image courtesy ofO. Rufus Lovett

tamara robertson in front of "pieces of my heart"

Making art has been essential to Tamara's life since her earliest memories. Reflecting on the early cavewoman art of her childhood, she finds circles to be one of the basic structures that always appeared.This fascination with the circle prevails in her current work. Even if the overall form begins as a traditional rectangle, a radial balance is often part of the design, though sometimes obscurely. In her words, "Circles have their own delicate version of grace and beauty as one of nature’s recurring motifs."

Tamara's artistic journey began in her childhood in a suburb of Houston, Texas. She made art from her earliest memories. Part of her home school education included frequent trips with her mom to theHouston Museum of Fine Arts, introducing her to the great masters early on. By the time Tamara was in high school, she was consistently winning art shows in the local art leagues as well as taking commissions for small drawings. 

Tamara enrolled in college full-time at age 16 and trained as a graphic designer. She worked as a designer for several years until one day she realized she was only truly happy when working in the studio and was tired of life as a “Sunday Painter.”  This led her to enroll in graduate school atStephen F. Austin State Universitywhere she initially honed her abilities in the realistic rendering of subject matter. The most notable of these works was composed of representationally painted figures, fragmented and laid out into sculptural, multi-leveled blocks. This series was Tamara's way of inviting abstraction into her work and began the process of overturning the realistic/representational concepts to which she had previously adhered. 

As she became more fully engaged in art study and creation, Tamara felt something was missing in her work. In trees, she found the solution. She spent her entire life living in areas overshadowed by the grandeur of immense trees.  One day she “saw” her first tree branch: it had a sensuously curved shape, a beautiful deep mahogany color, and was amazingly smooth to the touch.  Eureka! She had realized her first inspiration.

Since completing graduate school, Tamara has continued to explore these revelations. After several years of teaching art in college, she realized she could only be happy making art full-time. Having the opportunity to work full-time on her art, Tamara has renewed her discovery process and learned her working method has a lot to do with the spellbinding effect art has had upon her psyche.  

Tamara thrives upon the influence of her surroundings. Thus many of her materials have come from sojourns across the southern portion of the United States and the environment surrounding her studio on the shores of a rural lake and the encircling piney woods. She responds to this stimulation thereby inventing new techniques, acquiring new skills and making each new work innovative in some way. Her work is fueled by a contrasting variety of concepts such as rusted and shiny, light and heavy, delicate and rugged.