Multi-Medium Mas­tery

Artist Ta­nia Begg’s lim­it­less cre­ativ­ity, Florida lik­ing her Liz­zart

Gulf & Main - - Contents - BY DAVID ACEVEDO

For some artists, a predilec­tion for a spe­cific medium comes or­gan­i­cally. Years of learn­ing and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion of­ten pro­pose a medium of choice. Prac­tice and ded­i­ca­tion yield the pro­duc­tion of an artist’s in­ven­tory or body of work. In the case of visual artist Ta­nia Begg, a plethora of medi­ums forms her in­ven­tory of master pieces― paint­ings, jew­elry, bead­work and sculp­tures. Her abil­ity to master these medi­ums is un­canny and proven by the mul­ti­ple ac­co­lades re­ceived through­out her artis­tic ca­reer.

Ta­nia Begg is known best for her tri-di­men­sional wire, nat­u­ral bead and gem­stone sculp­tures, her col­or­ful and fes­tive “Liz­zart.” Some pieces have gained na­tional recog­ni­tion with pro­files in the pop­u­lar Bead and But­ton trade mag­a­zine, a gold medal for a bead lizard named Zena.

Orig­i­nally from Lon­don, Ta­nia Begg came here with her folks in 1965. She trained as a cos­me­tol­o­gist, work­ing in Long Is­land, New York, and Boca Ra­ton, Florida. In 1977, things shifted at meet­ing Lloyd Begg in Ber­muda. This marked a new and ex­cit­ing chap­ter in the artist’s life, as she would leave ev­ery­thing be­hind on a quest to find the per­fect place to raise a fam­ily. “We trav­eled through­out the United States and Canada in a 1977 Volk­swa­gen pop-top cam­per,” she says, “look­ing for the place where we would start our lives to­gether.”

With her fa­ther-in-law’s death in 1987, Ta­nia and Lloyd

“My art is a way to ac­knowl­edge the won­der­ment of the world around me.” —Ta­nia Begg

started fresh, cruis­ing in a 30-foot sail­boat, us­ing Ber­muda as a home base. Ta­nia dur­ing these years home­schooled the cou­ple’s three chil­dren, ex­press­ing her cre­ativ­ity mak­ing clothes and paint­ing the in­side of the ves­sel.

The Beggs re­set­tled in South­west Florida in 1997. “We de­cided that we needed a break from sail­ing. Cape Co­ral, with all its canals, was a per­fect place to even­tu­ally bring our boat and make it home,” says Ta­nia Begg, who be­gan cre­at­ing her beaded sculp­tures that

“She rein­vents our world ev­ery day.” —Lloyd Begg

same year. “When I discovered real stone beads, my sculp­tures turned into a menagerie of crit­ters, rang­ing from fish, frogs, cats, snakes, tur­tles and drag­on­flies.”

In 1998, Begg trained as a stone sculp­tor un­der the tute­lage of the late Jean In­man. Sadly, a fall and a bro­ken right hand halted her stone sculpt­ing, but not be­fore al­low­ing the artist to pro­duce amaz­ing pieces, a gi­raffe head made from a 46-pound alabaster stone, for in­stance.

Jew­elry art for Ta­nia Begg came nat­u­rally, taking on sil­ver­smithing classes at the Cape Co­ral Arts Stu­dio, then in­cor­po­rat­ing bead­work into her cre­ations. Not one to set­tle for a lone medium, she started in other sculp­tural work, train­ing and learn­ing a va­ri­ety of tech­niques such as air-dry­ing clay, Scotch tape and tis­sue pa­per. She de­liv­ered an ar­ray of mas­ter­ful work such as a re-cre­ation of Michelan­gelo’s David (bust), as well as life­like herons, roost­ers and par­rots.

In won­der­ment, Lloyd Begg ad­mires his wife’s ever-present in­spi­ra­tion. “She is on a wa­ter­fall of sen­sory ideas; she can’t keep up with what she wants to ex­press,” says Lloyd, mar­ried now to the artist for over 40 years. “I thank my lucky stars, be­cause she rein­vents our world ev­ery day.”

Ellen Bianchi, found­ing mem­ber of Har­borview Gallery in Cape Co­ral and a fel­low artist, has worked with Begg for years. “Her work is very di­verse, rang­ing from ad­di­tive and sub­trac­tive sculp­ture to acrylic paint­ings and jew­elry,” Bianchi says of Ta­nia Begg. “Each piece shows her ded­i­ca­tion to qual­ity, whether it be her care­fully cho­sen ma­te­ri­als or her skilled crafts­man­ship.”

Ta­nia Begg is also a tal­ented ab­stract painter, her work on can­vas with whim­si­cal and mu­si­cal touches. Her ap­proach to this medium is bold, let­ting col­ors and tex­ture be­come the fo­cal point. “My paint­ings are an es­cape from re­al­ity, which morphs to fit my mood,” she says.

“My art is a way to ac­knowl­edge the won­der­ment of the world around me, to take the com­mon­place and en­gi­neer my in­ter­pre­ta­tion, to let the vi­sion be no­ticed in a dif­fer­ent light,” con­cludes the artist, who finds all the in­spi­ra­tion she needs in her beau­ti­ful heart.

Dis­cov­er­ing stone beads, Ta­nia Begg be­gan fab­ri­cat­ing wire-frame crit­ters, earn­ing crit­i­cal ova­tions.

Ta­nia Begg's jew­elry is fun and shows her mas­tery of yet an­other medium.

Ta­nia Begg

Bead crit­ters and Begg's sculp­tures ( right) are part of her cre­ative in­ven­tory.

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