Cambrian: Opinion

Plane ride gives Tinglof perspective on her artwork

Los Osos artist Glynis C. Tinglof at work in her studio.
Los Osos artist Glynis C. Tinglof at work in her studio.

Sometimes it takes a ride in a plane to get one’s perspective. It helps if your dad is flying it. That happened to Glynis C. Tinglof, a successful painter living in Los Osos. Many years ago, she was under pressure to produce paintings for an exhibit in Menlo Park and felt stuck and under pressure. She tried to back out but couldn’t. Then she happened upon an aerial photograph. The photo triggered a strong memory of seeing Earth from her father’s plane, and her artistic brain began the translation into a gentle, cerebral context of images. As a result, she produced 13 paintings in less than two months for the exhibit and found a niche in which she continues to excel.

During a studio visit, I observed her at work. I commented on Glynis’ surprising choice of palette and design and asked whether there was a musical influence or reference that infused her technique (as opposed to the usual “who is your influence?” interrogation). My reason for asking is that she often starts with layers of translucent inks to create a dramatic “map” before layering with acrylic and oil paint. There is an underlying poetry and subtle musicality in the overall design that reads as visual melody.

After a pause, Glynis responded that in addition to flying, her father, Frank, sang barbershop and her mother, Nonie, played the accordion. While that’s probably enough colorful history for any artist and could easily warp one’s creativity to take a Fellini-esque turn, in Glynis’ case she chose to create order from chaos. The extreme attention to detail is evident in her workspace with notes taped to the wall, paintings carefully wrapped and stacked, separated by series and size. Even her supplies are organized.

It’s no wonder that she is determined to burnish her reputation as a professional artist and make her late father proud. Glynis has studiously developed a nearly relentlessly controlled technique, but without linear judgment. Her paintings are replete with information and infused with subtle notations and poetically stylized flourishes.

While traveling throughout the U.S., Europe, Mexico, Canada, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, Glynis says she “loved looking out of the airplane window at the earth below and observing how other cultures inhabit, cultivate and develop the land.” Her observations are incorporated into her transliterations on canvas and board. It is not surprising given the cerebral and observant nature of her work that she also earned a degree in psychology from Cal Poly.

Glynis’ studious determination has paid off, with several notable gallery exhibitions and now the cover of the 2017 Festival Mozaic program and poster. In her painting “Metamorphosen” she allows the viewer to become immersed in the “oblique references and multiple layers of meaning and connotation” that meant so much to Richard Strauss, his composition and fascination with Goethe. Glynis has successfully translated what we hear in the piece of music into a visual statement.

A poet friend introduced Glynis to the works of internationally acclaimed collage artist William Dole, who had a unique visual vocabulary. The points of reference are obvious, but clearly digressive.

What I’m drawn to most in Glynis’ work is the delicacy of the imperfect line that delineates the structured composition. Those small matters humanize the form. In her “Terra Incognita” series, the negative space invites contemplation to observe the visual poetry.

Comparisons to Diebenkorn are inevitable (and one of my favorite references), but these works are not derivative. Rather, they serve as a gesture of honor to modern masters and a springboard for new concepts and ideas, literally challenging our precepts and perspectives. There is nothing puzzling about these works, nor literal. In her thoughtful, delightful, cerebral methodology, Glynis offers us a view of music, poetry and the land around us translated by her attentive and masterful execution.

Patrick Dennis’ column appears the second Thursday of each month and is special to The Cambrian. Find him online at

July art calendar

“Hidden Gems — Selections from the Permanent Collection.” This exhibition offers a glimpse of the California Central Coast’s visual history and unique identity. Curator Ruta Saliklis selected original paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and ceramics for display in Hidden Gems. July 7-Aug. 27, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, 1010 Broad St., San Luis Obispo. 805-543-8562.

“On and Off The Wall.” This juried event is a collective of intriguing paintings and sculptures, featuring some of the finest artworks on the Central Coast. July 15-30, Art Center Morro Bay, 835 Main St., Morro Bay. 805-772-2504.

Vibrant paintings by long time local artists Holly McCain and Carolyn Pye explore the landscape and idiosyncrasies of the Central Coast. July 2-30, Allied Arts Association, 1350 Main St., Cambria. 805-927-8190.

Festival Mozaic. The MOZ is for MOZART…Festival Mozaic features the rich legacy of the enduring universality, creativity and spirit of one of the greatest musicians the world has known. Impeccable and spirited performances by the Festival’s guest artists and musicians, all masters of the classical style, bring Mozart’s timeless masterworks to life. Festival Mozaic events take place in various venues throughout San Luis Obispo County, California, ranging from private homes and orchards to churches and state-of-the-art concert halls. A list of venues and directions is available at July 19-30.