It’s a colorful life: a local woman portrays a full-time journey to art

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COVINGTON, Georgia. – With a palette of paint on her hands and creativity flowing through her veins, Tamara Haase loves to bring Georgia’s cities to life with the stroke of a brush.

The Jasper County artist recently completed a mural honoring the area’s film history in Covington and has since traveled the area painting the windows of various storefronts with Christmas cheer.

Haase has been working as a full-time artist for about five years, which she said was still a surprise, as few artists are financially able to stay full-time. When asked how it all started, she called her story a “long and winding journey” – a life she had never really imagined.

Originally from Gwinnett County, Haase was introduced to the art from an early age. She recalled receiving after school lessons from a woman who lived in her family’s neighborhood.

“She really planted this seed,” Haase said. “It wasn’t just silly stuff. It was really serious… which improved my skills a lot.

In high school, she wasn’t the brightest student, Haase said, but she still got A’s in art class. But what about life after high school? Haase didn’t think college was for her, until she was introduced to the Atlanta College of Art, now known as Savannah College of Art and Design. Haase said she enjoyed her time there, but couldn’t quite fit in. So, after a year, she transferred to the University of Georgia. Still struggling to find the right fit, Haase transferred again to West Georgia College the following year, where she graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

After graduating, she packed her bags and moved to Washington State. But it was not for his artistic career. In fact, Haase said she didn’t do anything art while in Washington. Instead, she spent time working in a framing shop, which would lead her to her next business.

Around 1997, Haase returned to Georgia and opened a picture frame store just off Covington Square. She said business was good, but it had become too much for her.

“We operated for a year and it was beyond my readiness,” she recalls. “We’ve had a lot of business, but I realized I wasn’t prepared to be a businessman… I’m just not a boss. “

She then decided to sell the business and start a family, raising a daughter and a son. And it was around this time that she started picking up her brush again to paint portraits or clients here and there.

About six years ago, while teaching private lessons to a woman from Mansfield, Haase said the ball began to roll.

“She was talking about how the city needed a mural, so I was like, ‘OK, let’s go,’” Haase said.

And so, they did. After meeting with local historians and clearly understanding what was wanted, Haase painted the fresco. He can still be seen today, right next to Ga. Hwy. 11 next to the Roosters restaurant.

“It kind of started the ball rolling,” Haase said. “But it wasn’t a fast roll.”

After the mural was finished, Haase said she was approached to paint windows to decorate for Christmas. The first time around, she didn’t think much about the request, but as the requests became more frequent, Haase figured it might be something she should take on.

After watching a series of tutorials on YouTube and researching what types of paint worked best, she created flyers and went “everywhere” to distribute them.

But no one called.

“One day I went to Bradley’s Bar-B-Que to give them a flyer, and [owner Brad Stewart] it happens to be there. He took my flyer, looked at it and said, “When can you do this? Tomorrow?’ And I said, ‘OK.’ So he said, ‘Sign me up.’ “

After Haase painted “Christmas pigs” for the barbecue, she said the window art became a hit.

It was also at this point that Haase realized that she could become a full-time artist.

“It was like all of a sudden I was making more than I ever did in a day, and it was consistent,” she said. “Because as soon as I finished Christmas, people wanted Valentine’s Day; then in the spring, “hey, let’s do Easter,” and all that stuff. Then in between, people wanted me to do some teaching work. I was never too picky about what I did, exactly, as long as I was painting. My professor at the university told me that if it’s painting and you make money, you use your skills and that’s a good thing.

“Every year gets better and better,” she added.

Since becoming a full-time artist, Haase has developed a clientele that stretches mainly from Covington to Monroe, Social Circle and to Monticello, where she painted a ‘welcome’ mural for the town in Jasper County, but it has also completed work. in Austell, Roswell, Dawsonville and Eatonton. Haase has also received inquiries from cities in Alabama, although she was still hesitant to do anything outside of the state.

Currently, Haase has said she is pretty much booked until next year, so she won’t be able to do any window painting until the next Christmas season. This year, its slate is full of murals.

Haase said her journey to becoming a full-time artist was simply a “thing of God,” but she wouldn’t have done it any other way.

“Before I became a full-time artist, I hated being confined to a chair,” she said. ” I am sociable ; I like talking to people and meeting people, moving around and being outdoors. So the mural didn’t come until later, but after a lot of praying, that was sort of the answer.

Haase said one of his favorite things about painting in the town of Covington was seeing and hearing about the joy his work brings not only to locals but tourists as well.

“I heard from some people that there would be a group of girls around the corner [at Pace Street] and then just scream with excitement [after seeing the mural featuring the Vampire Diaries and Sweet Magnolias, among others]”Haase said.” To hear about it and see it is just exhilarating. “

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