One look at Tanya Linney’s home and you can tell she lives a colourful life. It makes sense she’s a talented artist whose work is full of explosive and expressive hues. It must be such a fun environment for her daughter, Luella Luna, 5, who often joins in and helps her mother paint. “When they’re not painting, they’re dancing, or making tents in Luellas room and watching movies together. I get to re-live my own childhood ET, Cinderella, The Never Ending Story”, say’s Linney. Her own mothers happy spirit has always inspired her. My mother taught me to enjoy life with my daughter, to laugh and dance. Luella loves to dance she LOVES music and is constantly asking , “who sings this song mama?”.
If you were ever an avid Dolly magazine reader back in the 90s (confession: I was utterly addicted) then you’ll recognise Linney, who started her career as a model at the age of 15, working for the likes of Dolly, Vogue, Elle, Cleo, Australian Style, Harper’s BAZAAR and Cosmopolitan magazine. Her insane bikini body was in virtually every glossy magazine, often with Erica Packer (nee Baxter) by her side.
Linneys modeling career took her all over the world. “The travel was such a gift in hindsight. I got to see so many obscure, amazing places. Cuba was my favourite,” she says. Though perhaps New York was the most memorable. At the age of 19, Linney visited the MOMA to see a James Rosenquist show. “I remember walking out feeling ignited”, she recalls. ”I just knew that’s what I want to do. From that point I started collaging, drawing and carried sketchbooks with me as I travelled”. Linney quit modelling at the age of 24 to study visual arts. “I returned to modelling for another five years, but knew I was now on a new journey. I had my first show in 2005 and am currently working on my fifth solo show. I also plan to go back to study. I love that its forever a learning process and a career that you only get better at with age! Everyday I get to paint is a gift.”
On motherhood, Linney is honest: “life hasn’t always been so colourful. It has been without a doubt the most challenging, yet most rewarding time in my life. I went through a period of depression in the early stages of motherhood and wasn’t really coping”. Reflecting on that testing time, she says: ”I am now stronger, wiser and know that I can take on challenges. I have faith in my own resilience. I have learn’t about love and trust, about the importance of connecting with other mothers and the gift of perspective. Having Luella has helped me see what is really important in life”.
SHOP THE LOOK: Tanya wears Seed coat, $299.95, Seed jeans, $89.95, and Seed shoes (coming soon). Luella wears Seed jumper, $54.95, Seed skirt, $39.95, and Seed shoes (coming soon).
On her own mother…
“I admire her happy spirit and her infectious laugh. My mother is gentle, spirited and always laughing. I have a mother and a stepmother who I have looked up to as role models in my life. She has also taught me about practice, practice, practice. Children need repetition and Luella certainly has benefited from repeated actions to improve/learn a skill. My stepmother has taught me about the importance of resilience and the incredible strength and capabilities that women possess.
On memories of her mother growing up…
My mum loves a good Sunday roast. Growing up my brother and I would sometimes come home from school for lunch as we lived next to the primary school. She would make us sandwiches with chocolate milkshakes. It was delicious, simple food in the 80s.
SHOP THE LOOK: Tanya wears Seed coat, $299.95 and Seed top, $149.95. Luella wears Seed jumper, $54.95, Seed skirt, $39.95, and Seed shoes (coming soon).
SHOP THE LOOK: Tanya wears Seed top, $149.95. Luella wears Seed jumper, $54.95, and Seed skirt, $39.95.
On her own childhood…
I remember camping holidays with both my mum and my dad. We spent a lot of time motorbike riding, boating, water skiing and generally exploring nature. We also spent time playing dress ups, watching movies and dancing. There was always LOTS of music!.
On a happy home…
As a mother I am always learning and my daughter teaches me as much as I try and teach her. I try and implement a weekly routine for both Luella and myself, a good balance between learning/reading, friends and play dates, craft, and exercise. It’s not always easy, but she definitely likes a sense of predictability in her weekly routine especially as she is now in her first year at school.
On how life has changed since she became a mother…
Life has gained a lot more meaning, it’s busier and fuller and it has also provided me with a new respect for other women and mothers. Life is well balanced and I hope to be an inspiration to my daughter, as I am always learning about what it means to be the best version of me. I want to make the most of what life offers and to stay positive. What’s important is to remain teachable, no matter what your age! I think the hardest part of motherhood is enforcing discipline. No mother really enjoys that part of mothering, but both my mother and my stepmother have taught me about values, boundaries and the importance of standing your ground.
SHOP THE LOOK: Luella wears Seed dress, $59.95 and Seed boots (coming soon). Tanya wears Seed faux fur vest, $189.95, Seed skirt, $99.95 Seed shoes, $169.95.
On the qualities she loves most in her daughter…
Her curiosity, her energy, her endearing compassion and empathy for others, her free spirit and her divine innocent eyes. Her perspective is so refreshing.
On how she will be spending Mothers Day…
We will probably go to the park in the morning for a bike ride or scooter session and then visit some good friends. There will also be lots of phone calls to our family in Western Australia.
On their special place…
We love Centennial park in Sydney. It has always been a sanctuary for me and now both of us go there to walk, picnic, feed the ducks, play and have hot chocolate together. We also love the beach and hope to learn to scuba dive together when Luella grows up. We have already spoken about a plan too.
SHOP THE LOOK: Luella wears Seed dress, $59.95 and Seed boots (coming soon).
On her daily beauty regime…
I keep it pretty simple sunscreen in the morning and moisturiser at night. I try and show Luella that it’s important to take care of your skin. I also make a point of showing her the difference between self care and vanity by not obsessing over myself in front of the mirror and wearing too much makeup. How I approach that stuff will rub off on her and it’s an important lesson for a mother to teach through actions not words.
On health and fitness…
I ran a lot during my 20s and still love running, but these days I try and go for a 30 minute walk five days a week. I also do Pilates and I have a few small exercises I do at home to wake me up in the morning. Luella mimics me its very cute! I’m also healthier than I’ve ever been. Chocolate is my only vice these days and I’ve learnt what my body needs. Healthy food feeds my mind, body and spirit. Luella and I sit together for all meals and it’s nice to enjoy those times together.
I loved being pregnant. I swam a lot as it was an extremely hot summer the year she was born.
On her daughters first day at school…
She was so ready for school, but it was an emotional day for both her father and I. She absolutely loves it and is a total social butterfly, loves her friends and her teacher.
SHOP THE LOOK: Luella wears Seed jumper (coming soon), Seed puffer vest $49.95, Seed jeans, $49.95, Seed boots, $69.95. Tanya wears Seed jacket, $599.95, Seed jeans, $89.95, Seed snood, $49.95, Seed boots, $229.95
SHOP THE LOOK: Luella wears Seed dress, $59.95 and Seed jacket (coming soon). Buy similar here.
On working in the art industry…
I love the inspiring, eccentric people I meet. I love seeing the different ways people express themselves. I also love film, dance and music. The arts for me are what life is about to be able to question the world we live in! The people, the work, the history, the intelligence, the honesty and intent that a true artist tells through their work is endearing. Being an artist can be lonely at times, but I don’t mind that, I never really feel alone with my work since I’m creating stories and characters.
On juggling work and motherhood…
In the beginning, I took time off to care for Luella and then when she was about six months old, I started to work on ideas when she would sleep. It was tiring at first, but you get broken in as a mother and learn to prioritise. My daughter and my art are my lifeline, they both feed my spirit. For me, routine, routine, routine and planning ahead is key.
SHOP THE LOOK: Luella wears Seed jumper (coming soon), Seed puffer vest $49.95 and Seed jeans, $49.95. Tanya wears Seed jacket, $599.95, Seed jeans, $89.95 and Seed snood, $49.95.
On her home…
We have been in our current space for 18 months or so. It’s colourful and quirky and full of life. There are lots of books. I had a studio space before moving into this place, but find I really need a space I can work anytime of the day or night. Hence the studio/home feel to our place. I paint with Luella sometimes, which is nice.
On her personal style…
My style is relaxed. I love eclectic pieces mixed with classic quality. I love a good tailored pant, a trench, denim/leather jeans and vintage 80s jackets. Denim or leather jeans with a cotton tee is my standard uniform, but I do love to get dressed up.
On her favourite time of day…
I love the mornings these days. The morning light, cuddles with Luella, planning the day. Everyday is a new beginning, a new chance to learn, grow, connect and love.
Tanyas 5 things that make her smile about her daughter…
Watching her learn new things and grow.
The times Luella and I spend together singing and dancing I get to relive my own childhood!
Watching Luella with her grandparents, great-grandparents, aunties and uncles.
Morning cuddles actually, cuddles anytime.
Playing dress ups.
Photography: Julie Adams Videographer: Sam Hastwell Hair and makeup: Sarina Zoe Styling and words: Georgie Abay
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Loving the fur vest!!! Perfect winter staple for layering!
I need that coat in my life.
What a beautiful colourful home
Love the beautiful coat! What a stylish and chic mum.
Tanya Linney was my teenage idol in Dolly & Girlfriend mags! So great to see her as gorgeous as ever inside & out.