Tachina Rudman-Young is a San Francisco–based artist and a creativity facilitator. She has been coming to Martha’s Vineyard with her husband and children since 2013, and is inspired by the Island’s incredible beauty. “I love islands. There’s a magic to them. I love the water and swimming and walking on the beach. The Island at sunset is like a show put on by God,” Rudman-Young said. “Also, the art on the Island is incredible. It’s my happy place.”
The pieces in “Light Over the Sound” span from 2013–23, and reflect water and sky, as well as plant life encountered at the water’s edge. Rudman-Young uses a playful, intuitive approach to create large, vibrant, abstract paintings. In both her studio practice and her teaching, she integrates her background in dance and the arts in the creative process.
“I took a number of classes over the years on the Island at Featherstone, with Roberta Gross. She is amazing — a rollercoaster ride of a teacher who gave me so much inspiration. It was incredible studying with her,” Rudman-Young said.
Rudman-Young is also inspired by nature. Her piece “Luminous” was influenced by seaweed she found while walking on the beach. “I looked at it for a long time, and took the colors I liked and went from there. I also became really interested in looking at seaweed underwater. I love how the light and the colors change, and how the seaweed moves. It looks like mermaid hair. This piece was my attempt to capture the water, the layers, and colors.”
Of course the wonderful thing about abstract art is that it is open-ended. Five people can look at a piece and see five different things. Rudman-Young’s “Cotton Candy” is a vibrant and fun painting done in pinks, salmons, and yellows, and has a wonderful sense of movement and depth. When I first saw it, ribbon candy or whipped cream came to mind. Upon closer inspection, I saw foliage.
“I do a lot of botanical work,” Rudman-Young said. “When I look at plants, my heart sings. I’ll often do an outline of a plant, and then create an abstract from it. I love the striated texture of plants.”
“Awaiting Darkness” is an impactful piece with a midsection of black, and lighter colors surrounding it. “In this painting I was attempting to combine high-key and low-key colors together with a lot of contrast. The top of the painting is subtle, with lighter hues than I normally do. Subtlety is not my middle name,” Rudman-Young laughed. “After twilight on the Island, it gets so dark, but you can still see color on the water. I was going for that. I was able to integrate bits of color from top to the bottom — like a reflection.”
As is often the case with artists, Rudman-Young doesn’t just paint. She also uses her love for art and movement to help others. “In college I majored in dance and fine arts. What’s really important to me is personal growth and self-expression. So I created my own healing and growth facilitation: Open Your Heart through Art,” Rudman-Young shared. “When I work with a group, we do a lot of breath work, intention setting, and process-oriented art, which is a tool for being present and connecting with yourself and others. For example, I might have folks who want to express grief or anger, and so we may use improvisational movement, or we might paint really large pieces with our eyes closed. It’s super-fun and joyful. Creativity is a cathartic process.”
So what’s next for Rudman-Young? A lot. “We all need teachers. So I’ve been taking classes for the past three years or so, and working on mixing colors more, slowing down, and taking my time,” she said. “I’m also working on life-size self-portraits, and themes around transformation. I’m trying to take my work in the direction of human emotion within the physical, trying to combine abstraction with figurative, which is challenging, but also really great.”
Rudman-Young will be running an online artist talk in December: “I love to create connections. So I’m hoping to gather people together online and talk about the show, nature, water, and more!”
“Light Over the Sound” will be on display at the Vineyard Haven library through December. Rudman-Young’s virtual artist talk will take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 pm. To register, email email@example.com. To learn more about Rudman-Young, visit rudmanfineart.com.