Spread the love

Tanya Marie Reeves is a 40-something single mum of two now grown, self-taught professional artist, born, raised, residing and creating, in charge of her own business in her hometown of Broken Hill, Australia. Still learning, Tanya is growing and changing, living and loving her life on purpose every day.

I love the sensual curves of the female form, the striking boldness of saturated acrylics, the splendour of intense brilliant block colour and striking contrast; this is where my artwork as an adult began over 25 years ago. And while the basis of my unique style has remained, over time, what began predominantly as an aesthetic art, has become something else entirely.

Ultimately, through my own life struggles and experiences, I had begun to learn about what can be hidden deep inside oneself; the strength and determination which arose from within me which I had never even known existed, became my driving force, in both my life and my art.

And so, I create empowering paintings of women. I take a woman’s inner strength and I bring it bolstering to the surface, choreographed with passion, heightening her physical prowess, celebrating her diversity, revelling in her beauty and sexuality, revealing her sensuality, secrets and mystery. And most significantly, saluting her confidence, heart and spirited strength of character.

My technique predominantly consists of strikingly acute lines, bold, unyielding saturated colour and (in more recent years) the stimulating divergence and texture of mixed media and textile appliqué. I am admired particularly for my precision, meticulous sense of order and exceptional print-like quality.

Lisa: Hi, Tanya! Tell us a few words about yourself. When did you begin doing art and how did you get started?

Tanya: My journey as a self-taught artist began when I was very young; with a little extra talent and love for drawing as a child. I was inspired greatly by my uncle, only nine years my senior, who was also crafty with a pencil and would sketch crazy cartoon characters for me. I would spend hours drawing growing up, replicating pictures from comic books such as “Footrot Flats” and most especially recreating Disney characters from VHS covers and books. As a young teenager, I would sketch the likes of Axl Rose and Madonna and other pop culture of the ’80s, before dabbling with paint and mixed media in my late teens and early twenties.

But truth be told, I was not interested in pursuing art as a career at that point and by the time I had married and fallen pregnant with my daughter in 2001 I had packed it all away. Then, after some tough life lessons, another child and a gruelling divorce, I took it on again with a passion like never before. Further inspired by the times when the Internet was truly coming to life, with awe and amazement I had discovered a world of art I had never before encountered, which encouraged my own artistic dreams, and in 2006 I decided to follow art as a career path.

Arabelle

Lisa: What medium is your favourite to work with, and why?

Tanya: I use flow acrylics to create my work. Jo Sonja’s Flow Acrylics have been my go-to. They are super smooth, vibrant paint which dries quickly with no fuss prep and cleaning.

Chesna

Lisa: How would you describe your art to people?

Tanya: My artwork is bold in its beauty and brilliance, but it also means something to inspire, guide and give direction.

Aesthetically my artwork is a striking contrast of bold, unyielding saturated colour, dramatically opposing lines and textures and a meticulous sense of order and precision. A little Pop, a splash of Deco, a touch of Klimt and an organically unique modern flare.

From the heart, my artwork portrays strong and industrious, empowered women who are unafraid to also be passionate, sensual and opening heart.

From the soul, my artwork is divinely inspired; By myths and legends, symbols and totems and the notion that we are all one with nature, the earth, and the universe.

Jane

Lisa: What’s the most challenging part of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?

Tanya: The most challenging part of my artistic process is when an acrylic colour of choice deems to be quite translucent upon the canvas. All of my acrylic work already requires layers, upon layers of paint until I achieve that beautiful saturation you see, but some colour require twice as much as usual and it seems no matter how many coats I add I just can’t seem to get the coverage I am after. So it can become rather monotonous going over and over the exact same thing time and time again. There isn’t a great deal I can do… If I remember, I paint a base coat to compliment the finished colour (for example, often a grey base will limit the number of layers my reds will require) but otherwise, I just keep on keeping on.

Sloane

Lisa: You say over time, what began predominantly as an aesthetic art, has become something else entirely. Tell us a bit more about that. When did you notice the transition, and how did you feel about it?

Tanya: I had always loved the sensual curves of the female form, the boldness and splendour of intense colour and the striking contrasts of those colours and lines; this is where my artwork as an adult began over 25 years ago and how my artistic expression continued when I picked it back up again.

It was a few years in and quite a bit of experimenting before I began to recognise my work evolving to what it is today. Through my own life struggles and experiences and ongoing history of depression and anxiety from a young age, here I’d begun to realise and learn so much about what can be hidden inside oneself; the strength and determination which had risen from within me all those years, which I had never even known existed, had ultimately become my driving force in both my life and my art.

And so with intention, I began creating empowering paintings of and for women. Taking her inner strength and bringing it bolstering to the surface, choreographed with passion, heightening her physical prowess, celebrating her diversity, revelling in her beauty and sexuality, revealing her sensuality, her secrets and mystery. And most significantly, saluting her confidence, heart and spirited strength of character.

I began handing over what was deep in my heart and soul, and that was when my work had truly begun.

Avana

Lisa: Could you walk us through your process? How much planning do you do before you jump into creating an artwork? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?

Tanya: If I am using textile appliqué my first step would be to choose my fabrics, then iron and cut the selection into pieces.

Next (or first) I find a pose online, usually through fashion photography, most often Avant Garde portraiture as the poses are quite exaggerated. I will then sketch my draft based on the silhouette of the pose, eliminating all I deem unnecessary and adding a simple geometric pattern or division. I then project my outline onto the canvas and roughly pencil it on. (Sometimes I adhere calico to my stretched canvas before this step, but not always.)

Moving the canvas to a large custom table (I do not use easels) I finesse the design using rulers and geometric templates (lids, boxes, bowls… whatever I can get my hands on). Then I am ready for the main event.

If I am using textiles, the fabric will be the deciding factor of the acrylic colours I choose, so the appliqué will be my first move, piece by piece, fitting and glueing each cut perfectly against the next.

It is usually at this point I will have more of an idea who this lady is going to be and I will research a symbol or totem to include in her outline.

Next, I may or may not add texture: sand, modelling paste or the like before I paint. I choose and mix my colours as I go, one shade influencing the next. My acrylic work requires layers, upon layers of paint until I achieve a beautiful unyielding saturation. All of my lines are created by hand, absolutely no masking, using a small flat brush, even hand, and steadfast concentration.

* I use flow acrylics to create my work. Jo Sonja’s Flow Acrylics have been my go-to. They are super smooth, vibrant paint that dries quickly with no fuss prep and cleaning.

* I like to use a soft taklon or nylon brush. Flat and short with a really straight edge and I mostly stick with size 8 and 10. Roymac Revolution is my favourite but I also use Da Vinci, Art Spectrum and (currently) Art Basics Golden Nylon.

The process doesn’t end there…

Next, I research a name. It is usually at this point I will have more of an idea who this lady is going to be and I will research a symbol or totem to include in her outline.

For many many years now, my paintings have had female names. Each artwork has its own unique essence and character. Her own story. And so I feel they each deserve a rightful name. In most cases, I take the time to search for a name of significance and meaning to suit each persona. Whether that is a name is suited to an era or character she reminds me of or the literal definition of the name in relation to her personality or conception.

I then use the information from her totem, her name and my feeling of the essence of the finished artwork to create her story.

Baran

Lisa: You say you’re a woman on a mission creating exquisitely distinct works of art, with bold originality and style. In your opinion, what does it take to be original?

Tanya: I dislike to sound cliché, but the gist of it is of course to just be yourself. If only it were as easy as it sounds right? I am definitely still a work in progress. I think we all are… and that’s the key I think –  To listen to that yearning in our gut that tells us we can be everything we want to be but to also be aware that we need to work at it. You don’t just be, you become. It’s about the journey. To be courageous and vulnerable and open to experience, learning, un-learning and discovering parts of ourselves over and over again.

Lisa: Do you have a real-life situation that inspired your art?

Tanya: By the time I was 30 I had already lived a lifetime struggling with depression and anxiety. I had suffered pre and post-natal depression with both of my babies and I was unhappy in my marriage. In 2004 I parted from my husband which set off a whole barrage of nasty my way.

This is when I decided to dust off my art supplies. I didn’t really know that I was painting for a cause, other than to make myself feel better. I was a single mother of a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old going through a horrific divorce among other nasty things. My children gave me hope and kept me moving forward, but painting kept me sane; gave me a focus outside of my mess.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you about the hits which just kept on coming years after my separation and divorce…  never-the-less, through it all I became more and more aware of the incredible amount of strength and determination which continually arose from within me, which I had never even known existed and I was still here fighting the good fight.

I knew there were women out there, just like me, who had no clue yet what they were capable of, or only just realising they actually have what it takes… right there, lying dormant, hidden inside themselves!

And so, I create beautiful, bold statement art; Exquisitely unique paintings of strong and confident women, each with their own narrative and vivacious empowering energy upon the canvas, so they can never forget their own.

Prea

Lisa: What is your most recent piece of art that you have enjoyed working on the most?

Tanya:

Brielle

“She is not of this world. She was conceived from a golden heart of divinity and born of love, light and wisdom. In peace she will guide us and from the very core of her being she will show us the way.” – ‘Brielle’ ATMR

Name

In French, the name Brielle means exalted Goddess.

Totems

A Heart Of Gold. One who is described as having a heart of gold is a person with a rich heart; rich being defined as being full of love, faith and good values.

The heart is the symbolic centre of our being. The heart represents the very core of life and the embodiment of love itself.

Gold is most often defined as the colour of extravagance pertaining to monetary value, however, gold is more so associated with wealth and riches in connection with illumination, love, compassion, courage, passion, magic, and wisdom.

After working for the past 18 months on large scale mixed media pieces, smaller,  acrylic artworks are a breath of fresh air. There is less stuff going on within and outside of the work. On top of that, I just have this feeling there is something a little different about Brielle that is unlike any of my other work. I just can’t quite put my finger on it yet.

Briana

Lisa: Who are a few artists/people that really inspire you right now, and why?

This is the question I always dread. To be honest, for most of my life I never knew a great deal at all about art history or artists themselves, living or dead (except Picasso. Everyone knew who Picasso was right?). And although I now have a broader scope on it all, I still cannot choose favourites! I absolutely love browsing through art – all kinds of art by all kinds of artists, past and present. In fact,  I have recently begun a blog She is Art. (www.artisttanyamariereeves.com/blog) first and foremost celebrates celebrating female artists of our time by highlighting and sharing their incredibly unique artwork. Plus… Never forget the men in our lives, each month raising a toast to a talented male artist. Because there are just so many extraordinary artists out there!

Aubrey

Lisa: Do you see your art as serving a purpose beyond art?

Tanya: Yes for sure! My original art will feed your mind and open your heart with its own unique energy. Every day it will motivate, stimulate and ignite your deepest desires… and it will look fucking fantastic while doing it!

Lala

Lisa: Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about?

Tanya: I am always working on something new in the studio and I can never wait until I have finished creating an entire series before I reveal the finished original artwork, so you should always be on the lookout!

In between studio time, currently, I am adding Limited Edition Print, Open Print and Product purchase options into my online gallery! There is at least one new addition each week regarding both original arts which are available for acquisition and for those which have previously sold.

Lola

Lisa: What are you currently working on, and what’s next for you?

Tanya: I am working on a smaller body of work, about 76 x 76cm per artwork, which is yet to be named: I really like to keep smaller works simple and striking, not overindulged with mixed media and texture, so each artwork in the series will be acrylic on calico on stretched canvas. “Brielle” (above) being the first in line.  My desire is to make an explosive statement with this body of work and bring some of that bold, fierce block colour and strong contrast back into my art, which was once a dominant signature of my style.

To find out more about Tanya and her art, please check:

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Thank you!

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.