Well-known local artist Tahirih Goffic was recently the featured artist on the popular website Art Promotive.com. Below is an excerpt of her interview posted online.
When was the first time you knew you were an artist?
I remember drawing with my mom, in our A frame house in the Okanagan, and thinking… “I’m going to do this forever. I’m going to be an artist when I grow up.” I simply never changed my mind, except that time when I was seven when I wanted to be a ballerina! But then I discovered one day while spinning in the living room and tripping over the coffee table that I wasn’t very graceful… so I went back to drawing.
What medium and process do you prefer?
I prefer to paint in oils. I love the juicy, alive texture, the brilliance of the colours, and the never-ending possibilities. I paint a range of subject matter, but mostly people and animals. Right now I’m on a horse kick. I love the challenge of capturing an emotion and passing that on to my viewers.
I tend to work mostly alla prima. (I’m really impatient) But I occasionally have the patience to glaze parts of the work if a particular piece demands it..
Do you have a certain type of music playing while painting?
I listen to all kinds of music while I’m creating. It depends on my mood. I really love Beethoven and Mozart… they’re great for getting me in the groove, and I’ll listen to them if I have a nice long slot of uninterrupted time to work with.
I also love acoustic guitar and vocals, indie folk singers. I love the simplicity of the guitar and a voice. It reminds me of many nights with my family around a campfire in our backyard, singing with my dad. I swear he knows every 60’s song ever written!
Inspiration: How do you find it?
I go for a run, or take photos. Sometimes I’ll go through my reference photo collection, or look at other artists work who I admire. If that’s still not working, I will sew some stuffies for my kids, or make jewelry, and that usually gets the creative juices flowing. I once made about seven sock and glove animals in two days, before I finally started painting again!
Do you have activities besides painting?
I love to run. I had asthma as a child, and failed miserably at all kinds of sports. I’ve managed to heal my lungs as an adult, and now I love how free and powerful I feel when I run. I also love to read a good, well-written book, invent healthy, sugar and wheat free recipes (usually cookies), as I can’t eat processed sugar and I have a bad sweet tooth! I’m writing a recipe book, and I also love to write young adult fiction. I’m currently on chapter four of my first YA novel… it’s getting there. I also love to sew toys for kids and make jewellery, and I’ve been trying to learn the guitar for about twenty years.
What are your most recent artworks?
Right now, I’m working on a series of horse paintings. Horses were my first love, and I’m finally following up on that, thirty years later:)
What is your best painting?
The best painting I ever created is called The Snow Queen. It’s of my daughter in her faux fur coat, in the forest in winter.
I feel like I had divine assistance with that one. The paint flew from my brushes, and I didn’t even think about the process. It just happened. The edges, values, and colours all worked, and I somehow made my daughter seem otherworldly… haunting, even though in the photo reference she just has a shy smile.
What place does the artist have in society?
The artist really provides the building blocks for society. Without artists where would we be? Who designs the buildings we live in, the cars that we drive, the movies we watch, the music we listen to? We show people beauty and remind them what it is we live for.
Are you selling your artworks?
I have sold quite a few artworks over the years, through every possible way. I am represented by a few local galleries. I participate in Arts and Craft shows, and the local farmers market in the summer.
I have online shops at Etsy, Fine Art America, and Daily Paintworks, and have in the past sold on Ebay. I have a few collectors worldwide that found my art locally and continue to buy from me, and I do some commissioned work.
Do you have influences for your paintings?
My first was probably my Dad. He encouraged every little scribble I made and told me how wonderful it was. Second would be my high school art teacher, Steve Mills. He taught me so much technically, and for that I will be eternally grateful. I guess I’m influenced by the wildlife art of Robert Bateman… his sense of mood and atmosphere is unsurpassed. I love the work of Sorolla and Sargent, their brushwork is awe inspiring, and something that I hope to one day master. Morgan Weistling and Scott Burdick paint the subjects closest to my heart, and their techniques have taught me a lot about painting.
Are there any amazing contemporary artists you would like to tell us about?
Carol Evans is an amazing contemporary artist and also a friend and amazing person. She works in watercolor and paints this amazing coast where I live with incredible skill. Her paintings are quite realistic, but also impressionistic.
She is a master at conveying light and mist. Her paintings are so inviting that they make you want to be there.
10 years from now, where would you see yourself as an artist?
I see myself at my easel, painting. I would like to hope that I will have achieved some measure of success, but really, that’s not why I paint. I would like to have finally mastered edges and brushwork, and not be disappointed with every painting that comes off the easel.
Advice for aspiring and emerging artists?
Keep painting. Quantity equals quality. You won’t get better unless you keep painting. Never stop learning. Watch videos, read books, study the masters.
Share yourself and be honest. People are interested in the person behind the art.
Don’t give up and whatever you do, ignore your inner critic! Paint what you want to paint because life is too short to worry about what other people will like, and if you paint what you love, your passion and personality will show through and people will be attracted to it.