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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Local Painter Tim Stockton Finds Inspiration in Nature

Tim Stockton, upstate New York born but raised in California, has enjoyed many vocations so far in this lifetime. “I’ve been a zillion different things,” he affirms.  “I’ve been to law school and received my doctorate in 1991, spent time as a stock broker, and even owned and sold a scuba store.” Currently, he helps out at his wife’s private investigation firm when needed. Years ago, while teaching college part-time and working in the search and rescue field in South Lake Tahoe, Stockton discovered he had melanoma. Soon after doctors were able to successfully remove a tumor from his back, he moved back to San Diego to be closer to his kids and grandkids. Not long after his return, he was diagnosed with leukemia. After going through a couple of years of chemotherapy, Stockton bounced back with a headstrong will to stay healthy. “If you don’t push it, you don’t get your health back,” says this devoted health buff who maintains his health by exercising regularly, following a plant-based diet, and staying creative.

Stockton, a lifelong musician, shares that he has always enjoyed the arts in one way or another. While living in South Lake Tahoe, several art classes caught his eye and he decided to take them, just for fun. “I really enjoyed those classes and began to dabble a bit,” he recalls. “Once I moved back to San Diego, and with my wife’s encouragement, I really began to get into painting—it’s such an imaginative creative outlet.”

Now, he spends much of his time in his art studio, a big east-facing porch at the home he and his wife have been living in for the past four years. “Painting is very meditative to me,” says Stockton, who often gets lost in marathon painting sessions that he also considers mini-workouts. “I walk a lot, going back and forth as I paint, studying each canvas from every angle possible.”

Tim Stockton RiverHis style leans toward impressionism with influences from painters like Camille Pissaro and Renoir. Anyone who sees his work will detect that Stockton is fond of nature scenes. “I like the drama in nature so you’ll see a lot of hiking and backpacking scenes in my paintings,” he admits. Since Stockton spent most of his life living near a beach—swimming, bodysurfing or scuba diving—most of his paintings typically include bodies of water. “I especially love anything to do with the ocean, the drama of the surf, the waves, the beaches and the sunsets.” Although one painting he is particularly fond of uncharacteristically features only dry land. “I saw a beautiful photograph of a rock climber in Yosemite. I wondered if I could really capture the depth of the image. Apparently I did because many people say they get vertigo just from looking at it.” The painting now hangs at his favorite rock climbing gym, Solid Rock in San Diego. He even modeled the solo climber in the painting after one of his favorite instructors.

True to a creative artist’s form, Stockton’s painting style has been steadily evolving and he’s enjoying the ride.  “I recently went through a style change and that was due to many contributing factors,” he explains. “Initially, I used a lot of heavy paint. But because the paint took so long to dry, I couldn’t continue working at the pace I wanted to. Now I use boiled linseed oil as my medium, and that’s changed everything. The layers are thinner, so they dry quicker. Plus, the undercoat layers shine through more and that increases the depth dramatically.” Now, Stockton happily hops back and forth between three or four canvases at a time.  “I enjoy painting even more and usually end up completing two paintings per week,” he says.

When asked where the inspiration for paintings comes from, Stockton admits that most of his scenes come straight from his imagination. “I don’t usually have a photo or specific place in mind to draw from, I just let the paintings tell me where to go,” he says.

Tim Stockton can be reached at 619 715-4805 or by visiting He will be exhibiting his artwork at September’s Ray at Night event being held September 12. For more information visit