I think I have officially entered the panic stage of this experiment.

Several things have happened in the last week.

  1. I took half the paintings to my critique group. They made some goods suggestions, among which was that the paintings needed a unifying force… such as similar backgrounds. Or at least styles (Portrait of Young Lady is an obvious outlier.)
  2. I visited the gallery. It is bigger than I remember. The curator wants to have some more paintings, not just the dog paintings. We will meet soon to pick out the paintings and (probably) revise the artist statement.
  3. I attended this month’s opening and I realized… at my opening, I will have to talk to people! Strangers! Ahh!
  4. I realized I should work on promo!
Sketch Image Painting Focus
Spring: Yellow
Flowered Collar portrait / face
Fast Friends relationship
* tbd* The Scent object
Summer: Red
Portrait of a Young Lady portrait / face
Tough Guys relationship
* tbd* The Bandana object
Fall: Orange
* tbd* Gismo portrait / face
Rapt Attention relationship
The Stick object
Winter: Blue
Snow on the Roof portrait / face
Rainy Day Jogging Partner relationship
The Ball object

Focus Gallery – Bush Barn Art Center (600 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302)

Unleashed: The Dogs of Minto Brown

Artist: Tara Choate

March 6 – April 18, 2020

Reception: Friday, March 6, 5:30 – 7:30

Show Dates: March 6-April 18, 2020

About this show

When offered a show at the Salem Art Association’s Bush Barn, I thought about what I wanted to do with this opportunity. I wanted to paint a series and I wanted it to be about Salem. My first thought was Minto Brown, the place where I go every chance I get. While I enjoy the trails and the nature watching opportunities, it is the dog park where I feel a soul connection.

As I thought about what I wanted to convey in this show, I thought about the fun and humor, but also the drama and individualism. While the dog park is a lot of fun, not every dog is comfortable there (my current dog isn’t.) I tried to make the paintings about all aspects of canine relationships. The series is divided into seasons; each season has a portrait, a toy, and a relationship painting.

I was sure I wanted to do the series in my primary medium of watercolor. Because I wanted all the pieces to have a similar visual style, I elected to do all twelve paintings on water media panels using a limited color palette.

Artist Statement

I’ve flirted with art my whole life. My dad was an art teacher; he taught me to draw, then refused to allow me coloring books. After taking a lot of art classes in high school, I let art drop from my life. In 2006, several things changed in my life, and I needed to find a creative outlet again. I took a watercolor class and began as an artist. I’ve stayed with watercolor, though recently I’ve added some acrylic, collage, and even oil painting to my repertoire.

Animals, and in particular dogs, hold a special place in my life. I work a great deal from photographs, but I often add vivid color or symbols to convey meaning. I enjoy the challenge of trying to make the viewer understand the story that’s in my head as I paint a piece; what I was thinking or doing and how can I tell that whole story on a single sheet of paper.

You can view a gallery of Tara’s works, as well as upcoming events and works in progress at www.tarachoate.com.