by Sheila Julson
Tammy Conover believes that paintings should not only be about aesthetically pleasing colors and images on canvas, but should also speak to people, projecting the love, passion and energy that goes into a project. Conover’s passion has translated to bold abstract art that conveys her deep connection to nature and humanity.
Conover developed an interest in art during childhood. In addition to painting, she wrote, developed her own line of greeting cards and made dollhouses for relatives. Her father was an artist and created the logo for the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, in Phoenix. He also crafted background news slides for KAKE-TV, in Wichita, Kansas.
As a primarily self-taught artist, Conover’s preferred mediums include acrylics, oils and watercolors. Jackson Pollock, one of the leading artists of the American abstract expressionist movement, inspires Conover’s abstract-style paintings. She is intrigued not just by Pollock’s art, but also by the personality behind the paint and how Pollack poured his emotions into his work.
“I have such a deep passion for painting, and passion encourages us to be good at what we do,” Conover relates. “I love it, and it’s my spiritual time with God. I feel love when I paint, and it’s so healing for me. It spiritually feeds my soul.”
In addition to using artistic creativity to nourish her own soul, Conover also helps others spiritually connect through soul painting. “A person will come to my studio and we do a short meditation,” she says. “While they’re here, I explain to them that the colors and images that come onto the canvas are the energy of the soul.”
Conover relates a story of a friend that was given 48 hours to live, so she did a soul painting for the person passing over to the spirit world. When others saw it, they immediately noticed a large angel in the painting. “Soul painting lets you see the correlation of what’s on the canvas and what’s going on in people’s lives,” she explains.
Conover’s affinity for blue and green shades reflects her love of water, nature and the Earth. In order to further let her passion loose in her work, she doesn’t limit herself to just a paintbrush. She prefers large canvas and will often stand on a 10-foot ladder to drip paint onto the canvas, or she will use a fan to blow paint in carefree directions. She will also paint with just her hands.
Most artists give back to their communities, and Conover is no exception. She has donated paintings to raise money for the Women’s Resource Center, in Norman, and to animal welfare groups and cancer research organizations. She also participated in an event with actor Ed Harris to help raise money for abused women and children.
In an effort to help others discover their talents and achieve goals and dreams, Conover teaches art classes for adults and children. Conover believes art is vital to helping kids find a positive outlet. “Art is so important, and we should have it in all the schools to help children connect and find out who they are,” she observes.
Conover’s art is on display at the Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown Bricktown hotel, and at Aspen Art Gallery, in Colorado. She is currently working to expand her art in local and national galleries and will soon be featured on BuzzFeed internet media.
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.