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Light of Hope

Oil paintings by Tan Armentrout

Tan Armentrout paints all night to capture the images that fill her mind. Rivers and flowers of her native Thailand, reflective waters and forests of her Virginia home, oceans and skies of an enchanted land––Tan captures her visions of nature in land and seascapes, and still life oils on canvas. Her treatment of light and reflections inspire a sense of hope after a long night.

As a fifteen-year-old, Tan met artists in the Thai Air Force, in which her mother served. Their teaching got her started, but she is otherwise self-taught. Still today, the family farm on the Chao Phraya River inspires her use of vivid and verdant colors, with memories of tropical flowers, bananas, coconuts, and mangos. Those colors fill her still life paintings, and the idyllic landscapes of dramatic Thai coastlands.

As a two-decade resident of Virginia, Tan takes inspiration from the hills of the Piedmont and mountains of the Shenandoah. “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere,” says Tan. She encourages her art students to gain the same calm and peace of mind that she does when she paints: the freedom to forget daily problems, to break the rules, to experiment, and to delight in imagination.

Memory and imagination drive Tan through the night and into the morning as she paints. As the sun sets, her mind fills with the colors of the scene she wants to portray. When morning comes, another completed landscape or still life rests on the easel.

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