Tamara Haase once doubted whether or not she could make a living as an artist. Jaw-dropping murals she painted in Mansfield and at the Covington Visitors Center now draw rave reviews.
by Chris Bridges
Tamara Haase traces her love of art back to her childhood.
While she did not exactly envision one day making a living through her craft, the early passion was certainly there. “It was always something I found that I was good at as a child,” Haase said. “I was the student in class where people would look at what I was doing and say, ‘Wow! That looks really good.’” Inspired by those early classroom compliments, she soon began taking art classes from a neighbor a couple of times each week. “These classes weren’t just arts and crafts,” she said. “They had a big impact on my talent. My teacher was very serious. Three of us who took lessons went on to art school.”
Raised in Gwinnett County, Haase attended school in various places because her family’s home was constantly rezoned into a new district. When she was 16, she moved to Social Circle. Haase graduated from high school in 1988. Today, she is married with two children, ages 18 and 13. After living in Washington for several years, Haase moved back to Georgia in 1998. She briefly owned a frame shop near The Square in downtown Covington and realized she had the itch to do more. Haase now owns and operates Georgia Brushstrokes, and her artwork has drawn positive reviews from those with whom she has worked. Her artistic drive guided her to painting larger murals, including one for the new Covington Welcome Center.
The display highlights scenes and images from hit television series and movies that were shot in and around Newton County. Characters that were portrayed by Carroll O’Conner and Howard Rollins on “In the Heat of the Night” are featured prominently, along with the General Lee from “The Dukes of Hazzard”—a show that maintains its popularity decades after it went off the air. The mural also re-creates an airplane that landed on The Square during the filming of “Cannonball Run II,” and a sign that welcomes visitors to Mystic Falls, Virginia, pays tribute to “The Vampire Diaries.” Haase also included the vintage home after which Tara in “Gone with the Wind” was patterned, along with the City Pharmacy building. “I thought visitors would be interested in knowing that it dates back to the 1940s,” she said. A mule-drawn trolly enhances the historic feel. It took Haase approximately two weeks to complete the painting. “The response has been good so far,” she said. “People seemed to be pleased with it. Visitors seem to be eager to have their picture taken in front of it.”
The first outdoor mural that Haase drew was in Mansfield. She completed it five years ago.
“That one got my career started as an artist,” she said. “Even though I had been to art school and had a degree in painting, I was not doing anything which would pay the bills. I would paint portraits here and there.”
“I really wish everyone could have the encouragement I did. At times, I wondered if being an artist would ever work for me.”Tamara Haase
Haase revealed she was approached about giving private lessons while giving a presentation at an area garden club. That conversation eventually led to talk about painting a mural in Mansfield.
“I was desperate to help my family financially and didn’t feel I was trained to do anything else,” Haase said. “I prayed very hard about what I needed to do with the talent I had been blessed with and how I could help my family. My advice to everyone is to be sure and pray to get on the right track.”
In the past two years, Haase created Georgia Brushstrokes. Outside of painting larger murals, Haase decorates windows for area businesses with themes ranging from Christmas to Valentine’s Day to Easter. After learning about the art of window painting—she said she had no idea what type of paint to use or even how her artwork would turn out when she started—Haase can now be seen painting windows for local shops.
“It actually beats being in a studio,” she said. “I like talking with people. As they walk by, many times people will strike up a conversation.”
Haase admits she feels fortunate to be doing something in a field she has always enjoyed. She hopes she can inspire other young people who are interested in art, whether through painting, drawing or other aspects of the craft.
“I really wish everyone could have the encouragement I did,” Haase said. “At times, I wondered if being an artist would ever work for me.”
For more information, contact Tamara Haase at 678-591-6994 or Tamara@GeorgiaBrushstrokes.com.