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"
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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"
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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"
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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.