Abstract and landscape marry. By Amanda Bedgood • photos by Robin may
Dr. Tami LaGraize remembers the first time she saw a Kelli Kaufman painting. It was in the Lafayette artist’s dining room.
“I asked, ‘Who painted this?’” LaGraize recalls, standing just feet from her own newly commissioned Kaufman piece.
LaGraize and her husband were visiting the Kaufmans’ home when a piece caught her eye. And it’s clear now why LaGraize took note. Kaufman’s work often marries abstract and landscape in a way that is, simply put, art.
Kaufman, who originally hales from New Iberia, has painted since high school. The wife of a surgeon, she got more serious about her painting while her husband was doing his residency.
“It was our first house and we had no money. I did it to put art on the wall,” she says, amused by the memory.
The newlyweds lived out of state for years before returning to Acadiana in 2005. It was then that Kaufman became more serious about her work. About four years ago on a trip to The Big Easel art festival in River Ranch, she felt she, too, could have a spot at the art event.
“Some of mine are as good. I could have a booth,” Kaufman says of her first inklings.
Kaufman stills remember how unusual it felt to call herself an artist as she approached the man in charge of The Big Easel — Jeffery McCullough.
“I said, ‘my name is Kelli and I’m an artist.’”
After emailing some of her work, she was in for the next year’s event and by 2010 was really selling her pieces. Today, McCullough is her agent.
Kaufman usually paints in the mornings after her two children are off to school, and she draws inspiration from what she knows best.
“I love painting what’s familiar. What’s Louisiana. Marshscapes,” Kaufman says.
And it is those marshscapes that often have clients calling. She typically chooses muted colors. And her work is something that is kind to the soul at the end of a long day.
“Helps you wind down and calm down from life,” she says. “The art of creating it is meditation. I’m not focused on anything but the present moment.”
It is her hope that the feeling she has creating the work is just what those who see it feel.
“Escape into a calm scene in your home,” Kaufman says.
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JUL 27 The news gets worse in the case of the 11th hour bill that added a bunch of money to the retirement income of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson. Blogger CB Forgotston says here that the annual increase was not $30K, it was more like $55K. Also, it was Jindal buddy Neil Riser who tacked the action onto another bill - something he didn't feel compelled to tell us until now. But here's the best part - Edmonson turned down the money on Friday.
JUL 28 Finally, someone has pointed out that the far-right people who scream at immigrant children are not acting as Jesus would. Blogger Robert Mann runs a comparison of the actions of these alleged "Christians" against what the Bible says about their Savior -- and they come up lacking. Big time.
JUL 27 Here's the first of four pieces from Minnesota Public Radio about the horrible legacy of Gilbert Gauthe, the pedophile who also was a priest and used his position to obtain victims. The story gets into the most shameful aspect of that time - the protection Gauthe received from the leaders of the church. This four-piece story promises to be more comprehensive than anything we've seen, because it is looking back from so far. Some of the information here has only been released recently.
JUL 28 This story in the Picayune is a hopeful, happy one for a change. It's about a young woman who faced family problems that led to her dropping out of school. But now, just a few years later, she's completed two programs aimed at troubled kids and has landed a job in the kitchen of a John Besh restaurant.
JUL 27 Columnist James Gill has something for the Baton Rouge Metro Council -- and they could probably use it. He's giving them a piece of his mind in this post, taking them to task for being too (dumb, homophobic, gutless?) hesitant to pass the so-called tolerance ordinance, which basically says you can't discriminate against gay people in that fair city.
JUL 27 When you're telling people they have lost their jobs, you have to be careful about how you do it. When more layoffs were announced last week to the employees of the Office of Group Benefits, apparently that wasn't handled well, blogger Tom Aswell argues in this post. He's also got some info on who gets to stay - and how much they make. (Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
JUL 28 After three years of revisions, the proposed new zoning ordinance for the city of New Orleans is ready for public review, this post on NOLA Defender reports. The plan is available starting today on the city's website and in several locations in the city, NoDef reports.
JUL 27 Here's an interesting infographic from LaPolitics on getting negative in political campaigning. There are several people who might want to take note - but chances are, they can't help themselves.
JUL 25 If you're not aware, there's a conflict among pro-choicers and pro-lifers going down in New Orleans. Anti-abortionists are protesting in the city this week, but those who support access to abortion have also been active in the city as a result. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow takes a look at what's going on in this clip, posted on Gambit.
JUL 25 Education Superintendent John White probably shouldn't sign a long lease on anything in Louisiana, Blogger Lamar Parmentel writes, because our reformer in chief is now in a situation "from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him." Lamar thinks that White is going to have to quit, and probably sooner rather than later.
JUL 25 This post on the Wall Street Journal examines the case of a Metairie physician who is making millions by filing whistle-blower lawsuits. His suits accuse corporations of defrauding federal agencies like Medicare, and when he wins he gets whistle-blower rewards - in the tens of millions of dollars. (You can view the story using your Facebook account, but if you don't want to do that, here's an abbreviated version in the Advocate.)
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