Who Am I ?
Tami Chacon is an artist living in the wilds of suburbia in Florida – Her heart and soul belong in the Southwest but she finds beauty everywhere. A ‘late bloomer’, a self-taught explorer of color and image, she is learning how to PLAY again. An intuitive mixed media artist who loves to dabble in everything; be it watercolor, ink, acrylic, coffee or crayon. She believes we are here to create – process is creation and messy is OKAY! Big and Small, Play – Dance – Sing – Move and PAINT. It is our reason for living. She can be found on Facebook or her Etsy Shop
“If you cannot find the words, let color be your voice.” -Marnie Blum
“Color is a power that directly influences the soul.” -Wassily Kandinsky
“Now lay like a blanket over the land. Life and death, those two dichotomies, in stillness did not exist. How would I paint that? Georgia O’Keefe did it with bones. My painting would somehow have to communicate breath.” – Natalie Goldberg
Where did your journey as an artist start? I think all children are artists. They pick up the crayons and color from their heart. They do not worry if the tree is green. They color outside the lines. They draw marvelous stick figures with abandon. Then somehow we forget that artistic voice. I remember as a child, maybe 7 years old, creating a mosaic out of stones. I still remember that feeling of laying the colorful stones in a pattern from my heart. But by the time, I got to high school I knew I was NOT artistic. I could not draw a hand. I could not draw a face. I decided I was a band kid and pursued my interest in music.No one ever specifically said I was not an artist but I believed I could not be an artist if I couldn’t create something realistic.
Flash forward to my mid-forties. Two children – married –living in the suburbs. I wore a lot of grey and black. I owned a black Saturn VUE. I wanted to blend in, not bring attention to myself. I never felt I belonged to those around me who seemed so sure of themselves, their opinions, their religion. I did my best to fit in. I never cursed, did not speak of my doubts and disbelief in their religion. I did not doubt them when I was not allowed to teach their children. I worried about keeping my house ‘normal’. The walls were beige, the artwork from the shelves of cookie-cutter art. It all needed to blend in. And heaven forbid if anyone discovered I enjoyed a glass of wine!
My eldest daughter was so interested in art. I found an art teacher for her. She would go once a week. Her first painting was a simple painting of a bird in water. I was fascinated with it. She got the essence of the bird with a few colors and a paintbrush! As she continued her lessons, I would visit with her teacher. One day she asked me what I did for my creative self. I did not have an answer. I was in the midst of the quintessential mid-life crisis. Marriage unraveling, very unhappy. And she wanted to know what I did for my creative self? I told her I did not have time to be creative. (I also told the doctor who informed me I had pneumonia and needed to go home and simply rest for three days that I could not possibly do that until Friday. It was Tuesday!) My life continued to spiral out of control.
I became a Girl Scout leader for a group of girls. My favorite thing to do was to create little art projects for them. I LOVED finding these little projects and cutting out all the pieces and then letting them create. I would tell others that I obviously did not get to play with scissors and a glue stick enough when I was a child.
I had an old blank spiral art notebook that my daughter was not using. I had scrapbook paper from my short-lived attempt to create photo scrapbooks. I had a glue stick. I had a pair of scissors. I began cutting, gluing and creating. I’m not sure what I would call the end result; I was exploring the colors of the paper and simply playing. I had not yet heard of glue-booking. I just needed to get something down on the paper. I could feel myself emerging as I cut papers and glued them down.
Looking back at those beginning pages, I see someone trying so hard to voice all those emotions and feelings without words.
My next step was buying some cheap craft paints. I began spreading paint around, making backgrounds on journal pages. I have so many blank background pages in my journals from then. I loved the layering of the colors. (I still do!) The vast, majority of those pages were never ‘finished’. I was not comfortable enough to put the dark yucky parts of my life down on the pages. I was still trying to present a “normal” everything is FINE to those around me.
I started watching videos online. I started reading blogs. I discovered the joys of papermaking, of book binding. I discovered the many ways to transfer images since I felt I could not draw. My favorite was using beeswax! Oh, the smell of beeswax is so relaxing. And the textures you could create with it! A little stamp shop near my house offered classes making greeting cards using stamps and ink. The list goes on and on of what I played and experimented with. I felt this surge of energy as I discovered color and texture and line in my art journals. I created page after page – And with each page my soul opened a little.
My journey as an artist had begun.