The acrylic creations from Bethany Beach artist Tara Funk Grim possess a staggering precision that makes the finished work utterly recognizable, yet completely one-of-a-kind.
Though she sometimes works in her Bethany Beach studio, her specialty is work done en plein air, a French expression that means “in the open air.” The “on-site” style requires Grim to capture what she experiences in a relatively small amount of time.
“You constantly have to make choices right then and there,” she said. “It makes the art much more inventive. Everything’s much more real when you’re making these choices on the spot. It’s so amazing, when you’re there, outside, the wind’s blowing in your hair. Everything in front of you is changing every ten seconds. It’s a lot of fun.”
The spontaneity has brought her around the world, inspecting the smallest of details through fields, seascapes and even social commonplaces.
“I’m living in the moment,” she said, “and that’s what I like. You are like one with the universe.”
The acrylic paintings Grim creates take on her traditional style, with a medley of coloration and forms. She will often rough out a quick sketch of the potential medium — sometimes, two or three — capturing different angles and focuses.
“I like to show what things look like,” she said, “but I also use my own interpretation. I like to push things past what they really are.”
Most of her final works will take on an exaggerated form, with aspects that she incorporates from her own imagination, be it shapes, sizes or colors.
Grim takes a very simplistic approach to the appreciation of her work.
“If you like it, it stays, if you don’t like it, it goes” she said. “That’s how it works. It comes down to what you want it to be.”
A returning artist in the SouthEastern Delaware Artist Studio Tour (SEDAST), Grim’s feature this year is a special Thanksgiving exhibition. Much of her work featured on this year’s tour is plein air work inspired by recent trips to France and to Venice, Italy. While staying right on Venice’s Grand Canal, overlooking the Rialto Bridge, during her most recent visit, Grim was able to depict magnificent views of gondolas passing by, exquisite sunsets reflecting off the rippling canals and the incredible architecture of the historic city.
Over the years, boardwalk scenes have also allowed her to express her talent through color. Vibrant collaborations from the Ocean City and Rehoboth boardwalks line the walls of her studio, each with an original aspect to them.
“I move stuff around a little, as I see it,” Grim said. “Something in my painting may look closer to something else, or I might raise the horizon line. It’s all depending on what I feel.”
Growing up outside of Atlantic City, N.J., she developed an early fondness for the beach. Much of her art, wherever it takes her, possesses some sort of maritime feel.
For Grim, art goes deeper than what’s on the surface.
“It’s not about making a pretty picture,” she said. “It’s about the colors on the surface. You want it captivating to look at. It doesn’t matter if it’s a church or flowers. All that matters is that it’s a wonderful thing to look at.”
Grim also teaches art workshops at her Bethany Beach studio along Coastal Highway.
“Anyone can do something like this,” she said, “and it’s great to be able to help them and give them the support they need to come up with these pieces.”
For more information about her studio, contact her at (302) 537-9116 or visit www.tarasstudio.com online.
Grim’s “7 Days in Provence,” displaying an arrangement in yellows and blues of flowers and still life, will be given away in this year’s Art-in-the-Hat raffle. Tickets for the Art-in-the-Hat raffle cost $10 apiece or $25 for three, and can be purchased the day of the tour at all of the studios, for any participating artist.
The SEDAST tour, which originated in 1995, is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Nov. 23 and 24. Participants can travel from studio to studio of featured artists from the Bethany Beach, Dagsboro and Fenwick Island areas, taking in the splendor of different crafts and artwork.
For more information, including studio locations and additional artists featured on the tour, visit www.artstudiotour.com online.