Welcome to the July 2020 virtual exhibition of the Artists of Rappahannock. The Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community is pleased to present this selection of work by artists and galleries on the annual Fall Art Tour.
Please click on the individual images to open a larger image for more detailed viewing.
My landscape paintings are predominately inventions. My favorite way of working is to combine memory and imagination. Although I used slides and drawings as reference for these paintings, at some point in the process I stop looking at the slides and work using only memory and imagination. This is my favorite way of working. I use memory as a selective editing tool which magnifies certain elements while omitting others. What remains is highly personal and with meanings that contain many private associations; things that I find and relate to within the landscape, my personal history, my thoughts about loss and the inevitability of change.
In addition to oil painting, I am a printmaker in my studio a stone’s throw from the Thornton River in Sperryville, VA. I use environmentally friendly non-toxic techniques rather than traditional ones in both my painting and printmaking. Solar plate etching, silk aquatint, stencils and collage are some of the techniques I combine in creating my prints.
watercolor on Aquaboard panel, sealed
16″ x 20″ (framed 20.5″ x 24.5″)
I have always been drawn to the landscape wherever I am. I love working in watercolor and other water media on various surfaces because it gives me freedom and spontaneity to create how I feel about a subject. I take a lot of photographs and do sketches, but I only use them as a jumping off place. Memories click in and that becomes the real inspiration for my landscape paintings. When I was younger I painted in a more realistic style and I still do as evidenced by the paintings presented in this tour. But as I grow older I often see the landscape in the more impressionistic way as I did as a child. I find I am drawn more by the colors and shapes I see than the scene itself. In the last few years I have been doing more abstract work in acrylic and watercolor, often collaged with textured papers. Even though I am moving toward abstract painting I still see landscapes in them.
Pretty in Pink
cobaltian calcite, set in sterling silver, hand stamped ring shank, size 7
1.5″ x .75″
tiffany stone, set in sterling silver, hand stamped border, set atop a sand cast bracelet
3″ x 2.5″
I find inspiration on the drive to work each day. I take great care to hand-select the gemstones and beads I use in my creations, some of which can take weeks, months, or years to find just the right fit in a piece of work. I also delight in re-purposing vintage finds into new, original work.
I have had minimal formal education in smithing. When I started there were few schools to attend. But I know how to learn on my own. By the 1980’s various craft schools had started classes, and I have taught in many of them. By 2000, I was tired of creating for others and began to explore my own images. The White Oak Forge is a working smithy these last 45 years; it is dirty and fascinating. It is the current iteration of a craft that stretches back 10,000 years. What you see in my forge and on my grounds is almost where I am.
All work featured in this exhibition are created with various kinds of iron, one utilizes gold leaf paint, and all indoor pieces are finished with two coats of hard wax for durability. As these are all indoor pieces, the bottoms are finished with felt to prevent scratching any surface they rest upon.
Briefly a resident of the county in the early 70’s, the mountains have called me back. I returned to live in Rappahannock in 2015. My studio allows me to continue the pleasure of throwing paint while simultaneously breathing in the mountains. I work in oil, acrylic, fabric or mixed media as the inspiration requires. Currently I am working with oil pigment and cold wax. There is a lusciousness to this that reminds me of making mud pies as a child. My work is in many private collections and has been exhibited in may galleries and shows in the DC area.
Did you ever wonder why no author is asked to create an image for his book, and yet every visual artist is expected to write an artist statement? Ironic, as the work of a visual artist is nonverbal and hopefully speaks with its own symbolic language. Why is the visual artist burdened with taking a nonverbal process and putting it into words? For the moment I can only say that living in Rappahannock County has given me space, freedom, nurturance, and quiet as bedrock for creating. The mystery of creating defies words. My hope is that my work evokes a response from the viewer.
For the most part, I paint on location. I don’t necessarily paint plein aire as I also take pictures and sometimes pull weeds and grasses to put in my studio and finish a painting. I find that I have more information available to me on location. I am not always sure why I choose the scene that I do. Often it is after I have been in a location that I become inspired to paint. Sometime I will visit the spot several time before I decide to paint. In that way I work out the logistics of how to go about it. Before long I am preparing a canvas or a panel to take in the field. My painting experience in the field is also an opportunity to learn about nature. I get to see how and why trees get their shape and what happens when a storm shows up. One gets to be a pretty good observer when holding a paint brush. I won’t know how to finish a painting until I have put in the time to get the details right. The whole time I am looking out for a sign as to where to go from here. Sometimes that takes a while. I have revisited a painting a year later and it took that time of observing to get it right. When complete, It will be about the scene but also about my journey. I will also have learned something.
Tom Tartaglino is represented by R.H. Ballard Gallery in Washington, VA.