Today we’d like to introduce you to Deidre Tao.
Deidre, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Being an artist means I get to live a life of challenging, creative work that I choose. I have collectors and patrons who keep me hard at work and stay engaged with me in my process. I feel a wave of gratitude every time I think about how my dreams have come true.
I became an artist young in life, showing all the early signs, taking all the drawing and painting classes I could on the weekends or after school. Then I started taking commission work in my teens. I was strongly encouraged to pursue art as a career. After I graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I got a studio space in Cambridge, and have been working there for over twenty years.
Since the landscape is my subject matter, I take retreats to beautiful locations as part of my artistic process. Currently, I’m drawn to the gorgeous, rugged, and unique shorelines of Massachusetts. Places like Nantucket, Provincetown, South Coast, and Cape Ann give me a lot to go on. When I return from retreats, I am filled with inspiration that sustains me for months. My most productive time tends to be the winter season, when I translate all the imagery into my paintings in the studio.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why — and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Landscapes have always been an inspiration to me, especially those painted by the 20th century modern North American masters like Georgia O’Keeffe, Winslow Homer, and Lawren Harris. The Northeastern coastline is a focus for me, not only because my family’s historic roots are in both Newfoundland and New England, but because I find the beauty of this landscape and the coastline in particular a place of rich inspiration.
I paint using acrylics on canvas. I work with acrylics because I love the dry time and the layering I can achieve. I love to employ different techniques depending on the mood of the piece and subject matter I am working with; sometimes I use dry brush and make marks that mimic pastels. Other times I want a smooth, semi-transparent and wet surface and I use a variety of acrylic mediums and washes to achieve those effects.
People tell me that they feel a sense of peace when they view my paintings. I have even had people tell me that they notice their gaze is held and their breathing changes and slows down when they stand in front of my work. This is a tremendous gift to me as an artist to hear that there is a positive physiological and emotional response in the viewer. I want to convey a sense of radiance, beauty, and wholeness in my work.
How can artists connect with other artists?
For me, working in a studio building with other artists is a good fit. I have one artist friend in particular who works the same hours I do in the studio next to mine, and when we run into each other in the hallway we catch up on each other’s work. It provides morale, encouragement and professionalism, just as other professionals may do for one another in other work settings. I will schedule a walk or a coffee date with a friend or colleague in a couple of daytime slots during the week to break up my working hours alone as well. We as visual artists usually or often work alone, and that is necessary, but we need to be careful not to work too much or that can lead to loneliness.
Frankly, sometimes it’s not connecting with other artists that is always most helpful to me, but rather, being with my loved ones that brings fullness to my life. Prioritizing my roles as a wife, mom, sister, neighbor, and friend gives me meaning, deep connections, and balance that is really fulfilling and important to me, and I’m convinced, rounds me out to make me a better artist as well.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My next event is Cambridge Open Studios, Sept 29-30. Open to the public 12-6 pm both days. I am #39 on the Open Studios brochure map. www.cambridgema.gov/arts/Programs/openstudios/openstudiosmap.
My paintings are kept current and always on view through my website, www.taofineart.com. I show my work in local galleries in Massachusetts. My studio is open either at Open Studios events to the public, or by appointment for private visits. To see my work in person and check on where I may be showing my paintings at any given time, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to meet you or point you to where I am showing,
I send an email newsletter out monthly with announcements. Please email me if you would like to be one of my free email newsletter subscribers: email@example.com
I am also on Patreon, an online platform for artists, where I am supported by a number of patrons who subscribe to my page and keep in closer touch than the newsletter. They are the first to hear about what is on my easel, where I am going on retreat, and get pictures of the painting retreats I take to special locations. Patrons can receive rewards at different subscription tiers. Check out my Patreon page at www.patreon.com/taofineart.
- Address: 686 Massachusetts Ave. Studio 403
Cambridge, MA 02139
- Website: www.taofineart.com
- Phone: 617-851-9348
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @taofineart
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/taofineart
- Other: www.patreon.com/taofineart
all images copyright © Deidre Tao