About Tracy Ostmann:
As a native of rural Missouri, my artistic roots grew from a family of craftsmen and artisans—wood workers, clockmakers, furniture builders, potters and painters. At the age of 17, I inherited my grandmother’s oil paints and for the first time tried my own hand at the craft. I distinctly remember making my first painting—an 11 x 16 portrait of figures skating on an icy pond. The scent of the oils was strong, and the paints were overly thick and difficult to work with because I was unfamiliar with linseed and mineral spirits. There, amidst the smells and sounds so characteristic of the Missouri woods, painting became my way of entertaining myself and exploring the world around me.
After getting my BFA from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, I moved to Chicago where I received a Post Baccalaureate certificate from The Art Institute of Chicago and began a decorative painting business that allowed me to earn a living while I continued to focus on my studio work.
Today, my work reflects both the events and activities of my life in Garfield Park, Chicago, where I live with my husband and two children, and my forays into the natural world.
Moved by the rewards and challenges that characterize my own experience as an urban mother, and informed by my observations of how other families navigate the contours of city life, my “Master and Servant” series depicts families engaging in the daily activities of contemporary existence—barbequing, washing the laundry, playing in the back yard, cooking, night-time soothing. At times I find these simple moments surprisingly gratifying, and each painting is a “snapshot” that documents one such fragment of time. Considered together, however, the series is intended to bloom into a narrative of our modern family experience. Every piece presents a contemplation on these timeless activities—a consideration of how they are undertaken today, and of how they were undertaken by the women artisans of my heritage. I build the surface of each work with layers of paint and glazes, and use the play of color, pattern, and drawing in a way that suggests the story that lies within, but deliberately leaves room for the viewer’s imagination.
In my “Big Birds” series, my urban life and experience in the natural world converge when I create larger-than-life seagulls, robins, barn swallows and other birds that look steadily, sometimes humorously, at the viewer, with a gaze reminiscent of the momentary connection that occurs when making eye contact with a passing stranger, leaving us with the sensation of having glimpsed another’s interior world. I strive to have each bird, whether playful or pensive, reflect its own character, experiences and perspective. For now, I will continue to explore the narrative genre through my work. And I would like to expand my birds series, particularly by including new species that I have not worked with before. I also plan on experimenting more with the balance betweensubject and background, and using texture, depth, paint thickness and other techniques to enhance my subjects and their surroundings.
About Tracy Ostmann’s Design:
Aiding the Green is about birds that inhabit the surroundings of golf courses and how they benefit the golf course through a symbiotic relationship. After researching various bird species that inhabit golf courses, I have carefully selected four attractive and very active birds who have a great impact on golf courses: The Flicker, American Robin, The Chickadee, and the Purple Finch.
The Flicker and the American Robin both spend time on the ground feeding on pests such as Ants, which make up half of the Flicker’s entire subsistence. Other pests kept under control are white grubs, dung beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and wireworms. Chickadees will also feed on those same pests plus aphids and larvae. The Purple Finch though mostly a seedeater also feeds on a diet of insects. Other golf course nuisances these birds prey on are clover-leaf, clover weevils, larvae, March-flies, crane-flies, the chinch-bug, mole cricket, crawfish, and certain small bees that burrow in the green.
Each of the four birds will be painted directly onto the golf ball facing out at their audience and or looking at them. The shape of the ball will enhance their big full bellies.
The base will be an illustration of the diet these birds find on the golf course.
Visit Tracy Ostmann’s Website: www.tracyostmann.com