Tiefa  at Elena Gallegos 2010


About Tiefa

Cathleen Tiefa, C.S. Tiefa, or usually just "Tiefa" primarily paints en plein air, or "out in the open", using acrylic paint. Tiefa started developing her technique of acrylic paint outdoors more than 25 years ago when she made the decision to stop using oil paint due to the smell that permeated her small living quarters.The challenge of using acrylic paint, especially in dry New Mexico, is its extremely fast drying time. Tiefa has come to think of that challenge more as a blessing over the years.

Tiefa grew up in New Mexico and spent much of her childhood in the deserts and mountains of New Mexico, rock-hounding, hiking, camping, and eventually, painting the incredible beauty of the area.

Tiefa was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She studied with artist/professors such as John Wenger, Nick Abdalla, Betty Hahn, and Elen Feinberg, as well as, photographer and historian, Beaumont Newhall.

In graduate school, Tiefa explored intaglio printmaking and after completing graduate work at New Mexico State University, Tiefa was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for her large scale, modular printmaking installations in 1988. She then attended the University of Iowa to study printmaking and was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1990. Tiefa taught design, drawing, and painting at NMSU, University of Iowa, and University of Texas at El Paso.

In 1998, Tiefa returned to school to study digital media and multimedia and afterwards worked as a graphic designer and multimedia developer for several companies in the Albuquerque area.

In 2005, Tiefa began teaching at a local community college where she taught graphic design, Photoshop, and other digital media applications until recently retiring to pursue her art fulltime.