Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Behind the scenes with Tula Telfair

{In her Manhattan studio, Tula Telfair works on the landscape paintings that will be the centerpiece of the museum's upcoming exhibit.} 

There's an unmistakable relaxation response in our bodies that heralds the spring season, isn't there? Longer sunny days, warm breezes, and blooming flowers inevitably inspire easier smiles and sighs of contentment as everyone thaws out from the long, cold winter. 

It's exactly that kind of powerful, sensual physical response to nature that inspires Tula Telfair's dramatic landscape paintings, and she seeks to evoke a similar reaction in her viewers. Last week I had the pleasure of going behind the scenes with her to talk about her upcoming exhibit at the Florence Griswold Museum, Landscapes in Counterpoint.

As with any body of creative work, Telfair's landscapes have evolved over time. They began as quick color studies meant to inform the narrative, figurative pieces she was creating at the time. But one morning, an art dealer walked into her studio to find a grouping of these luminous, colorful landscapes scattered across the floor, "like little jewels", she remembers. 

From that dealer's initial interest in showing similar pieces, a body of large, dramatic landscapes has emerged. Now, she spends the days in her Manhattan studio absorbed in large canvases like the ones pictured above, working on as many as eleven at one time. In the weeks leading up to the opening of her exhibit on April 24th,  I'll be posting more from behind the scenes, sharing pieces about her creative process, and recommendations for the upcoming exhibit. 

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