Artist of Note | Tammy Gilchrest

Luminous imagination

Tammy Gilchrest, Renewal, oil, 10 x 20.

Tammy Gilchrest, Renewal, oil, 10 x 20.

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art April 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Tammy Gilchrest didn’t pick up a paintbrush until 2014, when she found herself drawn to painting more than she ever had been before. “I always had this strange desire to paint, but at that point I couldn’t not do it anymore,” she says. Over the past four years Gilchrest devoured everything she could on the subject, and soon she found her voice in painting landscapes.

Gilchrest does not work from life or from photos. Instead, she creates each scene from her imagination. “I am drawn to the earth and the beauty that surrounds us, but I want to take people to places different from here,” she says. She approaches the canvas with a vague idea of a painting, but as the process unfolds, the true subject comes forward on its own. “I want each painting to be a vessel for the viewer to get away in their own mind for a few moments,” Gilchrest says. “My goal is to create a place of emotional serenity for each individual viewer.”

Gilchrest draws on the classical method of indirect painting. This allows her to build transparent layers over a muted underpainting, which gives each scene depth and luminosity. When she began painting, her mentor took one of her pieces into her dining room and slowly dimmed the lights. “I couldn’t believe how the painting took on this glow and how it showed so many nuances in the changing light,” Gilchrest says. “It was like watching the sun set.” —Mackenzie McCreary

Gilchrest is represented by www.tammygilchrest.com.

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art April 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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