Tami Hort: Realistic Portraits in Oil

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

Oil painter and pastel artist Tami Hort was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, and was labeled an artist from day one, winning an art award in first grade, which she says secretly secured the artist within her.

Tami uses her creative skills to educate home-schooled students of all ages. She also provides art enrichment programs for seniors and adults, and art therapy for those in assisted living, while continuing to win many artistic awards for her beautiful work.

The gorgeous portrait below is of Tami’s daughter, Alysia, who was an extremely patient model during a workshop taught by Zhaoming Wu.


Folds and creases in Alysia’s dress tumble down and collect upon the floor like a romantic, soft whisper. The shadow play seen in the dress is simply astounding. Diligently following Wu’s artistic process, blue and gray shadows are dropped heavily in first before the dress is tinged with blush and yellow hues for added depth.

Final steps include multiple layers of white cast with a brush in different directions to give fullness and sheen to Alysia’s skirt. Her golden hair and exposed shoulder catch the light, which imparts a warm glow on Alysia as she sits deep in thought.

Another one of Tami’s family members is seen in the painting below, entitled Captivated. Always curious and alert, their cat seems enchanted—if only for a moment—by a single ray of sunshine spilling directly over the table on which it sits.


We can see the light paint brilliant stripes in the cat’s furry coat, while also catching upon a hint of a bell attached to its collar, and reflecting vividly from deep, emerald eyes widened in fascination. As a final touch, faint gray whiskers arch forward against a jet black background, bringing stunning detail and lifelike quality to the painting.

Finally, There’s a Story in the Eyes, is a pastel piece depicting a man from Banff, in Alberta, Canada. His wildly unkempt beard, aged and tanned face, yet crystal-clear blue eyes acknowledge his mounting wisdom and adventurous spirit. And, although the painting has yet to be completed, I believe its unfinished background allows us to appreciate the portrait of this man even more.


Upon studying his face, I speculate the trials and joys he has experienced throughout his life. I imagine him to be hardworking and sincere, with a story always on the tip of his tongue, begging to be wryly told. Perhaps it is a recollection of a boyish escapade, a crazy tale of his reckless days growing up, or his dreams of journeys yet to be had.

I lost myself in Tami’s blog, as I’m sure you will if you head out to her website. Step-by-step, she shows how she accomplishes her wonderful portraits, and more. Be sure to check out “Nose Creek” and “Fields of Glory” when you’re there!


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