Words and art by Tam Charlwood.
When asked to write something to accompany my artwork, I struggled to write anything past the obvious. I am largely self-taught. I paint portraiture and landscapes. I regularly sketch and draw with my crappy Bic pens. The impulse to make art has been with me my entire life, and I’ve steadily practiced because of it. But I have never really stopped to consider why I make art.
Why do I make art? My fingers itch to draw. Art is an ordering principle of the world. To not draw would be to deny a part of myself. Even when I am in the grips of an art block, I want to punch it out. Changing artistic mediums can be an emotion change.
My art takes many different forms, but currently I have been focused upon painting. I love painting because it is a challenge. With the paint, I have to feel out and carve 3D forms. I also have to consider the composition, layering, and colours. Gauche paint is a very interesting medium. It is forgiving yet tough. Gauche is opaque but it can also be quite transparent – this means I have to consider painting from light to dark, but also which objects need to be painted first in order to have clear lines. However, since gauche responds to water I can blend, mix colours, and change my painting with greater ease.
A consistent theme throughout my life and thinking is how context changes a phrase, a memory, a person. How something or someone is framed can completely shift your interpretation of that person or thing. A subconscious shift is powerful and transcendental. This mindset is driving me to be bolder and more creative with my portraiture. Context and subconscious mindscapes are the themes I hope to consider in two projects that I have been planning. I have the bad habit of sitting down and painting a piece almost to completion. Since I am so busy with law school, I’ve begun to pace myself for more complex pieces. Hopefully this will mean my projects will be finished by next year. Law readings permitting, of course!
Commission Tam for portraits, landscapes, custom notebook covers, and bookmarks. Commissions available at $20 per hour. A5 paintings are generally 2-3 hours, and A4 ones are generally 4-5 hours.
Tam also has some original artworks that are for sale, and you can also buy prints (or tote bags, iPhone covers, etc.) of her artwork here: https://society6.com/tamcharlwood