I was a very busy, focused mom, wife, engineer and teacher," Mrs. Eisen said when asked if she had always had a passion for art. "I only did about a dozen paintings between my teens and mid-20s, but started back up in retirement."
Mrs. Eisen's love of oil painting and her raw talent have earned her the distinguished title of Art and Antique Studio and Gallery's featured artist for the month of August. She said that she is thrilled to be a part of the Eau Gallie-based gallery.
"Art and Antique Studio and Gallery offers so much assistance and guidance," Mrs. Eisen added. "The entire art industry around town has been very helpful. It's been a great experience."
Before finding her niche in oil-painting, Mrs. Eisen experimented with other types of paint. In high school, Mrs. Eisen tried using watercolors, but they weren't for her. When she tried acrylics, she said she felt rushed.
"I don't like having to rush with my art," Mrs. Eisen said. "The oils give me time. I love the color and the buttery feel of the oils. Using them gives me a rush of excitement."
When asked what her favorite things to paint are, Mrs. Eisen said that she is still trying to find what that thing is.
"I do like painting. I just finished a frog," she said. "I love painting flowers, leaves and water. Water drops are my signature -- all of my paintings have a water drop in them."
More than anything, Mrs. Eisen said she simply enjoys painting all of "God's creations."
But with her passion still in its infancy, Mrs. Eisen has found herself going through her work with the fine-tooth comb of an engineer.
"I strive for realism. I haven't done a painting that I'm over-the-moon thrilled with because I still see flaws with it, but the oils give me inspiration," she added. "I also have a lot of artists in my family, so I think my talent runs in the family."
Mrs. Eisen's exhibit, titled "Her Beautiful Florida," will be on display throughout August at Art and Antique Studio and Gallery. The gallery will also host an open reception on Friday, Aug. 2 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the very talented Mrs. Eisen.
"I know it sounds corny, but I hope they get the same thrill that I did with each brush stroke as I created it," Mrs. Eisen said. "To me, it's just like Christmas. You get to open that package Christmas morning, but until then, you're just creating the package."
Tricia Eisen is Art and Antique Studio and Gallery's featured artist for August. The Eau Gallie-based studio will host an open reception on Friday, Aug. 2, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Mrs. Eisen will be available for a meet-and-greet during the reception.
Art and Antique Studio and Gallery is located at 1419 Highland Ave., Melbourne. For more information, call (321) 253-5553.