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Tennis, Art, Travel and Earthing with Artist Sunshine Torczon

You know when you meet someone and his or her energy is so positive you can actually feel it? Something about them makes you think, “This person is special.” Sunshine Torczon is one such person. Born and raised in southern California, her commitment to a healthy lifestyle is innate, and her name- so fitting. After graduating from University of Southern California, she relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona where she currently lives with her husband and three children. She’s a brilliant abstract artist, a tennis player, food lover, and world traveler.

I met Sunshine on the tennis court at the DC Ranch Village Health Club in north Scottsdale. We ended up on the same team and have become close friends. I sat down with her to talk about tennis, her art, and creating balance. LET'S TALK TENNIS

Q: When did you start playing tennis, and how does it fit into your busy schedule? Do you have any tennis goals going into the New Year? Tennis really showed me how driven and competitive I am, and that I’m a philomath. * I started playing 10 years ago, when my youngest child would go to preschool a few days a week. I immediately got the tennis bug and fell in love with the sport. I’m a very competitive person, so I kept playing and trying to improve. Tennis is my fun fitness and social time rolled into one. It's easy to get sucked into playing a lot, but I work hard to balance tennis with my responsibilities. Although I play singles and doubles and enjoy them both, my goal for this year is to play more singles. I know that playing singles really helps my serve and my court awareness. *A philomath is a lover of learning and studying (I had to look it up). Q: You’re incredibly disciplined when it comes to your health, how do you fuel your body for tennis and what’s your go-to match snack? I believe energy for tennis starts days before a match. I drink a lot of water and try to stay hydrated. I add sugar-free electrolytes into my water bottle; I don’t drink soft drinks and rarely drink carbonated beverages. I typically fast until lunch, and will eat fruit and nuts or eggs and avocado to break my fast. My go-to snack in my tennis bag is almonds, lightly salted. Q: You’re one of my most stylish friends, how do you bring your style into tennis? What are your favorite tennis clothing brands? Thank you. I think you are very fashionable on the courts a well. I really like Lucky in Love and Stella McCartney, or anything that speaks to me. I like to look a little different and choose items that are not the norm.

Q: Who is your favorite WTA player? Simona Halep is one of my favorites. I also really like Victoria Azarenka. I like seeing women with children continue with their careers in tennis. Q: Who is your favorite ATP player? I love watching Roger and Rafa, but I’ve been watching Reilly Opelka and hope he continues to improve. LET’S TALK ART Q: Are you a professionally trained artist I’m not, but I’ve always loved painting and sculpting. I was able to take a few art classes in college, and some classes here and there through the years. Exposing myself to different types of art has helped me figure out the type of art I love to create. My passion lies in painting, specifically abstract painting. Q: This may be like asking you to name your favorite child, but do you have a favorite piece of art you’ve painted? I really enjoy creating a small sample piece and then paining it on a large scale and loving it even more. I experienced this last fall when I finished a commission piece.

Q: You’ve mentioned being inspired by other artist, who are your favorite artists? What are some of your favorite art museums? What else do you draw inspiration from?

I get inspiration from being outdoors. I was recently in Utah over New Year’s Eve, and while snowshoeing in the trees, I stopped to looked up and it was mesmerizing. Every little branch was coated and outlined in snow. It was a spectacular thing to see. I can’t wait to communicate this in some of my paintings. My favorite museums are ones that feature my favorite artists: The Tate Modern in London, with Gerhard Richter; The Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam; and the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, with Claude Monet.


Q: What is your favorite travel destination?

Oh wow, to name one is too hard! I would say I love anyplace that has a rich, and deep history. For example, this year I visited Charleston, South Carolina for the first time. Charleston is a charming town with so much history about our country. It’s also a great tennis destination.

This past fall I had an opportunity to visit Greece. The country is so beautiful and the people are very welcoming. I enjoyed learning about the Athenians and how the county originated. I was told that Stefanos Tsitsipas trained on some of the courts we drove by in Santorini, which was pretty cool. I knew the landscapes would be inspiring, so I packed my watercolors and a small accordion sketchbook where I was able to sketch and paint beautiful sceneries.

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Definitely the Amalfi Coast. One of my hobbies is cooking, and I religiously watch Giada de Laurentiis on her Italy cooking show. She films in Positano. The scenery is gorgeous and the food looks divine. It’s definitely at the top of my travel wish list.

Q: Speaking of cooking, you seem to have a vast knowledge of French and Italian cuisine. You hosted a dinner party last year and we made fresh pasta with imported white truffles. It was such a fun night! What are some of the best meals you’ve had in France and what do you enjoy cooking at home?

I love to eat delicious food, and I love to cook. Our dinner party was such a fun evening! Cooking can be so fun when everyone is working together, enjoying the experience. One of the best meals I had was in Epernay, France at La Grilled Gourmande. The chef overhead me mention how much I love foie gras, but it's hard to find in the states. He prepared it for me two ways. It was the best!

Q: You’re really good at creating balance. How do you prioritize painting, tennis, kids, rest, etc.?

Thank you. I think learning how to say “NO” is the answer for balance.

My priorities are: myself, my family, painting then tennis. I learned long ago that I must take care of myself if I want to take care of my family. I want to be present with them and engaged. Painting is very therapeutic for me. I need big chunks of time to be in my own head. Painting is where I’m able to merge my desire for perfection and order with the chaos that ebbs and flows in my life. With 3 children in school and sports, there is so much chaos. Tennis is my social time, my fun exercise, my competitive spirit comes out, and time to be outside in our gorgeous Arizona weather. Tennis checks a lot of boxes on the list for my mental and physical health.

Q: Mental health has been a hot topic in tennis lately. You mentioned, “earthing” to me one day and I had never heard of it before. Can you explain what earthing is, and how it has helped you improve your overall health?

Earthing is releasing the positive charge that builds up in our bodies. You get this release by directly connecting your body with the earth. I started by walking on the grass barefoot in my yard. Some days I don’t have time to walk on the grass, so I purchased some earthing mats to sit or stand on while I work. I know it sounds a little silly, but once you start and feel the difference, you’ll never want to stop. I recently traveled with earthing chair mats on a ski trip to Utah and slept on one. I know it made a huge difference. I skied for 6 days in a row and my husband for 7. Our legs would be so sore, but we would recover overnight on the earthing mats. I’ve read that inflammation is the root of all disease plaguing us. I think earthing helps reduce my inflammation and allows me to keep doing the sports I want to do, when I want to do them. I don’t need to wait for my body to catch up.

Q: Having practiced yoga next to you in class, I noticed you have a beautiful yoga practice? Tell me about your practice and how yoga fits into your life?

I began practicing yoga 14 years ago. I know it is a beneficial exercise for the body and great for the mind. As long as I have practiced, it is always challenging. If the class is slow, it’s mentally challenging. If the class is a flow, it’s physically challenging. Yoga is my self-induced physical therapy. We all have old injuries and pains in our body. Yoga is important for me to practice for my health. Yoga is part of my life, and I’m happy to practice any way I can. Whether it’s an online class from my phone, in a hotel room, or outside, it’s always beneficial.

Q: What do you like to do on your days off? Is there anything you plan to do more of in the New Year?

I love to read, watch movies, cook, bake, learn the romance languages, spend time in the sun, and have lunch with friends. I’m currently reading The Widow Clicquot, and I love it. The history of France, their wine, its people, are very intriguing to me. It makes me reminisce about the Champagne region I visited and builds my desire to see more of the country.

Find out more about Sunshine and her art at Sunshine splits her time between her homes in Scottsdale, Arizona and Park City, Utah.

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