Monday, February 26, 2018

Wood Goddess

"Wood Goddess"
Acrylic on canvas, 8x10

This morning, I woke up later than planned. I don't like when that happens, but I always trust that it means my body needed the sleep. When this does happen, even though it is always just late morning, I have a sense of having wasted the day. I try to counter that feeling by doing one productive thing. I decided to make a painting this morning.
A blank canvas board was calling to me from the side of the room. When I paint on canvas, I don't sketch out the picture first - I just dive in. It's funny how we work differently depending on the medium or surface.

These are some of the trees I've spent time with the past week. I wrote a little bit about it in my description of the piece on Instagram - that woods and trees are the form of nature I am drawn to for a peaceful moment. I've been taking advantage of our local rail trail, which winds for miles and miles through gorgeous forest and marshland.
I've been enamored with trees for quite some time. Pine and birch make appearances constantly in my early work (2008 - 2012), and then I began to grow enchanted by all kinds of trees and tree-like flora. Cacti and bonsai fill my 2013 - 2016 work, and - most recently - I am drawn to the beauty of petrified wood, drift wood, and tree rings. Found and sustainably sourced wood pieces are something I've enjoyed incorporating into our home.
So, this morning when I sat down and began to paint, a few things came to mind: She would have black hair, orange-red lips, moles on her face and neck, and a bendy conifer tree behind her. Work like this often begins with few details, and as soon as I begin, the rest comes to me.
"Wood Goddess" came to mind, and I surrounded her with different pieces and kinds of wood.
She began simply:

and ended a Wood Goddess:

What kind of nature is your favorite for a peaceful moment of reflection? The ocean, mountains, fields, marshes? I'd love to know.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Women's Day Market at Mill No. 5

I'm really excited to be tabling at Mill No. 5's Women's Day Marketplace, hosted by two of my favorite stores (Crose Nest and Dandelion District) which happen to be owned by two of my favorite women. This market falls during Lowell's Women's "Week", which has amazing events all month!
The market is from 12 - 4 on Saturday March 10th - hope you can stop by and say hi, and shop your local women entrepreneurs and creatives!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Peggy Guggenheim

Wow, it has been far too long! I'm hoping to get back into blogging on a somewhat regular basis. It's funny how we, or at least myself, need just one outlet (if it's a good one) to express ourselves and share information. I have never been good at using multiple formats to share information, and Instagram became my favorite way to share my work and my thoughts.

That being said, I love to write. I do it for myself all the time. And I miss that I used to use this dear, beloved blog of mine to share much more than my art. So, I want to jump right in and share a woman I've become fascinated by as of late:

Peggy Guggenheim.

I've always had an interest in Peggy. After all, she embodies so many things that interest me: the 1940s and 50s, World War II, Mid-Century design, New York City during this time period, women (more specifically, women with careers dedicated to artistic pursuit or a pursuit of similar passion), modern art, making your home a place that is YOURS, and Venice (a beautiful city I had the chance to visit and fell very much in love with).

So I finally followed this interest like a bloodhound follows a scent and purchased a book. I was entranced by its cover for its retro aesthetic (it almost looks like it could have been published in the 60s), the photo of Peggy on the cover, and because it was a biography praised for painting a colorful and vivid portrait of a person, place, and time. (There's nothing worse than a dry biography. I can never get through them.) This book is "Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern" by Francine Prose.

I learned so much about Peggy that I didn't know. It increased by fascination ten-fold. Here is a woman who used her inheritance to finance and support the lives of several artists and writers and yet still was given a reputation for not being generous with her money. She opened her first gallery, Guggenheim Jeune, in London and went on a mission to buy one painting for sculpture a day to build her collection. World War II arrived not long after this, and Peggy hid her collection in a barn to protect it from Nazi destruction. She shipped her collection (and many European refugee artists) by boat to the United States, where she opened her second gallery "Art of this Century" in NYC. She didn't pursue the arts herself, but dedicated her life to artists.

There are varying views of her. The biography I read is a sympathetic one, but was honest about Peggy's personality. Her familial relationships could be tempestuous, but none the less she remained a care-taker of her ex-husbands, their new spouses, and her children.

Peggy cultivated beauty in her homes and galleries, trusting aesthetic to those she felt knew better than she (though it is her exquisite taste that often led her to find these men and women). Her home featured a headboard designed just for her by Alexander Calder, a Jackson Pollock mural, and several pieces of art from her collection. She displayed her earrings (many made by and gifted to her by artists she helped) on the wall like pieces of art.

These surrealist moonscape earrings were painted for Peggy by Yves Tanguy, an artist she showed at Guggenheim Jeune and with whom she had an affair.
Peggy's love life was vibrant, with many husbands and lovers, almost all of whom were artists. She reveals a lot in her memoir, "Out of this Century," of which there are three different versions. The first version, which she wrote in the back room of Art of This Century, received negative reviews as it was a tell-all about her relationships with little about her life in the art world. The third and final version is a culmination of her relationships, her experience in the arts, her life in New York City, and her life in Venice. I recently bought the book believing it to be the third version, but it turns out my copy is the first. I still plan on reading it and getting all the juicy details.
Peggy also appears in the memoirs, journals, and autobiographies of many other writers and artists. A lot of this is cited in "The Shock of the Modern" and gave me a list of other books I hope to read soon.
That is all for now! I hope this inspires some of you to look up Peggy Guggenheim and research her a bit. Such a fascinating and complex woman who gave us so much when it comes to art!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pattern Play!

Lately I've been having a lot of fun experimenting with a looser style and
 creating patterns from these creations. Operating in this style has enabled me to expand the products I offer in my Society6 shop. I now have shower curtains, bedspreads, towels, rugs, and throw blankets in addition to all the fun smaller products in my shop.

Is everyone having a good fall? The weather has been so inconsistent, but I love the classic cool autumn days.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bedrooms Coloring Party!

I'm so excited to announce my official event for my coloring book, Bedrooms
On Thursday November 3rd from 7 to 10 pm, I'll be having a coloring party and signing at Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Newbury Street in Boston.
Tickets are $10 and include entry, three free sample pages from Bedrooms, and coloring supplies to hang out and color with! If you purchase the book, I'll be there to sign and personalize it. :)
Tickets can be purchased here.
I hope to see you there!
xo, Amanda

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Hello everyone!
I can't believe how long it has been since I've posted. I know that the satisfaction I get from the community on Instagram has kind of filled the place of that which I used to get from my blog, but I really do miss being here, writing, documenting. I am determined to return to regular posting, and in the upcoming months I am making the transition into full-time artist and I know that will allow me to do so.
For now, here are some updates! My coloring book, Bedrooms, is finally out with Pomegranate! This book has been such a labor of love for me and I am so happy to finally see it in print. You can purchase it directly from Pomegranate here, and I also have some signed copies available in my etsy shop. It's also in stores, though I cannot tell you which ones when it comes to national locations! :)
I also gave my website a much-needed update! 
I hope you're all having a lovely start to summer.
I'll be back soon.
Love, Amanda

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Calm Below

 The Calm Below
Acrylic on Masonite, 11x14"
 I have to admit, I was horrified when I looked at my blog today and saw that it has been almost a full year since I last posted! So much has happened, and it has gone unshared here. Instagram has definitely become my main platform for sharing work. It's quick and informal and on my phone and I love it, so it's become all too easy to forget other forms of social media.
I miss this blog. It's truly been the keeper and tracker of every little success I've had thus far in my art career, big or small. I'm going to try to post here once a week. That is my new goal.
So, I will be back soon. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Shop Update

There are some new things in my etsy shop:
 These new watercolors (measuring 4.25 x 5.5" each) are listed in the Original Paintings section of my shop
and my "I Love Pizza" girl is now an 8x10 print in the Signed Prints section.
Happy mid-February!
xo, Amanda

Friday, February 13, 2015

the elephant valentines

As you've perhaps noticed over the years, I like to commemorate Valentine's Day on this blog by sharing what I call "the elephant valentines."
The Elephant Valentines were hand-painted (or sometimes hand-crayoned) valentines created by e. e. cummings for his wife, Marion Morehouse.
There is so much to love about these valentines: the ever-present elephant, who seems, to me, to be a symbol of friendship, loyalty, playfulness, and gentleness; the beautiful, painterly, made-by-hand, labor of love quality; the simplicity and the tradition.
Valentine's Day will forever for me be an elephant holiday, thanks to e. e. cummings. 
I hope that you all have a beautiful February 14th, no matter how you celebrate!
Love, Amanda

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Local Love

 Today I tabled at the BCAE's second annual Local Love pop-up shop. Snow threatened to put a damper on the day, but wonderful people braved the weather to come out and shop. I want to give a heart-felt thank you to all who came!
 This is my super cute and talented friend Alaina, who just began her calligraphy and paper goods business, Extras by Alaina. It was so fun to have a friend nearby.
 I taught portrait painting in this room a few years ago. It was enchanting to teach here. I had found out that Sylvia Plath had taken poetry courses at the BCAE long ago and it thrilled me.
 I spent the day prior to the show back home at my parents' so I could finish up some ideas. I really love the task of making. I found the above gold oval frame at Saver's and thought that my new whale girl would be perfect in it.
 I also relished the fact that I was going to be in a Valentine's Day show (I love Valentine's Day!) and, for the first time ever, crafted some valentines with my artwork.
I hope you all had a beautiful weekend!
xo, Amanda