Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

"Just celebrate the life you had, not the life you could've had." ~ Magic Johnson
Happy Birthday to my Inner Child! This has been a whirlwind of a year, wrought with anxiety about growing older of course, yet still so much fun with many new and exciting adventures. Life happens in a series of moments, so to celebrate the last year of my "early" 50s, I figured I'd celebrate my birthday with a photo slideshow retrospective of just some of those wonderful moments from 2014. Looking forward to what 2015 has to offer!

If you are unable to view the slideshow in Flash, click HERE for the link to the photo gallery.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Into the Night

Since the weather was so nice today and the forecast is for cold and rainy tomorrow, we decided to go ahead and take the bikes out tonight, with Frylie by our sides of course.
Pausing for a quick drink of water
Ever the awesome trail dog, Fry says "Let's Go!"
Ready to Go!
Night riding is fun in its own right, but is even more so with my best buddy on my wheel.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Singing the Blues

Continuing with the "blue" theme, I discovered over the weekend that a bluebird couple has taken up residence in the bluebird house in our backyard! They were busy nest-building and making the little box their new home, and after having the box sit empty for over a year, it's such a joy to have them sharing our yard with us now.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Blue is a Beautiful Color!

Now that the 2014 NC State Fair is over, Steve picked up my art entry, along with its Blue Ribbon! Attached to it was the judge's critique, which reads as follows:

  • Focus
  • Use of Color
  • Attention to Detail

Additional Comments:
Very strong sense of focus on foreground - well done! Colors fade well into background & river creates great lines of movement in work. Congratulations on 1st Place!"

I'm beside myself with joy right now!
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - Kaleidoscope Myst - pastels on PastelMat 7" x 7"

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Baby Steps

The WheelChix women's mountain bike club had another clinic today, and what a great day it was to be out on the trail! Having been only sporadically biking lately due to a combination of being overweight and very out of shape, plus being so busy with life in general, I really needed this beginner and beyond clinic. It was also a big boost to my currently failing confidence. Today's topics included, among others, basic body positioning on the bike, cornering, climbing,
uphill obstacles,
Uphill Obstacle
descending techy sections,
and my nemesis, skinnies. Today was the first time I actually got up the nerve to ride this one, and I made it the entire way, TWICE, as well as the inverted V-shaped skinny at the end of the section too! Yay!
Thanks to Pryde and Steve for their help, coaching and spotting, and to Steve for the photos.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Nothing eases the sting of discouragement and disappointment like going for a bicycle ride with Frylie. He's my most fervent cheerleader, my shoulder to cry on, my rock, my Best Friend, the one who always knows how to bring that silver lining just a little bit closer.
My little ray of sunshine.

Monday, August 25, 2014

In It With All My Heart

Taking heed to the words of Vincent Van Gogh, “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - All My Heart - acrylics on canvas 10" x 8"
As such, with much gratitude to my wonderful husband for all his technical assistance, I've launched my new artist website and art blog, Facebook page, and Fine Art America page.

I will, of course, continue to update this blog with the goings-on of my life, but hope you'll also visit me on one or all of my art sites to keep up with my artistic endeavors! Please click on any of the following to head over to the new sites - pages will open in a new window.

My Art Website
My Art Blog
Connect with Me on Facebook
My Fine Art America Page

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Save the Date - Wake Forest Tour of Artists

The 19th Annual Wake Forest Tour of Artists is fast approaching - Saturday and Sunday, September 6 and 7. This year's Tour is shaping up to be incredible with over 60 artists in 16 locations! I will be at the Sunflower Studio and Gallery, 214 East Jones Avenue in downtown Wake Forest, along with 12 other very talented artists, and I'm looking forward to sharing my love of art and demonstrating my pastel techniques for you. Please come out and enjoy a delightful weekend visiting all the local artists and galleries, and the chance to win a gift basket filled with artsy goodies!
Click on image for larger view

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Finding Joy

Henry Ward Beecher once said "One's best success comes after one's greatest disappointments". Trusting this to be true, I'm continuing to forge ahead and paint. Not because I might get juried into a prestigious show someday. Not because I feel like I should. Not even because I might make a sale. I'm continuing to paint because, quite simply, I enjoy it. Sometimes I can get unnecessarily bogged down worrying about what others think of me and by extension, my artwork, especially while holding a juried show rejection letter in my hands! In those moments, I may find myself moping along head-down, missing what is beautiful and joyous lying right under my nose. So tonight, I stopped to consider what makes my heart sing and remembered a spectacular sunset greeting me with open arms of brilliant color at the end of a bike ride on the Neuse River Greenway. And I decided to paint it, for no other reason than it made me happy. :-)
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - The Waiting Game - soft pastels on Canson Touch paper 7.5" x 10.5"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's nothing personal...

But it still hurts. I've received two juried art show rejection letters in about as many weeks, one from the Yadkin Arts Council's "Eye of the Artist" show and the other from Tipping Paint Gallery's "Dog Days of Raleigh" show. And despite the intellectual understanding that having my artwork rejected for a juried show is nothing personal and not necessarily a rejection of me as an artist, that still doesn't quell the sting of rejection. I realize almost every artist faces such disappointment at various times - it's simply part of life - but this felt particularly blues-inducing for me. Maybe it was nothing more than the fact that I received multiple rejections (I submitted a total of six paintings for the two shows and all six were denied entry) in such a short time period that crumpled my confidence.

I'm going to give myself permission to be sad, discouraged and crestfallen for a little while, but will be back after a brief period to try, try again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Why I always keep a sketchbook handy (yes, I am sketching in this photo) - inspiration is all around us...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Art After Hours

I did it! My first Guest Artist show at a local gallery, The Storyteller's Bookstore here in downtown Wake Forest. The opening reception for my month-long pastel exhibit, which will run through August 7, was Friday evening at After After Hours, and I was absolutely thrilled to see so many of my dear friends and fellow artists stop by.
Me and Fellow Artist & Friend, Clarence, in front of my Guest Artist "wall" at Storyteller's Bookstore
It was such a joy to see so many friends and make some new ones, and I so very much enjoyed the opportunities to chat with people about my artwork and painting process. To top things off, a few pieces sold almost immediately and I trust they will bring as much joy to their new families as they brought me painting them. I was delighted to discover also that some of the local media even mentioned me and my show, including the Wake Weekly and Wake Forest Today - click on the newspaper titles to go to their respective articles. The exhibit will run through August 7, so if you're in the area, please do come by Storyteller's for a visit!

I'm so appreciative of all the wonderful people in my life, and the supportive and encouraging art community we have here in Wake Forest. Looking forward to the Next Big Thing - the Wake Forest Tour of Artists coming up September 6-7. I will be a participating artist, exhibiting several works as well as demonstrating my soft pastel techniques at Sunflower Studio & Gallery, and hope to see you all there!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sneak Preview

Here's just a sneak preview of part of my wall at Storyteller's Bookstore, where I'm honored to be the featured guest artist for the month of July. Many thanks to Anne Howard for doing such a lovely job of hanging everything!
All told, I have 46 original pastel paintings available for sale on the exhibit, along with postcards featuring 10 different images, and I can hardly wait to share my love of art with you at Art After Hours tomorrow evening, Friday July 11 from 5-9 p.m. in downtown Wake Forest.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Almost Time!

It's almost time - Art After Hours is fast approaching! I'm very excited about being the guest artist at Storyteller's Bookstore for July, and am really looking forward to the opening reception at Art After Hours coming up Friday evening. Paintings are all now matted and framed; everything has been priced, labeled and carefully packed in boxes, ready for delivery and hanging; and the press release/flyers have been printed and distributed:

I'm beside myself with anticipation and look forward to sharing my artwork with you all. :-)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

I've been so busy getting ready for my July art show at Storyteller's Bookstore here in downtown Wake Forest, I've kind of neglected my actual drawing and painting over the past several days. But I did manage to squeeze in some time - between kayaking last evening and mountain biking this afternoon - to do a couple of watercolor sketches of Fry and myself on the lake.
©2014 Tammy Kaufman
©2014 Tammy Kaufman
And another sketch of the sleepy boy half-napping on his pillow after a long day on the water. I love the adorable way his cute little tongue sticks out just a tad when he is really tired. :-)
©2014 Tammy Kaufman
We've almost completed preparations for the opening reception of my pastel exhibit at Art After Hours coming up in a couple of weeks, on Friday, July 11. Most of the matting and framing is now done, with only a couple more left to do, and everything is labeled and priced. So once the rest of the framing is completed, I'll be ready to take all the works over to Storyteller's next week. I'm really looking forward to this show, and hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Celebrating Steve's Birthday on the Lake

To celebrate Steve's birthday, we took the boats out on the lake today. Fry had a good time riding in the sit-in with Daddy!
I paddled over to get a closer view of my guys.
Despite the intermittently darkening skies threatening rain, the lake was the perfect place to spend the afternoon, and we saw several other kayakers out as well - seems like a lot of us had the same idea.The fluffy clouds made a beautiful backdrop to the forests surrounding the lake.
Fry indicated an interest in my boat when we got back to shore, so Steve took him for a brief ride on the rear deck. He looks pretty happy there, don't you think?
Happy Birthday Steve!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The View From Here

It's been a crazy weekend at home, so relaxing on a calm lake with a gorgeous view seemed like the perfect way to wind down this evening.
Yesterday, we went ahead and had the skylights replaced with new ones, as the leak we thought we had previously repaired in one of them wasn't. In addition, we made it about halfway through getting the paintings matted and framed for my art show coming up next month at Storyteller's Bookstore. I'm very excited about this show, and especially the Art After Hours reception Friday evening, July 11 from 5-9 p.m. My postcards also got back from the printer and they look wonderful, if I do say so myself. Once the remainder of the framing is done, I think I'll have everything ready - but I made a checklist just to be sure. I plan to have a variety of sizes of pastel paintings (some matted and "sleeved" and the rest matted and framed), from 4" x 6" up to 16" x 20", as well as the postcards, for the show. I look forward to sharing my passion for art with you and hope you can make it to the exhibit!

Dealing with the skylights and the art show preparations yesterday pretty much tied up the first half of the weekend so I didn't get any outdoor exercise done. I had planned to mountain bike or hike today if the rain held off - which it did - but unfortunately I must have pulled something in my back yesterday. I've been experiencing nearly crippling pain in my low back ever since first arising from bed this morning. Several ibuprofen and some muscle balm helped loosen it up just enough to crawl into the kayak for a short easy cruise down the lake, but I'm still experiencing intense pain and ache. Hopefully a hot bath along with some more balm and ibuprofen will take care of it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Won't Be Afraid

Whew! That was close. I almost – almost – gave in to fear…again. As noted in my previous post, I’m scheduled to be the guest artist for the month of July at a local gallery, The Storyteller’s Bookstore, as well as participating in the Wake Forest Tour of Artists this fall. But after hearing some local professional artists with many years of experience expressing sentiments of self-doubt about showing their own (quite beautiful in my opinion) works on the Tour, I began to hear those old familiar negative voices rising up in my own thoughts. After all, I am definitely an early-stage aspiring artist, only having started painting and drawing late last June, so if experienced professionals have such insecurities, what on earth about a newbie like myself?!?!? The self-doubt arose fast and furious: What if I can't do this? What if no one likes my work? What if I'm not knowledgeable/talented/creative/educated enough? What if, what if, what if? 

And while my inner child’s soul cowered in a sobbing heap on the floor admidst all the negative self-thoughts, the most beautiful, glorious, restoring words appeared in my email inbox, a silver lining to my dark cloud of insecurity. I’ve never met Dreama Tolle Perry, but reading her inspiring and encouraging blog makes me feel like she is a cherished friend. Her “Acceptance” post was precisely what my frightened soul needed, crying out to hear the words she so eloquently spoke: “What is it that we fear will happen if we accept our work as beautiful, meaningful and wondrous—just as it is now, in this moment?”
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - Here Comes Trouble - soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix paper 4" x 3"
Her post reminded me of times past when those same negative internal voices tried to drown me in fear, but I somehow managed to embrace my imperfectly perfect self and press on: when I was in my mid-thirties and decided I wanted to learn how to ride a bicycle for the first time; the embarrassment of being a grown woman struggling to figure out simple gears and brakes and pedaling. And the list goes on and on. Despite being “too old” and “inexperienced”, not only did I learn to ride, but three years later I was competing successfully in 12-hour mountain bike races and two years after that, 24-hour races. 

24-Hour Endurance Race, Greenville NC
Well into my forties, I was racing both endurance and downhill and many times standing atop the podium both locally and nationally, in spite of the negative voices screaming that was only for the young, fearless and lean – none of which described me.

Now, thanks to the lovely reminder from my friend – thank you Dreama! - I’m kicking that insecurity and fear to the curb once again, lifting that precious inner child back up and continuing to paint what I love and love what I paint. I look forward to sharing my joy of painting with you at Storyteller’s Bookstore in July and on the Tour of Artists in September.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wake Forest Tour of Artists and Other News

It's official - I'm now entered as a participant in the 2014 Wake Forest Guild's Tour of Artists! The Tour is to be held Saturday and Sunday, September 6 and 7, and is shaping up to be a terrific event again this year. My exhibiting studio is still to be determined, but I will post it as soon as we get the location pinned down. I will also be doing a demo of pastels during the Tour and will post the time schedule for that as well once I have it, so if you're in the Wake Forest area that weekend, come on by - you just might get the opportunity to try your hand at pastels! My official Tour "page" with some samples of my work is now up Here. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Tour last year and am beyond excited to actually be a participant this year, and look forward to seeing everyone there.

In other artsy news, this week I submitted two paintings to the Yadkin Arts Council Eye of the Artist 4th Annual Juried Show. This year's irresistible theme is "Happiness Is...", so of course I submitted a smiling dog painting...
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - Can You See Me Now? - soft pastels on Canson Touch paper 11" x 14"
Along with an acrylic spring floral that was a joy to paint. Notifications of accepted entries are to be made the end of this month, so wish me luck!
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - Heartsong - acrylic on canvas using palette knives 11" x 14"
Finally, I've been informed by The Storyteller's Bookstore here in Wake Forest that they want me to be a guest artist for the month of July! So I've been busy getting some pastel paintings finished and framed to have them ready for that show. The opening reception will be at Art After Hours on Friday evening, July 11, and I'm definitely thrilled and honored to have my works shown there. Storyteller's is home to some extremely talented local artists, and it will be a privilege to have my works hanging alongside theirs next month.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Flight of Fancy

Birdwatching on a summer afternoon. I find there's something incredibly calming, almost meditative, about beautifully graceful wild birds on a quiet lake.
©2014 Tammy Kaufman - Flight of Fancy - soft pastels on Canson pastel paper 9" x 12"

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


If you've been following my blog, you know I started a big (for me) painting project a couple of weeks ago. I normally paint on the smallish side, most comfortable in the 12" x 18" and smaller realm. This acrylic painting I started the other week, however, is 20" x 44", so pretty big for me. And also, this time I'm trying using a sand and Gesso prep, something else very new for me.

step one - sand and Gesso prep
After letting the prep dry and cure for two weeks, this past weekend I applied the background. I used a wide soft brush, twisting and turning the bristles, to scrub the paint across the peaks and into the valleys created by the sand prep.
step two - background
I let this dry for a few days while I mulled over the various ideas in my head about the direction I wanted to take with this canvas. Then last night, the finished painting came to me in a dream. What I saw in that dream probably broke all the rules of painting - composition, color theory and mixing, everything. But the image brought me such a sense of peace and happiness, who was I to question it? So this evening, I began brushing the acrylics onto the canvas. It was almost like my dream was guiding my hand, selecting the colors and brushes almost without my conscious decision - these colors with this brush, those with the other, until the work felt finished. I can't really explain why I made the choices I made or stopped when I did, and I know this painting may not fit the rules and guidelines of proper painting, but it matches what I dreamed, and to me it just feels complete. Unfortunately when I took a photo of it, the camera tended to flatten the image, muting the subtle variations in tone and depths of color somewhat in addition to making it difficult to see the brush strokes on the sanded texture very well, so this painting definitely is more expressive in person, at least to me. :-)
©2014 Tammy Kaufman - Reach - acrylics on canvas 20" x 44"
Sometimes it's fun to listen to my spirit, let go of the controls for a while and simply enjoy the ride, without sweating the details.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday is FunDay

Fry spent all day yesterday at home, and we figured it was the least we could do to take him for a run today. So we hit the mountain bike trail with him, and he had a blast! He was running faster than I've seen him go in a long time, chasing squirrels, leaping into the creeks and just having a big time. But since we took our time on the ride to let Fry play to his heart's content, I didn't get back home in time to go paint outside this evening at the Six Sundays Concert, so painted in the studio today. This time, I decided to practice painting some manmade structures, working from a reference photo we had taken at Joyner Park the other week that really appealed to me.
©2014 Tammy Kaufman - Joyner Farm - soft pastels on Uart 500 sanded paper 12" x 18"
With, of course, all work being done under the watchful eye of Miss Venus, my arty-cat painting supervisor,
studio kitty
I first sketched out the composition I wanted with a charcoal pencil.
Charcoal thumbnail sketch ©2014 Tammy Kaufman
From this reference photo:
reference photo
I don't normally paint buildings and other such structures, but I want to grow as an artist, so what better time to try new things than now, right? And it was surprisingly more fun than I thought it would be. :-)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

On Location

Steve participated in the Super D mountain bike race at Uwharrie National Forest today, and I joined him for a road trip to do some plein aire painting. I walked along several of the bike trails and forest service roads this morning when we arrived to scout for a painting location, and finally chose an empty camp site along Wood Run Road. This gave me an out of the way place to set up my easel, but still with a nice view of the access trail the riders were using to get to the start line. I just love those little yellow flowers that seem to dot every grassy area and roadside this time of year. I have no idea what they are - probably some kind of weed! - but they sure do catch my eye.
©2014 Tammy Kaufman - Wood Run Peek-a-Boo - soft pastels on Uart 500 sanded paper 9" x 12"
The weather was perfect for our trip so I was able to enjoy a pleasant morning of painting while Steve did his prerace practice, and this afternoon he wound up taking fifth place in his class! After the race, we went for a short bike ride along a portion of the Keyauwee trail which had some gorgeous views. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me on the bike, but I may try to paint some of the scenes from memory. It was a great day all in all - we saw a lot of old friends, made some new ones, and even got a good chuckle when "Macro-Me" met "Mini-Me". These dogs were so cute and seemed to make instant friends as soon as they met.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Moonlight Madness

Tonight I elected to paint a scene based on a photo I took last week. We were on our way back from the mountain bike trail as the full moon was just rising. When we stopped at a traffic light, I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick photo which simply begged to be painted. And since I had one last Ampersand Pastelbord left, I decided to use that with an alcohol underpainting for this little pastel.
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - Moonlight Madness - soft pastels on Uart 500 sanded paper 5" x 7"
While I have certainly enjoyed stretching myself as an artist and working with acrylics using only palette knives, it sure was nice to get back to my pastels this evening. Lifting the cover off the tray and seeing all those glorious colors was like being in pure heaven, and using the pastels again felt like sliding into a favorite pair of comfy fuzzy slippers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Supervisor

For some reason, I haven't been sleeping very well for the past couple of nights so was a bit mentally - and physically - exhausted today, and I didn't really feel up to mountain biking this evening. But I did want to try and do some painting, so I headed to the studio with Venus, my resident studio "arty-cat" and best painting buddy, right on my heels as always. My little Muse used to be content just to lie under my easel and observe me while I paint, but she has apparently now decided she prefers to curl up in my chair and "supervise" my work. So I guess I need to get busy. I mean really, how could I say no to that sweet face?
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - Muse - soft pastels on Uart 500 sanded paper 9" x 12"

Monday, May 19, 2014

First Public Critique

Tonight I had my first public art critique, and despite my initial fear and nervousness about it, I ended up feeling much better about my painting overall and even more enthusiastic about continuing to learn and progress. Everett Adelman was kind enough to offer us his critiquing expertise at the monthly meeting of the Wake Forest Guild of Artists, and provided incredibly helpful advice while entertaining us all thoroughly with his extensive knowledge of art and artists, and associated stories. I'm so glad I garnered the courage to take in a couple of my works - pastel and palette knife acrylic - for Mr. Adelman's critique - it was a true privilege to have him view my paintings and to have someone of his artistic caliber tell me what is working with them and offer suggestions on making the next ones even better!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Simple Cheer

After yesterday's brilliant sunshine, this morning dawned grey, cool and cloudy, with an almost damp feeling in the air. There has been no rain as of yet but a chance of showers is forecast for this afternoon and evening. Maybe it was the grey cloudiness or the "Sunday-end-of-the-weekend blues", but today I felt the need for a bit of quiet simplicity to brighten my day, so went with a minimalistic palette knife painting on canvas board that honors today's greyness but adds just a touch of color to cheer it up.
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - Bliss - acrylics on canvas board using palette knives 11" x 14"
I had considered heading out to Joyner Park to paint today, but with the damp, impending-precipitation feel to the air outside, I think I'd rather risk getting rained on while mountain biking than try to scramble putting away art supplies in the event of an afternoon thundershower.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Springing to Life

On a gloriously sunny perfect spring day like today with temperatures in the mid 70s and a soft breeze, it's almost impossible not to be inspired by the natural world all around me. As such, I decided to continue on with the palette knife acrylic painting series and created another smallish work this morning.
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - Across the Way - acrylics on canvas board using palette knives 11" x 14"
The weather today was too beautiful not to spend a good bit of time outside as well though, so this afternoon Steve and I took Fry for a hike while we worked to clear some of the storm debris from the local mountain bike trail. And then tonight it was back to the studio to put in more practice time with the knives and acrylics.