"A painting is not a picture of an experience, but is the experience." -Mark Rothko
Amber finds inspiration in contrast: a pause in movement, a change in light, a moment of peace in chaos. She was raised on a secluded wheat farm on the rolling prairie in rural eastern Montana, so naturally she's most comfortable with wildlife and wild spaces. Wide open land is where she seeks solace; wildlife is how she returns to her instincts.
"I unknowingly trained my eye to look for beauty in an often neutral landscape. Immersing myself in nature reminds me of how insignificant we really are. The land is permanent. We are not."
Amber has a unique perspective -- one that is not widely shared -- of watching family farms become fewer and farther between. She grew up as a farmer’s daughter and helped her family work the land and raise stock. Although this way of life is full of hard work and long hours, its beauty is found in the wholesome values and rewarding reap and sow mentality. Amber is a graphic designer by training and worked as a freelance designer for over 15 years before transitioning to a full time painter, in 2017.
"The boldness of the brushstrokes and the layout of the paintings - these elements help define my style."
The thought process begins while in the field; driving and hiking around Montana and Yellowstone National Park with her family and their many camera options. Some favorites deserve annual visits; such as the Lamar Valley during the buffalo rut in July. With her landscape journal of ideas, a variety of canvases and linen, and fresh images in Photoshop on her trusty laptop in hand, she retreats to her 1000 square foot shop located in Belgrade, Montana. From there, she lets her imagination take over; pairing interesting subjects with compelling compositions, and bright colors on canvas, neutral hues on linen.
"I love to use large brushes to create space in my paintings, to facilitate a pause between details which empowers the viewer to fill in the less important spaces themselves without knowing they were even missing (the eye and brain are powerful tools!).
With the intention of creating space and letting the viewer's creativity fill in the details, Amber starts each painting by laying out the subject(s) lightly with thinned paint. She then lays in the darkest of darks to first ground in the image. After these steps of initial planning, the rest of a painting is a relatively unplanned free flowing creation.
"My mind starts working on instinct, which hopefully means I’m connected to something much bigger than my ego. I desire to create from muse, not what my mind “thinks I should be doing.” When I’m tapped into this pure source of creation, the paintings seem to paint themselves, almost effortlessly."