Kandy Tate Artist‘Beautiful landscapes and personality-rich livestock portraits look whimsical.
A fafter finishing work on his art booth during the famous Round Top Antiques Week, Texas, artist Kandy Tate quickly ducked into the mud behind a nearby barn to photograph a herd of cattle with newborn calves at a watering hole. It was not a mission to capture kindness. As an artist, Tate wants to look at colors, to dissect how light hits animals’ fur, to explore their personalities. Photos will eventually become paintings.
“To paint is to learn to see,” says Tate, who became known for his paintings of landscapes and animals. Recently his work has veered into character-rich, whimsical portraits of cattle – think cows with curlers and pigs with beads.
Alright, maybe at least a little cute. But also accomplished.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Tate grew up with supportive parents who nurtured her love of art through art lessons from an early age. As a young girl, she was fascinated by everything around her, especially the visual parade of colors and shapes. She majored in art education and painting, earned her master’s degree at the University of Kansas, and for a time taught college art. Eventually, Tate left to focus full-time on her own painting.
“I first see the painting in my mind before I paint it,” Tate explains. “I just can’t get it out of my mind. I have this burning desire to go on the web. Sometimes it turns out the way you imagined and sometimes it doesn’t. Corn [the only thing] I’ve always wanted to paint and make others appreciate and appreciate what I love too.
Her enjoyable work has been featured regularly on TV and film, including Kristen Wiig’s new film Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar. Tate even had the honor of having one of his paintings – First Lady Barbara Bush and the presidential family dog Millie – hanging in the White House.
In 2006, Tate and her late husband moved from Kansas to New Mexico, where the couple had traveled frequently over the years. “I like to paint my landscapes on location, and living here in New Mexico, everything around me is a painting. The colors are beautiful. The intensity of the sunlight, the different textures, the adobe buildings – it’s always an inspiration here,” says Tate.
Approaching the Sandias Storm
Landscape painting was, and still is, a big part of Tate’s work. But her animal paintings have really taken off, especially since she started setting up stalls at some of the nation’s biggest rodeos, leading to requests for commissioned paintings of horses.
With art, says Tate, you are always learning. “Every painting is a learning experience,” she says. And this is an opportunity. “With last year’s virus disrupting everyone on the planet, I feel like looking at a painting, especially if it’s something more comedic, relieves stress. You l hang on the wall, and it’s optimistic. It’s joyful. It takes you away for a few moments and makes you happy. I think we need happiness. We need a break from our daily lives and a little laugh.”
Kandy Tate is represented by Weems Gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico (weemsgallery.com) and Truman’s Furniture Outlet & More in Ruidoso, New Mexico (trumansfurnitureoutlet.com). See her in person February 10-27, 2022 at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo at the AT&T Center and March 19-April 2, 2022 at the Arbors Spring Antique Show in Round Top, Texas. Visit the artist online at kandytate.com.
Excerpt from our January 2022 issue
Photography: (All images) courtesy of Kandy Tate