Tanya Cole: Creativity Mentor

~Michelle Saleeba

I had the great privilege of becoming acquainted with artist and art mentor Tanya Cole during an art therapy professional development program that we both embarked upon some years ago. Her knowledge, enthusiasm and positive outlook was infectious, and I've watched with great pleasure as her own art practice has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. I was super excited to see Tanya's entry in the Archibald prize for portraiture in 2018 for her painting of the equally remarkable and inspiring Dr Tracy Westerman.

Tanya Cole

MS: Why art? 

TC: I drew a lot when I was younger and dearly wanted to study fine art at Curtin Uni however my dad persuaded me to go into the Sciences. So I studied and qualified as an Occupational Therapist. Working, then family took up my time and only occasionally would I do a painting here and there. After my youngest child was around two (and I was 41), my mother-in-law encouraged me to sew. I started making cot blankets, baby clothes and then dolls. As soon as I picked up a paintbrush to apply fabric paint to the dolls face, I fell in LOVE with painting once more. At the same time, I had been thinking about what my working life was going to look like for the next 20 odd years, and I knew I had to do something that my soul was really aligned with. So I imagined and morphed my past job skills with my passion for personal growth, helping people and being creativ