Please welcome A Life Sustained sponsor Tammy Olson!
Tammy is a mixed media artist who also happens to be an RN. She sells her whimsical prints in her Etsy shop.
In her words, "I'm Tammy, a stay-at-home mom obsessed with making mixed media artwork. I love to reuse materials. In many of my paintings I reuse tea bags, coffee filters and found papers. I have a 6 1/2-year-old boy and a 3 1/2-year-old girl, along with our 6 year-old border collie. Our family lives in beautiful rural Wisconsin among rolling hills and organic farms. In between painting, I tend to a large garden where I try to grow as much of our own food as possible."
Tell us about your journey to becoming an artist.
Growing up I always loved creating things. Art classes were always my favorite, so it was only natural that I went to college for art; it was what I loved. After a year and a half of art school, I became very unsure of myself and what I wanted to do. I felt like I wasn't a good enough artist and didn't have the support from those around me. People always asked me what I was going to do with an art degree. I started to question myself and eventually changed my degree to nursing. To this day I still wonder what I was thinking. I've never had any urge in my life to ever become a nurse! But a nurse (RN) is what I became. To be honest, it was a pretty good career to choose. I've always had consistent and well-paying jobs. I actually ended up enjoying being a nurse and helping other people.
Eventually, though, there was that little creative itch that kept bugging me, and then after becoming pregnant with my second child, my creative urges just couldn't be held back any longer. My husband and I decided to try and make a go at having a one-income family while I grow and preserve food for our family and also create my art on the side. It's been almost 2 years since we made that decision and now I don't even want to think about going back to work as a nurse. I love, love, love what I am doing. I feel the need to paint and draw. Life feels so much fuller knowing that I'm doing what I love. I don't regret becoming a nurse, I think it was part of my journey in realizing who I truly was and how much I enjoy being an artist.
What inspires you?
I'm inspired by nature and the changing seasons. Spring rains, flowers in bloom, falling acorns, chirping crickets, birds, cold winter skies, it doesn't matter what season it is, there is always something to be inspired by in nature. Some of my paintings I'm inspired by my kids. Watching them play, explore, and just be kids will trigger ideas for paintings. One of my favorite sources of inspiration is that little time period right before you fall asleep, when you first put your head on your pillow and close your eyes, and images will float on by. Many of my ideas and solutions for paintings have come about this way. Another endless source of inspiration is browsing blogs and Etsy. There is so much talent to be found out there!
Are there ways that you inject creativity in your everyday life with your children?
My studio is our kitchen table, so the kids are always watching me make something, whether it is a painting, sewing or knitting something. It seems I always have a project in the works. Many times if I'm painting, they will want to paint too. They especially love to rip and paste paper, just like I do. They know I love to draw things from nature, so if we go for a walk or find something interesting in the yard, they will keep it so that I can draw it. I reuse many things in my paintings and find them doing the same when they are playing. My son is especially good at this and seems to have a use for everything, whether it is a box, scrap of fabric, piece of yarn, twig, shell, it doesn't matter, he'll use it!
How do you choose your subject matter?
I love to paint birds, flowers, little girls, butterflies, animals, whatever is interesting to me at the moment. It usually is related to whatever season it is or what I am seeing around me at the moment. Sometimes a painting will start because of a pattern I saw on a building or an image I saw in a magazine, maybe an outfit someone had on, even words that were spoken or a piece of paper that I found. My mind is always thinking about new things to draw or paint. I love to make art!
Tammy is generously giving away to one lucky A Life Sustained winner their choice of any print from her shop!
To enter the random drawing to win, just leave a comment on this post.
Get two additional entries! First, you can Follow A Life Sustained through Google Friend Connect and second, you add Tammy Olson to your favorites on Etsy.
Be sure to leave a comment for each "extra" so that they can be counted. Comments will be closed and a winner will be chosen in the evening of September 10.
The lucky winner is Elsie!
"I see the swallows in the evening, diving through the sky, too fast for me to capture with my camera...
so this print would be a treasure:
Birds Swallows and willow tree collage,
'Of a Summer Evening'"
Thank you Tammy Olson!