Sunday, February 11, 2018

Australian Painter Tammy Andrews Shares Her Story

We have a friend from Australia who moved to Duluth for a year, a free spirit who is embracing as much of life as she can, learning to play music, make art and immerse herself in new experiences. When I learned about her artist friend Tammy Andrews back home Down Under, I reached out to see if I could share her work and her story here on my blog.

EN: What part of Australia do you live in? Is this where you grew up?

Tammy Andrews: Born in 1972, in a small wheat belt town of Western Australia which features huge shimmering salt lakes, big blue skies and a smattering of a mostly farming population.

I now live and work in Esperance on the south coast of Western Australia, a medium town of 15 000 which is renowned for its aqua blue beaches and stunning heathland saturated with a dazzling array of wildflowers.

EN: How did you come to make a career as an artist?

TA: During my school years it was recognised I had an aptitude for art and literature and was something I explored. Leaving high school at 16 my studies in art and design commenced, however I was distracted by love!

Married and with two children at the age of 23 I returned again to study, more determined than ever. I worked very hard at my practice for the next several years experimenting with techniques and mediums enjoying this freedom however primarily I was focused on honing down my skills.

Listening very carefully to those with experience and success taught me to understand the commercial side of art and the professional way to promote oneself and work. During my career of twenty years as a professional artist with oil painting as my medium of choice, I have exhibited my work in seven solo shows and numerous group exhibitions, taught painting to others on a weekly basis and have owned and operated two galleries.

EN: There’s something magical about watching creativity happen. How do you keep from getting stuck in a rut?

TA: Creativity is a natural part of my being and I cannot imagine living without it in some form. Fortunately I don’t seem to have much of a problem garnering ideas and moulding them into an outcome, whether that outcome be intentional or other.

My favourite way of working though is to gather the seeds of ideas or a comprehensive weave of stories which could develop over a year or so, researching historical content and hearsay and fashioning these bulbs into a body work which carries my own spin.

EN: You work in a variety of mediums, all of them well. Can you explain the Mondrain series, how this came about? The results are fascinating.

TA: Although oil painting is my signature style I do work in a variety of mediums, most recently the Mondrain series which feature ink, printmaking and mixed media and is quietly recognising the seascape of the Archipelago and the foreign beings who infiltrated shores only previously inhabited by indigenous folk. The works are continuing on from a larger body of work called Sea Follies which follows the true stories and plight of whalers, sealers and Esperances’ very own pirate Black Jack Anderson who arrived on a whaling boat from Massachusetts in the early 1800’s. Fascinating stuff!

EN: Who are some artists who you’ve followed? Who have been your biggest influences?

"Mondrain" -- 30x30 cm
TA: I’m a lover of lush painterly artists. Some who have really influenced me are Gustav Klimt , Chaim Soutine, Australians Margret Preston ,Hugh Ramsay and my lady of the moment is Lucy Culliton. My teachers also had a role in shaping my dedication as I was able to witness their own serious working careers and some have become special friends in my life.

EN: If you could be in any period of history, as an artist, when and where would you be?

TA: If I had to choose a period in history to be an artist it would most likely be right now as I feel you can as an artist live and work wherever you feel most nurtured and content with access to so many avenues of social media and networks to propel your work. Perhaps my driven nature would allow me in any age to be a successful female artist and I feel fortunate to be respected and supported professionally in my endeavours but I can’t be sure this would have always been the case. Having said that – oh to be a fly on the wall – somewhere decadent and ratbaggy!

"Mondrain Treasure Island" -- 30x23 cm
EN: What are you working on now for your next show?

TA: My first half of 2018 involves commission work for clients.

Following this I am thrilled to have a place with accomplished artist Connor Waltons’ Intensive Figure Study Workshop in June which will be taken in Ireland.

I am very much looking forward to slowing my natural intuition down and breathing in something new and different and seeing where this takes me.

EN: Can you list the best places to see your art in person?

TA: You can view my current artwork for sale in person at Gallery Baxter and Maree, 87A Dempster Street Esperance. Western Australia.

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For more, or to commission the artist to produce work for your home or gallery, visit

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it.

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