Monday, October 7, 2019

All Of Me

“...and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.”
~ Audre Lorde ~

I've been called a fool for sharing my weaker paintings online, and that a "real" artist would only share their very best works, hiding the bad or failed ones away, to not let viewers know about them at all. But somehow that feels wrong to me. I believe that having an online artist's presence means being willing to put myself out there, being vulnerable by sharing a most intimate part of myself - the art I create, all of it. 

"Splash the Glittering Faeries Dance"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
4.75" x 7" soft pastel on Pastelmat
Inspired by South Mountains State Park
 What would be more vulnerable than sharing a less-than-perfect creation from my own hand? To admit that I am flawed, imperfect, have weaknesses, especially in my own artwork? I paint a lot - nearly every day and frequently more than once a day - and by far most of them are definitely not my best works, not even close. In fact, I have many, MANY more failed paintings than those even close to resembling success. 

"Behind Her Turquoise Tears"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
6" x 4" soft pastel on Pastelmat
Inspired by Wake Forest Reservoir
And yet, I share them all online, even the stinkers. Why? Maybe it's the hope that someone will disagree with what I consider a failed work and see it as a success. But I think it's more a means of finding strength in my own vulnerability, or perhaps even the hope of helping another artist avoid my mistakes by seeing where I went wrong with a painting. 

"Beckoned to the Edge of Madness"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
5" x 7" soft pastel on Multimedia Artboard Pastel Artist Panel
Inspired by the southern portion of the Neuse River Trail
I know that I deeply respect and admire those few professional artists who do post their failed paintings because that helps me learn from them. So I'll continue posting my works - the good, the bad and the ugly - and I hope that will encourage you to share the entirety of yourself as an artist as well. The world needs all of what makes us artists, not just the parts we think are perfect.

"With Flushed Cheeks"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
6" x 4" soft pastel on Strathmore Pastel Paper
Inspired by our backyard, painted en plein air

Monday, July 22, 2019

Finding Meaning

"I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?"
~ Vincent van Gogh ~

As time passes and I find myself in the latter half of my time on this earth, I'm beginning to gain some insights into just what it is that makes life feel worthwhile and gives this existence meaning, especially as it relates to nature, art and their value to me personally. 

"Hidden Beauty"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
5" x 7" soft pastel on Pastelmat
Inspired by William B. Umstead State Park
While there is a certain joy in selling paintings, particularly to those who feel my artwork speaks to them on a deeper level than merely color or subject matter, I'm discovering that sales are no longer that important to me. Is it simply sour grapes because I haven't had a lot of success with sales as of late? Perhaps. But I'd like to believe it's more than that.

"Threshold of Patience"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
6" x 8" soft pastel on Pastel Premier
Inspired by Dunn Creek Greenway
On introspection, I find that increasingly what matters most to me is expressing my attachment to and respect for our parks, greenways, nature preserves and natural open spaces by painting my interpretations of these local treasures.

"Tiptoeing on the Edge of Summer"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
3.75" x 7" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix
Inspired by Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
I realized this most clearly after being invited to exhibit my works at some area nature parks and preserves. 

"When the Light Falls"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
7" x 5" soft pastel on UArt 600
Inspired by South Mountains State Park
There is virtually no chance of selling my paintings at these venues and yet the sense of fulfillment and purpose I experience when my artworks are on display in the very places that inspire them is something uniquely satisfying in a way that is unparalleled by any monetary success. 

"Fascination Falling"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
5" x 7" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix
Inspired by South Mountains State Park
Having my paintings sharing the same space as their natural world inspiration brings me a sense of arriving full circle, but no matter whether they are viewed in the parks themselves or merely online, if seeing my interpretations of these beautiful places inspires others to cherish, protect and support our parks and nature preserves, then that is more valuable to me than any amount of dollars in my pocket.

"Three Queens"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
4" x 4" acrylic on Da Vinci Pro Ultra Smooth Cradled Gesso Panel
Inspired by Eno River State Park

"My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature."
~ Claude Monet ~

Sunday, March 3, 2019

So Much More Than Everything

"When I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things"
~ Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers ~

"Pictures of You"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on UArt 500
*This painting is not available.*
It's mind-boggling to me how much joy and love my dog, Frylie, and photographer husband, Steven, bring to my life. We share walks along the wooded lake trails, snapping photograph after photograph of the beauty all around us.

"Trick or Trail"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
10" x 8" soft pastel on Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card
*This painting is not available.*
We immerse ourselves in the colors of the forest on mountain bike rides while Frylie joyously runs alongside.

"Dog Paddling"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix
*This painting is not available.*
We follow the twists and turns of the river in kayaks, enveloped in the glittering sunlight bouncing off the water.

"The Meaning of Life"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth
*This painting is not available.*
Sometimes we just take a few moments to sit on the riverbank, meditating on the meaning of life.

"Through My Lens - Self Portrait"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card
*This painting is not available.*
Other times we simply contemplate our place in the universe.

"Stop and Smell the Flowers"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix
*This painting is not available.*
Through it all, though, we make sure to always take time to stop and smell the flowers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

All That And More


“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”
~ Gilda Radner ~

"You Swam Right Into My Heart"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth
*This painting is not available.*
My dog is truly my heart. He brings sparkle to my life.

"Aiming For My Heart"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
12" x 9" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth
*This painting is not available.*
He makes me laugh out loud. He exhausts me.

"King of Hearts"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth
*This painting is not available.*
He brings an ear-to-ear smile to my face. He makes me happy.

"Remember When We Were Young"
© 2018 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on UArt 500
*This painting is not available.*
He keeps me active and exercising outdoors.


"An Adventurous Heart"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth
*This painting is not available.*
He makes me want to be a better person.

"Arrival"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
6" x 8" soft pastel on Pastel Premier
*This painting is not available.*
He gives me a sense of purpose. He comforts me by snuggling next to me when I'm sad.

"Creekhound"
© 2018 Tammy Kaufman
6.25" x 9.5" soft pastel on Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card
*This painting is not available.*
He annoys me by barking every time a leaf blows by the window. He cheers me up when I'm feeling down.

"Playing Catch With My Heart"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
12" x 9" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth
*This painting is not available.*
He's always happy to see me and wags his tail like crazy at the sound of my voice. 

"Splashing Joy"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
9" x 12" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth
*This painting is not available.*
He gives me a reason to keep going.

"The Prince of Joy"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
10" x 8" soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth
*This painting is not available.*
He's my protector, my guardian, my buddy, my faithful companion. 

"Free Spirit"
© 2018 Tammy Kaufman
4" x 4" oil pastel on Da Vinci Pro Medium Textured Cradled Gesso Panel
*This painting is not available.*
He's my dog and my heart, and I can only hope he knows how grateful I am for all the goodness he brings to my life.

"Frolic"
© 2019 Tammy Kaufman
6" x 8" soft pastel on Pastel Premier
*This painting is not available.*

"Dogs are our link to paradise."
~ Milan Kundera ~

The Magic of Trees


"It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning."
~ Vincent van Gogh ~

© 2018 Tammy Kaufman
soft pastels on Pastelmat
Trees. I love them. I feel a kinship with them. In the forest, I discover a wondrous sense of peace and calm that I rarely find anywhere else. By reading and studying author Peter Wohlleben's amazing book, "The Hidden Life of Trees", I'm also learning about the support and care they provide one another in the forest. As part of my therapy, I'm now working on connecting with that sense of unity and support described in Mr. Wohlleben's book via my own tree and forest paintings. The series of small paintings pictured above was inspired by a single view of the same forest over many months, and it was remarkable to me how much joy I found in painting these trees through the seasons. So I'm sure I'll be doing something similar again.