Tammy Bailey is a self-taught artist and published author. She originally started with acrylic and then moved to mixed media before settling on watercolor. Watercolors are affordable and portable. They are easy to pack up and take wherever you go, and you don’t need to fuss a lot to get set up.
Tammy started painting when she attended a paint night with her friend ten years ago. For the first few years, she followed “Painting with Ellen” every few weeks with a thirst to learn. In the process, she learned to be fearless and not to be afraid to try. With her children becoming adults and moving out, she took over a bedroom, created a studio space, and has never looked back. When she and her husband downsized, they made sure to find a new home with a large space for a studio.
When Ellen retired from teaching paint nights, several of the ladies who attended regularly asked Tammy to start teaching art at paint nights. Which she did for a few years.
“I hope to start again once we see the end of this pandemic and to teach smaller groups in my studio.
Paint nights are a wonderful way to be creative. It’s a community of women (and men) that come together to do something that they’ve never tried before and have fun. Also, the participants in these groups grow together, bond, tell stories and share their experiences. It is an honor to hear the women share about their life, their hopes, and their dreams. It is a really cathartic way to spend three hours and decompress. Many of the participants are just coming from work and they just want to enjoy themselves for a few hours. Personally, “I can’t think of anything better to do.”
Tammy pretty much paints everything but she loves landscapes, waterscapes, whimsical animals, and painting commissions. “I really love when people honor me with photos of their family, and I get to capture those intimate moments for them.”
“As a child, I was creative. As I got older, I enjoyed doing crafts and sewing. At Christmas family and friends would look forward to my gifts because they were always handmade. Then I started working with beads and making jewelry. People absolutely loved them, so I continued with jewelry passing my creations forward in the way of gifts. I never really pursued it on a commercial level.
I love music and played guitar from a young age. I completed my first two years of a Bachelor’s in Music Degree in my late teens. I returned to college in my 40’s and took a Counselling Support Skills Program. With this certification, I needed to do an
extensive practicum. This practicum took me to a local women’s services where I was co-facilitating a group of women with an amazing artist. Her name is Deborah Putman. It was her art that started to draw me into wondering if I could be an artist. What I saw in her art and how she expressed it inspired me to really want to create in this way.
I co-facilitated with her for about 5 years in a support group called “Women of Power And Passion” through local women’s services in White Rock, Canada. These women had come from abusive backgrounds, and it was a huge eye-opener for me. I was also at that time, volunteering through the Elizabeth Fry Society one day a week at a Support Recovery House. That was a heartbreaking, eye-opening experience. I learned some very humbling and important life lessons. For a long time, I thought I might become a counselor, but when I am painting, I am my most authentic self.
I think the most important thing with my art honestly, is being able to share the joy that I experience while painting. Seeing the joy when somebody connects to a piece of art that they love, is passing forward joy in the truest sense. It’s just so wonderful.”
“I was born in Canada. My dad was a dreamer and packed the family up and moved us to Central America. I had a very interesting childhood. We’re going back now 45 years. My parents sold, everything. We bought a Winnebago, and we drove down through the states, Mexico, and into what is now known as Belize.
We went to an English-speaking school because it was at that time part of the British colonies. It was a very different life from that of being in Canada. At school, the boys went to woodworking and the girls learned how to sew. It was a wonderful adventure, but it certainly was a culture shock going down and then also coming home to Canada.
I believe I have an appreciation of different cultures and I love to travel because of my parent’s adventures and misadventures.
One of my best memories was, there was this bumpy road that went past where we were staying. There were sugar cane fields all around. The local kids taught us to go running to the sharp corner where there was one bad bump. The cane would fall off the open truck bed and then we would all run out to grab pieces. Fights ensued over who would get the best piece of cane to chew on. There is nothing like fresh sugar cane.”
Finding Life Balance
“I think I’ve got a good balance in my life. I really do enjoy my work in a very busy dental office, but my art is very different than my work. The art is more of the right side of the brain and my work uses my left side.
It has been a journey to find balance quite honestly. I always go back to what we taught in our group. Draw a circle, divide it into key components of your life in equal segments, like a pie. For myself currently, I need to balance, family, love, exercise, art, leisure, travel, adventure, and health. Then rate each segment (the inner circle is least fulfilled, and the outer edge of the circle is optimum). Put a dot on each segment of that pie where you are in fulfillment and then connect those dots. It is a great visual graph.
The low spots are where you need to nurture yourself. I also think it goes back to having healthy boundaries and learning to be able to say no and feel comfortable with that. For a long time, I would say yes to a lot of things that I didn’t necessarily have the time or the energy for, but I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do. I understand now, it is important to be able to say no and feel comfortable with it. I do what nurtures me
because if I don’t take care of this person, and I’m not helpful to anybody else.”
The Art Of Tammy Bailey
Running My First Marathon At Fifty
“I decided at the age of 50 to run my first marathon. I had run on my own for several years, completed several half marathons. Wanting to run a full, I thought I should connect with people that know what they’re doing. I found a wonderful running club “Peninsula Runners“ and I started to train for my first marathon. They had a wonderful program with many amazing ladies that are now, very dear friends. Some of these ladies are in their 70’s and kick my butt. I hope to be like them when I grow up!
Training is no simple undertaking, but I enjoyed it. When I ran my first marathon and finished, I cried (not tears of joy). I thought I’m never doing this again. It was not the glorious adventure I imagined. My running friends convinced me to try again! It would be better they said. So, I trained again and ran my second and final Marathon. I have had to accept that my body was not designed for a full Marathon. I continue to run shorter distances as I tore my meniscus moving some furniture. Now I am riding my bike to and from work on days that the weather is conducive. Focus on what you can do, not on what you cannot do 🙂 I still get together a girlfriend that I run with once a week. I have a treadmill in my studio as well.”
Getting To Know Tammy Bailey
What has been an unexpected barrier and how did you overcome it?
Honestly, it’s that inner critic. That little voice in my head that I often need to correct. But at 59, I spent too many years worrying about what other people have thought about me. I’ve learned to ask for help in all areas of my life. To trust my inner strength and intuition.
What is something surprising about you that most people don’t know?
I’ve been sober for more than 17 years. But that’s a whole other story.
What is your key strength?
I believe that I am tenacious. Also, I’ve learned to ask for help. It is difficult to grow in a vacuum. And I have a wonderful community of women who mentor me in life. Be it in art, friendship, spirituality, emotional, or through other activities. A wonderful husband, children, grandchildren, and pets. This is my strength and support.
When have you been most satisfied in life?
I choose today, to live in gratitude. I have not always been grateful but today I am! With gratitude comes huge satisfaction! And I have my art!
If you could choose to meet anyone for lunch who would it be?
I would choose my mother from whom I inherited my creative and artistic talents. I would love to compare notes. and ask her why she never pursued them as I understand how healing the artistic journey has been for me and how sharing my art gives me such great joy. Most of all just to give her a big hug and say thank you.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
It’s difficult two isolate it to one particular piece of advice. However, in art, the best piece of advice I ever received was to create a space that was dedicated to creating art. Thank you, Ellen Bradley Cheung.
What you would like to learn?
In no particular order; professional photography, playing the flute, kayaking
View and purchase Art By Tammy Bailey at ROAM Gallery
Check out her website TheArtOfTammyBailey.com
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