Opus Resource Library
Chat with Buffy Kaufman from the USA
Opus Resource Library

Buffy Kaufman is a Brand Ambassador for Daniel Smith, known for her captivating watercolor pieces inspired by nature in Southern California. She's also a self-taught artist and experienced art teacher, who has mentored at-risk youth and teaches both children and adults in-person and online.

Grab your paintbrushes and get ready to dive into the colorful world of watercolor art with Buffy Kaufman, as Daniel Smith's friends recently chatted with their talented Brand Ambassador.

Why do you make art? 

It is an outpouring of the greatest loves of my life – faith, color and nature. Art has been a constant friend throughout my life, an expression when words fail me, an outlet for every season, from joy to mourning.

How long have you been painting? 

Even in my earliest childhood memories, I made my mark. From humble beginnings, I would tear the front and last blank pages of my mother’s books to use as sketch paper, a ball point pen was my medium. Drawing, sketching and doodling would hold me until adulthood, where I would have access to proper art supplies and a pathway of learning. Having explored acrylics and water-based oils, I began serious art studies in 2018, and settled on watercolor as the main vehicle for my artistic expression.

Did you have formal art training? 

No. I am a self-taught artist. My learning pathway includes a growing library of art books, an invaluable DVD set by Tony Couch, live artist demos to include some favorites – Soon Warren, Craig Anderson, and Joseph Zbukvic, as well as watercolor workshops with California watercolorist and mixed media artist, Helen Schafer Garcia.

Are you a working artist or a hobbyist? 

You will find me working – my core belief is that art is better shared, so I recycle my studies back into the local art community by teaching in-person classes, and  also teach internationally on my YouTube channel.

What inspires you?

I love living in geographically diverse Southern California, with its sprawling desert, coastline and mountain ranges. It is in the quiet of nature I feel closest to God, and in those moments I find that colors, light, shadows, wildlife and vignettes are illuminated for me to photograph and later paint in studio.

What kind of music do you listen to while painting? 

Alternative/Indie –  I like the vibes of bands like Paper Kites, Lord Huron, Hollow Coves, Hozier, Angus and Julia Stone, Death Cab for Cutie to name a few. Being hard of hearing, the lyrics are not distracting and the soft atmospheric instrumentals influence my work.

Have you had a mentor? 

Much credit must be given to Helen Schafer Garcia. She encouraged me to begin showing in small local galleries, to begin teaching, and then again later to show on a larger scale. It is thanks to her and a handful of incredible artist friends (special thanks to Lee, Connie, Karen, Jan, and Diane) that I found my confidence to enter watercolor competitions, associations and societies. Their critiques, advice, and introductions helped me navigate the world of art and become a watercolor instructor.

Do you paint every day? 

No, I try to keep a balance of work, study and family life. My goal is to set aside 2 hours of highly-focused energy per weekday. If it is studying, painting or a photography trip – giving it my full attention is a best practice worth mentioning.

Do you paint one piece at a time or work on several at the same time? 

I work one painting at a time, but in sets or series. Often I like to stay on one subject until I can break its riddle, meet its challenge, or feel it fits into my artistic vision.

Do you create a concept piece first? 

Yes. Practice sketches, paper prep, color swatching, and smaller alla prima paintings lead up to the actual artwork.

Do you prefer painting in studio or plein air? 

I am a studio painter. Currently my field work consists of photography. I hope to incorporate some outdoor sketch and wash studies.

How many core colors do you use?

Six – I have curated a limited palette (nicknamed the “Limitless Palette”) of 6 colors that create endless blends and value changes, from deeply saturated vivid color to soft pastels and neutrals. My palette is Hansa Yellow Light, Quinacridone Sienna, Quinacridone Red, Quinacridone Magenta, Phthalo Turquoise, and Phthalo Blue – Red Shade. This palette has been critical for learning/teaching color mixing.

Tubes, pans or sticks? 

I pour my own full pans from tubes, and cut the sticks to fit into full pans.

When do you know that your piece is finished? 

It depends if it’s practice or production. When it’s  practice , it is finished when I have learned its lesson. Every time paint comes to paper, I am learning, exploring and practicing technique. If it’s production, then the painting is done when it has reached its goal. I will write notes of what my artistic vision is for the piece and then paint until I have reached it.

Learn More: 

Buffy Kaufman Website: Buffy Kaufman
Instagram: @watercolorpour

You Tube: @watercolorpour

Daniel Smith Website: Daniel Smith Artist's Materials

Instagram: @danielsmithartistsmaterials

YouTube: @DANIELSMITHArtistColor

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