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San Clemente Journal

Lauren Tannehill - Creating Art, Inspired by the Sea

May 23, 2019 09:39AM ● By Rebecca Parsons

Lauren Tannehill

by Rebecca Parsons

Lauren Tannehill was a beach rat
from an early age. She grew up in Seal Beach, California where she developed a passion for art and surfing at a young age. She’d paint alongside her grandma, developing abstract creations while her grandma stuck to more realistic pieces.  They’d watch Bob Ross videos together and Tannehill grew frustrated that she couldn’t create realistic images in the same way that Ross and her grandmother could.
“She would tell me how special it was that I didn’t paint realistic stuff,” Tannehill says of her grandma. “She said, ‘Anybody can paint something that looks exactly the same but it takes courage to innovate and create something that’s not an exact replication.’”
Despite her passion for art and encouragement from her grandma, Tannehill never attended art school. She moved to the North Shore of Oahu and instead went to massage therapy school, surfing the famous warm waves between classes. During her time on the island, Tannehill’s passion for the ocean deepened and she drew inspiration from the bright, tropical colors. 

When she moved back to the mainland, she planted her roots in San Clemente and began logging more hours with a paintbrush in hand. Despite the criticism she often received for creating “pop art,” Tannehill went with her gut and began crafting bright, fun, and retro style paintings, oftentimes featuring the ocean and a blonde women with long, flowing hair (similar to herself). She drew inspiration from Hawaii, the local San Clemente scenery, her grandma, and famous surf artists like Peter Max and Drew Brophy.

“I used to cut out Drew Brophy stuff from SURFER magazine and paste it around,” Tannehill says of her early years as an artist. “He inspired me to use bright colors and encouraged me that it was okay to make things that don’t look real.”

In her early years as an artist Tannehill would paint between the lines and stick to the rules she’d laid out for herself. After finding her footing, she became comfortable in her own skin and began gaining confidence in the uniqueness of her style. She used a medley of different tools and materials depending on the look and feel she was going for—sometimes she’d use watercolors, acrylic, salt, alcohol, or pens to create her masterpieces. 
By late 2014, Tannehill was pregnant with a baby girl and being of a deeply spiritual nature, she began seeking affirmation cards to help prepare herself for the birth. After some searching, she couldn’t find what she was looking for so she decided to create a deck of her own. 

“Affirmation decks are positive and reaffirming statements that are scientifically proven to rewire and reprogram the brain,” Tannehill says. “It actually changes the way the brain spires. It takes a negative or potentially damaging thought and turns it into an empowering thought.”

Throughout her life, Tannehill’s art has always reflected where she was or what she was going through, so the transition to doing pregnancy, birth, and empowering art was a natural transition. She partnered with her neighbor, Shayna Sharke, and together they founded Renegade Mamma.

Through Renegade Mamma, the duo created targeted affirmation decks featuring Tannehill’s art and a positive affirmation on every card. They started with a birth and pregnancy deck, then quickly added a post-partum deck to the collection to help offer support during the challenging first two years. After that, they created a self-love and confidence deck to help kids create a healthy, inner dialogue that they’d be able carry with them throughout their entire lives. They recently launched a women’s empowerment deck and a gentle and conscious parenting set is in the works.

Tannehill is proud of the affirmation decks because they give her opportunity to share what she’s been through and offer help to others through her art and experiences. She periodically receives email from women telling her how helpful the decks have been and how big of an impact they’ve had on their lives—Tannehill regards this as the highest praise she can receive.

“It feels so good to share positive, encouraging art that comes from a genuine place in my heart and is making people’s lives better,” says Tannehill. “It takes art to a different level for me. I’m not just creating art for myself; it’s helping someone else.” 

While Renegade Mamma is her focus at the moment, Tannehill still finds time to surf, create new art, and spend time with her three daughters: Zion (9), Meadow (6), and Banyan (3). She’s currently working on a series of four paintings that have a more psychedelic feel to them. She’s excited to continue evolving her style and translate her life experiences and emotions onto paper and canvas.

“The highlight for me is when I’m able to incorporate some of my meditations into art,” says Tannehill. “The absolute highlight is taking how I’m feeling, the visions that I’m seeing and my meditations, and putting them onto canvas to share with others.”

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