For Tammy Taylor, art is about telling the story of her life.
Taylor is the Artist of the Month for the Barrhead Art Club, and she will have her work on display Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the art gallery. She will be showing off either the original or copies of eight pieces she created last year.
As a self-taught artist, Taylor has been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember. Her earliest memory of her artwork is sitting on her grandmother’s knee and doodling while waiting for the homemade bread to rise. Since then, she has painted about 200 works of art, the majority of which she has sold, and she has passed on her love of art to her children.
“Art is a big part of our life,” Taylor said. “There isn’t a day that goes by when my children don’t have their own sketch pad out and drawing, or are colouring pictures. My paintings are my way of telling the story of my life.”
She said when she reflects back on her art, she can see pieces of her own life painted on canvass. For example, her husband works on oilrigs, and several of her paintings relate to life on oilrigs. Furthermore, she painted a scene of her youngest daughter playing on the farm with some chickens. It’s personal moments like that which inspire Taylor to create her best works, she said.
“I like to capture the essence of something,” she said. “If I’m not familiar with the subject, then it’s more difficult for me to paint, and that’s why commissions are the hardest for me. But, it’s also a good way to grow as an artist, because it forces you to step outside of your comfort zone.”
Taylor’s main subject is wildlife. She lives on a farm near Rich Valley with her four children, and her husband when he’s not working in the oil fields. Her everyday life provides ample subjects for her artwork, although she said there is little time to actually work on her paintings. Her children are home schooled, so she teaches them all day, then is kept busy with work around the farm. The only chance she gets to paint is after her children are tucked into bed for the night.
“I have no preferences with the wildlife, but it has to captivate me,” she said. “When I’m outside, I’m always looking at nature and putting it into a composition as to how I would paint it.”
Taylor said she is always trying to progress, and she learns from every single piece of art she creates.
“I learn by what not to do,” she said.
It was four years ago that Taylor first joined up with the Barrhead Art Club, but she has been sharing her passion for the craft since graduating high school. That’s when she first got involved with teaching.
“I brought a picture into a local business after I moved to Stony Plain, and they offered me an opportunity to teach an art class,” Taylor said. She has been teaching now for 16 years, which allows her to pass on her knowledge to budding artists.
“The biggest thing about being an artist is how you view things. Every day, we look at things, but we don’t really see them. That’s what I’m constantly doing — seeing things and paying attention to the details.”
If an artist has a passion and the desire for their craft, then it really isn’t work at all, she said. It also takes a lot of practice, and making mistakes is the only way to progress as an artist.
Taylor said the fall was very exciting for her, but also exhausting. She is now involved with the Night of Artists in both Edmonton and Onoway and was an invited featured artist with the Canadian Rodeo Finals in Edmonton.
“I’m not sure I want to be going in the direction where I’m doing too many show, but I’ll try it for now and see where it goes.”