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The Block Shop
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We chat with the fabulous artist Tania Blanchard

Tania Blanchard

We love your work! Can you share a little bit about your background, and what drew you to art?

Thank you so much! Art has always been in my soul since childhood. As a kid, I’d always be drawing and spending hours in my bedroom writing stories and illustrating them. I would get lost in creating something that was magical to me and it was the best feeling in the world. There were no surprises that studying art was what I’d end up doing. So, when I left school I completed a Degree in Visual Arts followed by a Diploma in Graphic Design. I spent my early post-graduate years in Adelaide exhibiting my work while at the same time working as a graphic designer. I then moved to Sydney to further my career as a

designer. After 15 years in the industry I moved to the Gold Coast and where I’m now solely focussed on my art practice.

How would you describe your work?

I would describe it as extremely textured, richly layered, boldly colourful and simplistic in its execution with the predominant use of dots…."impasto impressionistic nature inspired scenes". Passionately exploring colours and composition…sometimes my use of colours can be harmonious but I love it when discordant colours come together that really make your eyes zing. I am also drawn to texture and I am always trying to add another layer to my canvas to add depth and dimension to each piece. I have also often said that my paintings are “so textured they cast shadows”! So, you could say I’m trying to create a dance between colour and texture.

Who or where do you turn to for inspiration?

Nature. I’m endlessly inspired by nature and how it's so beautiful, unpredictable and colourful. I am constantly exploring nature scenes from all kinds of sources including my everyday surroundings. Whether it’s reflections on the ocean, or pebbles in a pond or flowers in a field or leaves of a tree... I am always analysing and taking photos in my mind’s eye which fuels my desire to encapsulate these elements of beauty on the canvas.

I am in awe of so many artists from classic to modern. I love looking and appreciating different styles. I have the hugest amount of respect for any artist that puts themself out there and are doing what they love. 

Out of the classic painters, one of my favourites is Henri Matisse. His use of pure colours and bold graphics are just amazing. His paintings look like it took minimal effort to execute when in reality he laboured over them for hours getting the perfect balance of colour and space. I also have a soft spot for the Impressionists, especially Claude Monet, and again their use of colour and how they would paint dots of pure colour next to each other so from a distance the colours would blend optically. Therefore, this made each painting more vibrant and vibrant colours is something I am drawn to.

Ronnie & Georgia's Studio artwork TheBlock2017, Tania Blanchard Tania's beautiful Confetti Rain artwork was used by Ronnie & Georgia in their winning studio in The Block 2017

Can you give us a glimpse into what a normal work-day looks like?

My day usually starts early about 6.00am and is go, go, go! Getting three kids out of bed, breakfast, lunches, shoes on, cleaning teeth etc. it’s just mad. Then when I have dropped them all off at school there’s a certain serenity in the house. I usually make myself a chai tea (I think I am addicted to these as I have constantly one on the go). Then I go off into my studio out the back and start painting where I often get lost in my surroundings and time seems to go so quickly. Often a big chunk of my day is taken up mixing thickener into the paint so that involves a lot of stirring. Sometimes I like to work with pure silence and other times I have the music blaring and wonder if my neighbours can hear me singing. My afternoons are busy again juggling the kids, homework and dinner. I’m a bit of a night owl too so you will often get me responding to emails or texts at midnight!

Tania's artwork 'Confetti Rain' made a spectacular backdrop for the contestants of The Block 2017 on auction day

What do you love most about art?

I adore creating art and when I’m in the zone it’s definitely my “happy place.” Time becomes irrelevant and you’re not thinking about anything else except the colours, the composition and the creation in front of you. It also helps keep me balanced as it’s something that’s completely my own. As a mother and wife, you are constantly giving yourself to the others around you and fulfilling their needs but with my art practice this is for me!  However, it is hugely gratifying when my art strikes a chord with people, and especially those who want to hang it in their home and enjoy it every day.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

One of my first bosses when I was starting out as a Graphic Designer told me to “Take criticism constructively and not personally. Use it as an opportunity to improve.” He was talking about a design I was working on and it can go across into everyday life, but it really struck a chord with me. Art and design are so subjective so I really do try to take people’s opinions as an opportunity to grow and maybe see something else.

Sunset Skies by Tania Blanchard The captivating Sunset Skies by Tania Blanchard

Gold Coast’s best kept secret? (place you love or adore)

Burleigh! I think this place is just the best. I love the community that surrounds me in Burleigh. It’s the whole combination of my friends living in neighbouring streets, the laid-back lifestyle, the divine weather, the beach in the southern corner, the headland on a Sunday afternoon, the cool restaurants, cafés and bars, the shops and the art community is growing here…practically everything I love is on my doorstep. I took great pleasure in reading a headline in The Australian a year or so back that “Burleigh is the new Byron”; I couldn’t agree more!

Where to next?

I just want to keep evolving and pushing my ideas. I’m excited that I have all these different colour combinations and images in my head that I’d really like to explore the possibilities, but there’s just not enough hours in the day. I’d also really like to hold an exhibition or be part of an exhibition this year so that is something I am trying to work towards but it is hard trying to get enough paintings lately because they take about 4 weeks to paint and then, fortunately, have been selling so quickly! I guess a good problem to have!

Confetti Waterfall print by Tania Blanchard Pinks and greens should always be seen and especially in this vibrant artwork, Confetti Waterfall by Tania Blanchard

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