One of my favourite ways to stay inspired is to read about how other people put their creativity into practice and learn to live creative lives. Every so often, I’ll be interviewing someone who is letting their creative light shine. Hopefully, these folks will inspire you as much as they inspire me.
I got to know Amy and her stunning paintings on Instagram before reaching out and asking her to meet in real life. We both felt like we'd already known each other for awhile, which is a cool feeling! I love chatting with her about art and creativity, and am excited to share her insights with you.
What sort of creative work do you do?
Mostly landscape and abstract painting – but I tend to get obsessed with lots of side projects too, like knitting, macramé, needlepoint, photography, sewing... I have a lot of random half finished projects around my art studio. If you need art supplies for pretty much any project you can think of, come see me. I likely have a dusty box with everything you need.
Have you always thought of yourself as a creative person? Why or why not?
I think so – creativity has always been a super important part of my identity as far back as I can remember. I love the process of taking something that’s stuck in my head and getting it down on paper or canvas. It almost feels like an obsession. I was always drawing and painting and finding weird thing to make odd sculptures with as a kid. Art has always been a part of who I am.
How did you get started?
I’ve always painted and drawn, but during my undergrad and for a few years afterwards I drifted away from creating. During a particularly stressful time in my life I had really terrible insomnia, and picked up my paintbrushes again as a way to unwind and calm my mind to be able to sleep. Around that same time one of my friends convinced me to sign up for Whyte Avenue Art Walk with her. That was the first time I showed my art publicly. It was terrifying and exhilarating to see people react to my work. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as vulnerable or as happy – it was ultimately the experience that encouraged me to continue and grow my art practice.
What's your process like?
I typically have a number of pieces that I’m working on at the same time. I’m not a huge fan of planning (in pretty much any aspect of my life, which has its advantages and disadvantages) and I don’t like following the same process all the time because I get bored really easily. I like to mix it up and keep my process as free flowing as I can. Sometimes I have a really clear idea of what I want to paint, and other times I start with no end product in mind and let the shapes and colours guide my process and the final painting. A lot of times I collect photographs, scraps of coloured paper and magazine clippings that inspire me and start there. That, along with an audio book, some depressing acoustic music or the food network… and I’m off!
What or who inspires you?
I wish I could describe this succinctly – but so many things inspire me! Travel has always been a biggie for me. Whether it’s spending a few weeks in a new country, or driving to some little town a few hours away to spend the weekend, taking in a new environment is always really inspiring. I usually come back from any trip bursting with new ideas. Over the past few years I’ve developed bodies of work based on trips to California, Nova Scotia, Portugal, Italy, weekend camping getaways and antique hunting road trips through southern Alberta.
I’m also really inspired by nature, particularly the changing seasons. I’m always especially inspired with the change from winter-summer and summer to fall/winter. It transforms everything from colours and smells to my daily routine.
The other thing that really jumps out for me when I think of inspiration is colour. My paintings are usually very colourful and something as simple as the pattern of someone’s shirt, the shade of blue of the sky or an adorable pink house can give me new ideas for a piece of work.
What's your biggest creative struggle and how are you coping with it?
I struggle with developing a consistent style – I really like experimenting and playing with new colours and techniques, but I also know it’s important as an artist to develop a coherent body of work and style. I tend to be a bit all over the place – something that carries over to pretty much everything in my life. But, the more I paint, the closer I think I’m getting to nailing down what type of work is most true to me. I try not to worry about it too much and just keep making stuff.
What's your # 1 tip about everyday creativity?
Just do something. Anything. The point isn’t what it is or whether it’s “good” or not, the point is that you’re involved in the act of creating. Creativity is a muscle, you need to work at it consistently to develop it. The more that it’s integrated into your daily routine, the more likely you are to stick with it. Enjoy the process and don’t get stuck on constantly worrying about the result.
What are you working on next?
A few commissioned pieces and a series of new paintings. I’m planning a spring pop up at The Makers Keep at the end of April to release my new paintings, so I’m in the midst of getting ready for that.
Where can we find you online?