By Deva Moore

Art enthusiasts understand the attraction of art is more than its visual beauty. Attraction to art goes much deeper than just the immediate view, it is the deeper message told with vibrant colors, magical subject, or the message shaped within the work. It is also the canvas chosen. Canvas, whether it be actual canvas, wood, metal or even paper. Yes, paper!!! But not ordinary paper…elegantly smoked paper on which Tim McMeans creates the most beautiful stories told yet.


Tim McMeans is a featured artist at Gallery 195 here in Boerne. Gallery 195 showcases some outstanding artists whose art is available for purchase in limited selections. Tim is an art teacher in the bustling nearby metropolis of San Antonio. He spends his days guiding and instructing students on the finer points of creating their own art. Tim earned his own art degree from the University of Texas in San Antonio where he has studied art history, drawing, printmaking, and painting. As a young child, Tim knew he was destined to pursue art as his life’s passion, next to his wife of course!

As a child Tim remembers drawing with his older brother mimicking his brother’s style and designs. His childhood drawings became a vision for his successful productive future as a renowned and talented artist. Tim took the usual path of acrylics, pen and ink drawings, and some photography. All quality stepping stones to his current unique art style of painting on smoked paper. Tim offers a work of art that takes his talent to another level. He wanted to find a different and unique type of art and he discovered smoked paper art. Tim uses some expressive tools including sanders, hammers, saws, glues and multiple layers of acrylic paint and his inks. Many acrylic inks are exceptional additions to Tim’s works and he manipulates them like a master to their best use. But Tim’s best tool is his creative mind and his ability to apply his thoughts and processes to art. He can find marks in the paper such as holes and certain designs that speak to his soul for specific animals or messages. Messages that he finds in certain words or phrases or even poetry that he then adds to complement the artwork.

Tim shared with this author that quality is important to him and his art. He produces a valuable work of art that will provide enjoyment for generations after its purchase. It is definitely worth a visit to one of the Galleries or even to Tim’s website and find one for your collection. Come see what happens when Tim McMeans “smokes” some paper and breaks some boundaries not laws.

Tim is in tune with nature and his subjects are immortalized in photographs first as he develops a personal connection with his art and subjects. Each artwork has a specific message and that message is embedded in the design. Sometimes Tim will include wording within the artwork to add to it’s meaning. Maybe a small phrase or group of words that have meaning to Tim and he feels is expressive in the painting. But it is a process for Tim as an artist that is not simple. Tim creates his own canvas by preparing the heavy paper with a light to heavy smoke background. This process is called fumage and has been used by many artists in their work. It is believed that fumage is a surrealist art technique popularized by Wolfgang Paalen. Wolfgang first exhibited this form of art in 1936 and it was immediately embraced by many other artists including Salvatore Dali who referred to the art process as sfumato.

Tim finds his form of fumage as a process that enhances his art work and creates the illusions and stories that the audience interprets for themselves. Tim creates the canvas from torn or cut pieces of smoked paper and he then employs the use of a high quality archival glue to adhere the heavy weight paper together and to the tiles that he has prepared from wood or metal to create the background he desires telling a back story of his own. The smoked paper seems to fit together almost like a magical jigsaw puzzle. The smoked paper has swirls, shading, and shapes embedded to enhance the final artwork. Tim explained that he has several different woods and he likes the images that each one provides. Some woods’ smoke designs are darker than others and some create lighter tones. Tim draws animals on the smoked paper from his photographs of the animals he has captured on film. When he is creating his works of art Tim finds a splash of color sometimes is just the bold addition to bring a certain level of depth to his creation. Tim creates or finds his personal connection to each animal he photographs. Each one has a meaning or story. He then protects the surface with a high gloss varnish to seal it for perpetuity. Tim’s artwork ranges in all sizes offering a piece for all spaces. Tim’s abstracts virtually float off of the canvas bringing a real life value to his work. One does not feel as if they are seeing a one dimensional work of art but a three-dimensional work that reaches out with its symbolism and meaning and touches the viewer’s soul.

Tim’s art takes many hours and days and many projects take months to complete. He does not specifically offer commissioned work but he can listen to an art lover’s desire and direct them to one of his works that fits the description. Tim does not have a public studio at this time but one is in the goals in the future as his free time is very limited at this time; yet Tim is successfully showcased in any of the galleries listed in this article. Tim enjoys his personal studio time and relishes his approach to his art. He enjoys setting the tone with mellow tunes and does not employ anything loud and distracting but the more musical renderings of John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, and even Guy Clark.

Tim has an ”affinity for animals”. Tim says that his art is “a personal narrative told through the gestures and arrangements of animals and birds…because in some way they have enriched my life”. Tim feels that animals have shared importance his life and he takes great care to give honor and represent each animal in spirit and beauty. Tim is always searching for the deeper meaning and understanding of his memories, experiences, and the natural world sharing in his work so that others may find deeper understanding in their own life through his work.

Tim’s art has enlightened the public for over 20 years and he has enjoyed appearing in more than 35 group shows and in excess of 15 solo shows in multiple states across the United States. Tim has been the recipient of many awards through the years and these awards are consistently amazing top awards in shows and exhibitions. One simply must view his website or visit Gallery 195 in Boerne to absorb his art and messages. Tim is a sought after artist and has been and is currently showcased as an artist in Felder Gallery in San Antonio, Assemblage Contemporary Gallery in Buda, The Copper Fox Gallery in Tennessee, The Good Art Company in Fredericksburg, Horizon Fine Art Gallery in Wyoming and of course the Gallery 195 in Boerne. He can also be reached at 210-260-5995. Tim does not use rolling papers in his art but his art is definitely “smoking hot!”.