Inspiration comes easily for Tammy Tappan. Known for her captivating renderings of horses in both bronze and acrylic, Tammy has a strong affinity for horses and knows for certain there’s nothing else she’d rather portray.
Prior to taking a leap of faith to pursue her passion, Tammy operated a commercial sign business and worked in graphic design for more than 35 years. Always working to serve the needs of her clients, after three decades, she knew it was time to do something for herself for a change, and that meant exploring her passion for art––and horses were an obvious subject.
In her work, Tammy captures the power and elegance of horses while leaving room for interpretation through color and texture. And though she leaves much to be interpreted, one thing is for certain, she never misses the mark on capturing the innate heart connection horses have with humans.
What does Tammy find most intriguing about horses? Read on or watch the video below to find out.
When did you know art was your calling?
I spent 30 years in the commercial sign business and graphic design market. I was always involved creatively, but this is so much different because I’m doing what I love versus what the client is needing.
How did you choose your subject matter?
It was just in my head. It was like, “What else would I ever want to paint?” The horses are a part of my life, they have been since I was about eight years old. When I think about painting other things, I just think, “Why would I do that?” I love horses.
What challenges you the most about your work?
Because of my process where I start with a wash of color, a lot of times I’m not in control of the outcome like the texture or where the paint ends up. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get what I see in my head to work with what’s on the canvas. I’ve learned that if it’s not working, to walk away and start something else and then come back to it. That’s a better plan than trying to force-fit it.
What do you love most about creating art?
I love the freedom of being able to create what I am passionate about and create my own schedule. One of my other favorite parts, which I didn’t really expect is the relationships that I have with the clients. My clients are typically passionate about horses as well or they’re intrigued by them. That conversation that comes out like, “Do you have horses? How long have you had horses? What do you do with your horses?” That’s always a fun part of what I do as well.
What do you hope your work inspires in others?
It’s so interesting because what I think I’m painting sometimes is not how the viewer is receiving it. I had a very specific incident last week with a piece that is actually hanging on the wall here. The wife felt like it was a very peaceful, caring, loving image and the husband felt like the one horse was dominating the other. It was a night and day contrast of what their read was on the image. They ended up buying a different painting because they couldn’t agree on what the emotional content was.
What drew you to the Celebration of Fine Art?
I love the interaction with the other artists. I am so used to painting in a kind of vacuum since I’m by myself in a studio. I have a lot of foot traffic and clientele because I’m at an equestrian center, but there aren’t any other artists there. Seeing other people’s techniques is super inspiring. And the weather’s not bad here either.