Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sharing My Voice

It was an absolute thrill to have the editor of 27587 Magazine contact me and ask for an interview late last year. I was honored to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on art and the experiences - both positive and negative - that shaped my choices of medium and subject matter, the deep emotional response our beautiful natural world inspires in me, the role endurance mountain biking played in my becoming an artist at all, and my dedicated and steadfast policy of donating all profits from the sales of all my works to nonprofit environmental and animal rescue charities. The interview article is featured in the Winter 2018 issue, and I hope it provides a little insight into the artist I am currently, what inspires and moves me to paint, the joy I feel sharing the work of my heart with all of you, and the artist I hope to more fully become.

27587 Magazine is a fabulous glossy publication focused on Wake Forest and the surrounding area, and is available at a variety of locations locally. But for those not in the Wake Forest area, I'm delighted to share that the issue containing the article about my work is now available online. Thank you to the editor/writer and photographer from 27587 Magazine for this opportunity to share my vision and my voice.

I encourage you to visit the website for this wonderful magazine, as there are many interesting and worthwhile articles contained therein, but I've also attached a scan of my interview.

Note: For easier reading, you can click on each page individually and then use the magnifying glass icon to enlarge. :-)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Seeing and Being Seen

I only had to think about the question for a few seconds before I was able to answer "Yes, even if I knew my paintings would never be seen by anyone, I would still continue to paint". The desire to capture on paper all those wondrous emotions evoked in me by our natural world is overwhelming, stemming from being able to spend so much time out in nature, from learning to ride horses before I could walk to then later in life my years as an endurance mountain biker competing in 24-hour events. As an endurance cyclist in particular, having that opportunity to witness the intricacies of our landscape throughout all hours of the day and night gave me an unparalleled opportunity to commune with Nature and see her in every light, shadow and season. And even though my competitive cycling days are now behind me, I am forever grateful to still feel that connection with the natural world.

© Tammy Kaufman - "Illumination of Solitude"
All that being said, in getting back to the question at hand - would you continue to paint even if you knew your works would never be seen by anyone? - despite my "yes" answer, the fact remains that as an artist I'm not too bashful to admit I do want my paintings to be seen. Although my works are created from my own heart and my own response to the natural world, I still believe art should be shared, and based on how many artworks I see on social media from other artists, I'm not alone in that! I'm fortunate to be the studio artist in the Studio B Gallery at Ollie's Cafe & Gifts in Wake Forest where a very large selection of my works will be available and on display all year for 2018. However, as a (perhaps excessively) prolific painter who admittedly can be a little obsessive about painting almost every day, despite that studio currently being home to over a hundred of my works, I still have literally dozens upon dozens of paintings at home waiting for their chance to be seen!

I honestly did not realize just how many works I had until I decided to organize them recently. The dozens of larger and odd-sized smaller ones I put in clear photo bags in a print rack with the overflow in a large box underneath (yes, there are that many!), but that still left over a hundred more in standard 8 x 10 and 9 x 12 sizes that ended up going into portfolio style notebooks. It may sound egotistical, but I almost felt sad putting them into storage; I believe it's more because I don't want the magic I felt recreating those scenes in pastel to be hidden forever just yet. So I made myself a promise to at least periodically flip through those books, boxes and racks myself as a personal reminder of the earth's beauty that so moved me to paint it.

I will be periodically changing out my works at Ollie's, but painting as often as I do - nearly every day - means I will always have more works than I have space to show them and not all will have the opportunity to be framed and displayed, not to mention the fact I simply cannot afford to do that for all of them as there are just so many. Some of these may at some point in the future be recycled. I've already discarded hundreds of old works as I have limited storage space. However, I do like to keep newer ones around for a bit before making any permanent decisions on recycling. In the meantime, I'd like to invite anyone who is interested in browsing through these unframed stored works to contact me ( or 919.215.5241) if you'd like to see them in person. My apologies if this all sounds braggadocious, but some of these works I feel successfully captured the emotion of a place yet space and cost limitations mean I have to curate much like a juror at a show what I can realistically frame and display at the gallery, even though I still would be honored to have others see them.

So what about you? Would you still paint even if you knew your works would never be seen? Do you feel art is meant to be shared, even works that are perhaps only personally meaningful to you - and are you sure those wouldn't be meaningful to someone else as well? Do you have works you'd like others to see but you have to store them away rather than display them for whatever reason? If so, do you at least look at them from time to time or have you thought of ways to get them seen? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts, and would love to have you leave a comment!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Discovery Through Repetition

"Satisfaction lies in mindful repetition, the discovery of endless richness in subtle variations on familiar themes."
~ George B. Leonard ~

Working in a series offers me an express route to become intimately acquainted with a particular subject better than any other method I know. By painting the same thing multiple times, using varied surfaces, palettes, sizes, viewpoints and even different media, I find that I while I do develop a bit of muscle memory for the subject, I also learn nuances of it that I might not otherwise discover. Over the past year I've been working on a variety of series and with each one, I feel that not only am I becoming more comfortable with each subject, but it's also nice to have cohesive bodies of work with a unified theme.

My most recent series, "It's A Dog's Life", focuses on our dog, Frylie. These paintings feature him in his favorite surroundings, playing outdoors enjoying nature and living life to the fullest. Fry reminds me to cherish each moment and really live, not just exist. So I wanted to try and capture his spontaneity and enthusiasm, as well as the joy his companionship brings.

© Tammy Kaufman - "It's A Dog's Life"
Click Image to Enlarge
Another related series is "You Gotta Have Soul", which focuses on close-up portraits of Fry along with our cat, Venus, in addition to our previous dog, Spyder, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge back in 2010. There is so much expression and personality in their faces, and this series focuses on the intrinsic uniqueness of their individual postures and expressions as opposed to standard typical portrait poses.

© Tammy Kaufman - "You Gotta Have Soul"
Click Image to Enlarge
The beauty of the natural world never fails to captivate me, and visiting the waterfalls of Hanging Rock State Park and painting on location there awakened a deep part of my artistic soul. So doing a series on the incredible life force of waterfalls, "Moving Waters", was inevitable. Interestingly enough, after seeing the impressive falls at the park, I began to notice the smaller, but equally impressive in their own way, little waterfalls in the creeks and streams here in the Triangle as well. Mother Nature's wonders truly do never cease for me.

© Tammy Kaufman - "Moving Waters"
Click Image to Enlarge
And finally, the initial series that started this whole thing for me is "Of Life and Death", a series I've written about previously which centers on vultures but places them among wildflowers and lush plant growth. In this series, I want to show that death (the vultures, who devour death by consuming the remains of carcasses) and life (the wildflowers and lush plants) are essentially just two sides of the same coin.

© Tammy Kaufman - "Of Life and Death"
Click Image to Enlarge
All these series are continuing works in progress as I'm certain to be adding more to each of them as time goes by. I feel there is much to learn from periodically focusing on a theme or particular subject, even if the series paintings themselves are interspersed between other works and not all painted in a single stretch. In fact, I find it even more beneficial to me to come back to a series after working on something else for a while. I often discover that having several series in progress is a wonderful method for grounding myself and offering inspiration when the dreaded artist's slump makes an appearance.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Video courtesy of Steve, this is my little inspiration, Frylie, enjoying the first snow of 2017. :-)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Art @ The Clayton Center - December 2016

My interview at Clayton Visual Arts begins at approximately 5:23 into the video. :-)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Clayton Visual Arts December 2016

A brief excerpt from the "Ask The Artist" portion of the opening reception at Clayton Visual Arts.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Happy International Vulture Awareness Day!

In honor and celebration of these incredibly important and magnificent animals, Happy International Vulture Awareness Day!

© 2016 Tammy Kaufman