choatesTara Choate is an emerging watercolor artist from Salem, Oregon. While she works full-time in a state government finance position, she has been painting transparent watercolor since 2006.

“I think I’m drawn to watercolor because it’s the opposite of what I do everyday (accounting.) It’s just a little out-of-control, and I like that. I like that you don’t have to be ultra-realistic to get a great result. I like that you can let the paint do its own thing and that sometimes makes the best paintings.”

Animals are one of Tara’s biggest inspirations. “I like animals and would love to experiment more with animals I don’t know. I love experimenting with what it takes to get the expression of a particular animal.” Horses are a particular favorite. When viewing her work, people always ask Tara if she has a horse; the answer is, “No, but I want one!”

Tara doesn’t spend all her time painting. She is also an avid gardener and in the spring you can find her at various gardens in the area—getting inspiration for her own yard or paintings. “I take a lot of pictures. I don’t know how I survived without a digital camera because I take can hundreds of photos when the mood strikes. Luckily most of them end up in the trash bin, but I never lack for inspiration.”

In 2011 Tara learned knitting and in 2012 took a class in spinning. “Textile work really emphasizes color and texture, two of the things I am most drawn to in my painting. The process couldn’t be more different; knitting is about repetition while painting is about a single idea. But it has helped me to understand what I like best in my paintings. Right now, I think I’m struggling a little with the current fashion of the detailed painting. A lot of my peers are doing work that is heavy on detail. I love that in their work, but in my work I like a single brush stroke that tells a story, not a lot of details. So I think I’m still finding my style.”


All images © 2007-2019 Tara Choate. All rights reserved.