Artist lends her expertise, talent to local business

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 23, 2002

Her hands are versatile. The woman farms, cuts and styles hair,

plays the guitar and paints.

In a quiet almost inaudible, soft soothing voice Tamara (Tammy) Schneider, the artist, talked of her latest piece of work.

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The four-panel paintings represent a different season of the land and wildlife around the new building of the Cooperative Response Center, Inc. (CRC).

As a child, Schneider remembers watching her mother, a table artist, who also liked to draw and sketch.

"It is a God-given talent that has developed since I was a child," Schneider said.

Throughout the years, Tammy admits she has gotten better and developed skills.

From the realistic, serene, almost life-like styles of the paintings, one would not think Schneider has only taken one art course.

"I took a correspondent course from an art instruction school in Minneapolis. The same one that Charles Schultz went to when he was becoming a cartoonist," Schneider said.

Her medium oils, acrylics, water color, and graphite have created numerous paintings over the years, which now adorn the walls of her house.

"We wanted the art to be created by a local artist. The Freeborn and Mower Cooperative in Albert Lea have a mural by Tammy and we got idea that her work could fit for our building too," said Todd Penske, president and CEO of CRC.

The CRC building, which opened last spring, sports a contemporary, modern, high-tech type of look.

Displayed by the entrance of the building, the pictures are four different views from the building; west, northwest, northeast and east.

In the process of looking for ideas, Schneider took several pictures of the scenes in the direction chosen and sketched several drawings to illustrate the idea to CRC.

"She came up with the idea of the four seasons and we added to it," Penske said.

The CRC suggested that wildlife be incorporated into the paintings. Both parties determined the type of animal that would be found in the setting and during the seasons.

For the spring image, the view is west, with a far away image of U.S. Highway 218 and a wild turkeys on the foreground.

"It was a collaboration between CRC and Tammy," Penske said.

She began the paintings sometime in April, working through most of the seasons she portrayed in the paintings. Busy with the rest of her life, Schneider worked on the paintings for nearly six months.

"When you are an artist, there is always something inside you that has to come out. Many things will set off a spark and you just have to paint it," Schneider said.

Even though her favorite subjects are animals, Schneider likes to paint older people and capture their character.

Schneider said she would like to someday become a full-time artist and sell her work to galleries.

Roxana Orellana can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at