Tara Zalewsky-Nease draws on the soul of the desert to create her impressionist landscape paintings. While earning her Masters in Fine Art Painting at the University of New Mexico, she experienced the magical energy of the expansive panoramas and the timeless geography of the southwest. She hiked, journaled and captured reference photography during her time there, as well as during her trips to the Pacific Northwest, France and Japan. Two common motifs in her works are hummingbirds, which are totems of good luck, and foxes, which allude to her young son. Tara has had solo exhibitions in Sante Fe, Albuquerque and Taos. She recently built a custom backyard art studio at her home in Pittsburgh, where she paints full time. When she is not creating art, she teaches art classes at several universities and also enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her pets and family.
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About The Artist
I learned the importance of a single brushstroke applied with speed, intuition, and precision to capture a brief moment of light, or imply wind or heat, and juxtaposed intense colors with immediacy, letting them optically blend on the canvas, a technique which continues to be the cornerstone of my oil painting.
Although I have since moved from New Mexico back to the East Coast, I brought the soul of the desert landscape with me. Whether I’m working outdoors, or referencing photos in my studio, I rely on the magic of gesture, and the hues of thick paint to convey a sense of atmosphere and place in my work.
Like the Old Master Whistler, who signed his paintings with a butterfly, I enjoy slipping in foxes and hummingbirds into my paintings, as these animals have become my personal iconography. I painted hummingbirds in New Mexico, after reading that they were harbingers of good luck in Southwestern lore. Hummingbirds continue to find their way into my paintings, along with foxes. After my son was born, I felt a little fox symbolized his sweet and troublemaking nature, hence the frequent foxes hiding in the thicket of my brushstrokes, or dreaming alongside painted waterfalls.
Currently I’m incorporating collage techniques in some of my paintings, balancing thick brushwork with the swirl of marbleized paper, or golden patterns. I hope you enjoy viewing my work as much as I enjoy painting it!
The University of New Mexico
Master of Fine Arts, 2006
Kent State UniversityBachelor of Fine Arts, 2003