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 (tammy@tammykaufman.com 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!

2 comments:

  1. Yes, I would still paint, but it is true that all art requires an audience.
    I love seeing your work and am happy to be part of your audience. <3

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jessica! I'm thrilled to be part of your audience as well. <3

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